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Degree Programs
Geographic Information Science

Master of Science in Geographic Information Science

Student Learning Outcomes

The Master of Science in Geographic Information Science prepares students for professional careers or advanced graduate studies in the field through seminars, lectures, laboratory, internship, and faculty-supervised research. Students completing the Geographic Information Science M.S. curriculum will:

  • Understand key foundational concepts, methodological processes, and analytical skills in Geographic information science.
  • Be able to demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the literature in at least one subfield or application area of geographic information science.
  • Be able to develop a research proposal and carry out a research project under faculty supervision.
  • Be able to demonstrate the ability to professionally communicate research findings in oral, written and graphic forms.

Special Departmental Requirements

(See also general University Graduate School requirements.)


B (3.0) average or higher. 

Master of Science in Geographic Information Science

Admission Requirements

Undergraduate degree in geography or related discipline. Rec­ommended minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0. Appropriate work experience will also be taken into account when making decisions about admission. Satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examinations, three letters of recommendation, and personal statement.

Course Requirements

A minimum of 30 credit hours including core requirements in GIS theory and methods from three of the following four courses: G535, G537, G538, G588. All students must take G560 and G639.

Thesis or Research Papers

Students have the option of writing a thesis (G850) or two research papers (G845). Up to 6 credit hours are allowed for a thesis and up to 3 credit hours are given for each research paper.

Course Requirements
All students must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours as follows:

Any 3 of the following courses (9 credits):
  • GEOG-G 535: Introduction to Remote Sensing (3 cr.)
  • GEOG-G 537: Computer Cartography and Graphics (3 cr.)
  • GEOG-G 538: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (3 cr.)
  • GEOG-G 588: Spatial Statistics (3 cr.)
Two required courses (7 credits):
  • GEOG-G 639: Seminar in Geographic Information Science (3 cr.)
  • GEOG-G 560: Internship in Geographic Analysis (4 cr.)
An independent research project or a thesis (3-6 credits):
  • GEOG-G 845: Research Papers in Geography (3 cr.) or
  • GEOG-G 850: Masters Thesis (6 cr.)

Electives in GIS or complementary field (8-11 credits)


  • GEOG-G 502 Introduction to Transportation Analysis (3 cr.) An examination of movement of people, goods, and information over space using spatial analysis and planning techniques.
  • GEOG-G 535 ENVIRONMENTAL REMOTE SENSING (3 cr.) Principles of remote sensing of the earth and its atmosphere, emphasizing satellite data in visible, infrared, and microwave portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Emphasis on practical applications and digital image analysis. A satellite data analysis project is required.
  • GEOG-G 536 Advanced Remote Sensing (3 cr.) P: GEOG-G 535 or consent of instructor. Advanced remote sensing theory and digital image processing techniques with an emphasis on environmental applications. Hands-on computer exercises provide significant experience in introductory digital image processing for extraction of qualitative and quantitative information about the Earth's terrestrial environments. Lecture and laboratory.
  • GEOG-G 537 Computer Cartography and Graphics (3 cr.) Compilation, design, production, and evaluation of maps and related graphic materials. Includes cartometric procedures, symbolization, color use guidelines, map typography, photographic manipulations, computer animation, and geographic visualization techniques. Hardcopy and Internet-based outputs. Lecture and laboratory.
  • GEOG-G 538 Geographic Information Systems (3 cr.) Overview of the principles and practices of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The course will deal with issues of spatial data models, database design, introductory and intermediate GIS operations, and case studies of real-world GIS. Laboratory exercises will provide significant hands-on experience. Lecture and laboratory.
  • GEOG-G 539 Advanced Geographic Information Systems (3 cr.) P: GEOG-G 538 or consent of instructor. Intermediate and advanced topics in geographic information science and spatial analysis techniques using GIS software. This advanced course is for upper-division undergraduates and graduates who seek a greater understanding of this rapidly developing field and to learn how to construct, manage, and analyze their own GIS data and models. Lecture and laboratory.
  • GEOG-G 560 Geography Internship (1-4 cr.) P: Admission to MS GIS program and permission of major advisor. Faculty-directed study of geographical problems based on internship experience. Area of placement must be related to field of Geographic Information Science. Student may complete more than one internship, but total credit hours cannot exceed four.
  • GEOG-G 578 Global Change, Food and Farming Systems (3 cr.) P: 6 credits in geography or consent of instructor. Introduction to food production and consumption systems, emphasizing linkages to land use and social change on food/farming system sustainability.  Topics include: urbanization population growth and economic liberalization; farming livelihoods, gender and poverty; biotechnology; agro-ecology; global health.
  • GEOG-G 588 Applied Spatial Statistics (3 cr.) P: 6 credits in geography or consent of instructor. Extension of traditional statistical analysis to spatial data. Spatial means and spatial variances, the examination of differences in samples over space, spatial autocorrelation, nearest neighbor analysis, map comparison techniques, emphasis on practical applications.
  • GEOG-G 590 Graduate Topics in Geography (3 cr.) An examination of selected problems and issues in geography or from a geographic perspective. Topics vary from semester to semester.
  • GEOG-G 602 TOPICS SEMINAR: Climate, Land, and Environmental Change (3 cr.) P: Consent of instructor. Topics will vary to consider aspects of climate, land and environmental change.
  • GEOG-G 639 GIS and Environmental Analysis (3 cr.) P: GEOG-G 535, GEOG-G 538, and GEOG-G 536 or GEOG-G 539. Applications of geographic information science principles in the collection and analysis of spatial data. Integration of GIS, remote sensing, and/or GPS technologies. Review of current literature on techniques, theory, technology, and applications with an emphasis on environmental issues. Discussions, laboratory, and research project.
  • GEOG-G 704 Soils Geography (3 cr.) P: GEOG-G 538. Examines the spatial aspects of soils from a global and local perspective, including soil genesis, morphology, and classification; physical, chemical, mechanical and biological properties of soil; and land use mapping, analysis, planning, and management.
  • GEOG-G 817 Seminar in Regional Geography (3 cr.)
  • GEOG-G 830 Readings in Geography (12 cr. max. cr.) P: Advanced course in geography or closely related field. Supervised readings on selected topics.
  • GEOG-G 845 Research Papers in Geography (3 cr.) P: Admission to MS GIS Program and permission of major advisor. Research papers under the supervision of a faculty committee. Graduate students in the MS in Geographic Information Science program who choose the research papers option (as opposed to the thesis) will develop two research papers under supervision of their major advisor and two additional faculty members.
  • GEOG-G 850 Master’s Thesis (1-6 cr.) Directed research and writing under the supervision of a faculty committee.

For additional information about Geographic Information Science programs at IUPUI, please refer to the IUPUI Geography Web site (https://liberalarts.iupui.edu/geography/pages/graduate-folder/index.php) or contact:

Graduate Director
Department of Geography
Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis
E-mail: geogdept@iupui.edu