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Online Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Degree Programs

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Online Bachelor’s Degrees in GIS

Arizona State University - School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning

Arizona State University offers an online bachelor of science (BS) in geographic information science. The 100 percent online program provides students with a good understanding of geographic information systems software, computer programming, and statistical analysis.

Admission requirements for the program include a high school diploma, a minimum grade point average of 3.0, ACT or SAT scores, official transcripts from each educational institution attended, and Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores for international students.

​Made up of 120​ credit-hours, the program prepares students for careers in geographic information. Some of the courses included in the program are statistics for geography and planning, programming principles in GIS, geographic information science, and advanced statistics for geography and planning.

Through the program, students learn how to solve geographical problems, apply computational principles in geographic information science, and programming languages. They are also introduced to commercial and open source geographic information science (GIS) and related software.

At the end of the program, graduates can pursue opportunities in both private and public sectors. They can occupy positions as cartographers, photogrammetrists, geographic information system technicians, location analysts, remote sensing scientists, and mapping technicians.

  • Location: Tempe, Arizona
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Expected Time to Completion: 48 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $607 per credit-hour

Strayer University

Strayer University offers an online bachelor of geographic information systems management degree.

In order to apply for the program, students must have proof of high school graduation or its equivalent and also submit a completed online application form, among other requirements.

​The program consists of 40​ courses in all and introduces students to the basics of programming technology and mapping. Coursework includes an introduction to geographic information systems, data warehouse planning, advanced topics in geographical information systems, and business intelligence crime mapping techniques.

Students learn how to apply business intelligence and data analytics principles, solve problems related to geographic information systems (GIS), and manage GIS research projects. At the end of the program, graduates can pursue careers in public as well as private sector companies.

  • Location: Herndon, Virginia
  • Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • Expected Time to Completion: 48 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $1,465 per course

Online Master's Degrees in GIS

University of Southern California - Dornsife Spatial Sciences Institute

The USC Dornsife Spatial Sciences Institute offers an online master of science in geographic information science and technology. The program provides students with an understanding of how spatial information affects the real world. The faculty for the program has a background in geography, geographic information science, and environmental science.

Admission requirements for the program include a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, a minimum grade point average of 3.0, GRE scores, and transcripts from all universities attended.

The program consists of 28 credit-hours. It provides students with an understanding of spatial databases, data acquisition, and the characteristics of spatial information. Some of the courses included in the curriculum are spatial data acquisition, spatial thinking concepts, spatial data acquisition, GIS programming and customization, spatial analysis, geospatial technology project management, and spatial databases. Students gain skills such as designing database models, executing a series of advanced GIS-based projects, implementing strategies for sourcing geospatial data, and evaluating the impact of data on spatial analysis.

In addition to its 20-month MS in GIST, USC Dornsife offers an MS in human security and geospatial intelligence, as well as four related certificate programs with credits which are transferrable into the master’s degree programs. There are seven-month online certificate programs in GIST, geospatial intelligence, geospatial leadership, and remote sensing and observation.

The programs can open up various opportunities for graduates. They can take up roles such as ​ cartographer, geographer, geographic information systems technician, lead geographic information systems analyst, and geospatial analyst in a variety of industries. Notably, USC has ranked among the top universities in the world for veterans.

  • Location: Los Angeles, California
  • Accreditation: Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Expected Time to Completion: 20 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $1,928 per credit-hour

Johns Hopkins University - Krieger School of Arts & Sciences

Johns Hopkins University's Krieger School of Arts & Sciences has an online master of science (MS) in geographic information systems. The program helps students build a strong foundation in geospatial data science, big data technology, project management, geographic information systems administration, and programming. It is ideal for students and working professionals who wish to get a headstart in geographic information science.

Applicants to the program must have a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 in the latter half of their undergraduate studies and a quantitative background. They must also submit a completed online application form, a statement of purpose, two letters of recommendation, a curriculum vitae, official transcripts, and TOEFL or IELTS examination scores for international students.

​Comprising ten​ courses, the program includes topics such as web GIS, geographic information systems, geospatial statistics, spatial analytics, programming in GIS, development and management of GIS projects, and spatial databases and data interoperability.

The program teaches students how to create and design web maps and apps, and learn the capabilities of geographic information systems software and applications of geographic information systems. Students also gain knowledge of spatial statistics and geostatistics.

Graduates of the program can pursue opportunities in sectors such as state and local government, business and marketing, utilities, transportation, public health, intelligence and national security, and environmental planning.

  • Location: Baltimore, Maryland
  • Accreditation: Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $4,009 per course

University of Wisconsin–Madison

UW Madison offers an online master of science (MS) in cartography/geographic information systems. In order to ensure that the curriculum remains current per the latest advancements in the GIS field, it is regularly revised. Students gain skills such as GIS programming, web mapping, and mobile application development.

Admission requirements for the program include a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution (or a comparable degree from an international institution), a minimum undergraduate grade-point average of 3.0, three letters of recommendation, and Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) scores.

The program consists of 32 credit-hours and provides students with a foundation in mapping and geographic information sciences. The curriculum includes courses such as an introduction to geocomputing, an introduction to geographic information systems, an introduction to cartography, graphic design in cartography, spatial databases, and GIS and spatial analysis.

Through the program, students learn how to evaluate information related to geographic information science, utilize best practices and methods, and showcase an understanding of cartography.

  • Location: Madison, Wisconsin
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Expected Time to Completion: 12 to 36 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $800 per credit-hour

University of Central Arkansas

The University of Central Arkansas offers an online master of geographic information systems, with a thesis and non-thesis option.

In order to apply for the program, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, a minimum grade point average of 3.0, a combined verbal and quantitative score of at least 290 on the GRE, and one college-level GIS course (or be employed in a business where GIS is used).

​The program comprises 30 credit-hours. It includes courses such as geographic information systems, mapping fundamentals for GIS, digital image processing for GIS, technical issues in GIS, spatial analysis and modeling, and GIS research methodology. The program helps students gain a wide range of skills such as handling geographic data using computers, analyzing new applications of geographic information systems, and graphic communication skills.

At the end of the program, graduates can take different roles in the field of geographic information science.

  • Location: Conway, Arkansas
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission
  • Expected Time to Completion: 12 to 36 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $325 per credit-hour

North Carolina State University

North Carolina State University offers an online master of geospatial information science and technology program. The program trains students to become geospatial professionals.

Applicants to the program must have an undergraduate degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher and submit official transcripts from colleges and universities attended, along with a current resume, personal statement, and three letters of recommendation.

The program comprises 33 credit-hours and the curriculum explores topics such as geospatial professionalism, the fundamentals of geospatial information science and technology, spatial data foundations, geospatial programming fundamentals, geospatial data structures and web services, and geospatial modeling.

The program trains students to become successful in the field of geospatial information science. Students learn how to use geographic information systems for communication and analysis, develop skills in geospatial programming, use data models, and solve basic geographic problems.

  • Location: Raleigh, North Carolina
  • Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • Expected Time to Completion: 24 months
  • Estimated Tuition: $1,261 per credit-hour

Professors to Know in Online Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Degree Programs

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STEVEN DOUGLAS FLEMING, PhD - University of Southern California

Dr. Steven Douglas Fleming is a professor of practice of spatial sciences in the Spatial Sciences Institute at the University of Southern California. Professor Fleming, a retired U.S. Army Colonel, teaches geospatial intelligence tradecraft, remote sensing for GIS, and human security and disaster management. His areas of expertise include the applications of cutting-edge geospatial technologies for national defense, dynamic mapping of coastal regions, and current/emerging educational methodologies.

Dr. Fleming’s research has appeared in coveted journals including the ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing and the Journal of Applied Remote Sensing. Also, he has received numerous civilian and military awards including the Legion of Merit, a Meritorious Service Medal, a Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, and as part of a collective team, numerous Army Superior Unit Awards. Professor Fleming completed his PhD and MA degrees in geography from the University of Georgia, an MA in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College, and a BS in computer science from United States Military Academy.

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QUNYING HUANG, PhD - University of Wisconsin–Madison

Dr. Qunying Huang is an assistant professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she teaches courses on GIS technology and web spatial database development and programming.

Dr. Huang’s fields of expertise include spatial computing, spatial data science, and geographic information science. Presently, her research focuses on cyberinfrastructure, social media, and big data mining. Professor Huang has been published in top journals such as the International Journal of Geo-Information, the International Journal of Digital Earth, and the International Journal of Geographic Information Science. Additionally, she has won numerous laurels such as the Summer Student Best Paper Travel Award and the Outstanding Graduate Student Award. Dr. Huang earned her PhD from George Mason University, her MS from Peking University, and her BS from Central South University.

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CHUYUAN WANG, PhD - Arizona State University

Dr. Chuyuan Wang is an assistant professor at Arizona State University's School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, where he teaches courses such as an introduction to physical geography, geographic information technologies, geographic information science, and air photo interpretation.

Prior to joining ASU, Dr. Wang worked at Kansas State University. His research efforts are focused on spatial statistics, social and environmental resilience, and remote sensing applications. Professor Wang is a member of professional organizations such as the Association of American Geographers and American Geophysical Union. His research has been published in prominent journals such as ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing and the IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing. Notably, he has won several accolades, including the A.J. Brazel Research Award. He earned a PhD from Arizona State University, an MA from Kansas State University, and a BS from Minzu University of China.

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