Cartography Masters Degree Program Overview

There are no master's degrees specifically in cartography, but interested students may enroll in a Master of Science program in Geography with a specialization in the field. Find out what these programs entail and what you must do in order to apply.

Essential Information

Students who are interested in studying cartography at the master's degree level typically pursue a Master of Science (MS) in Geography with a specialization in cartography and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). These programs train students to create maps of the Earth's surface. Specifically, students learn to use satellite technology and computer cartography to analyze, manage and communicate environmental information about the Earth. The curriculum also includes high-level studies in geography, spatial analysis, cartography and computer science, with additional focus on advanced topics such as the compilation and analysis of visual data, visualization, and modeling. Prior to graduation, students must pass a comprehensive exam and submit a thesis based on independent research. Research opportunities in cartography and GIS include map communication, land use and cover, remote sensing and GIS modeling.

In order to apply, students must hold a bachelor's degree in geography or cartography. If their undergraduate degree is in a different field, they must meet prerequisite course requirements before enrolling. Applicants are also required to submit GRE scores, letters of recommendation and a statement of intent.

Master of Science in Geography

Common course topics in these programs include:

  • Cartography principles
  • GIS analysis and Computer-Aided Drafting (CAD)
  • Remote sensing
  • Quantitative methods
  • Map projections
  • Professionalism in GIS and cartography

Popular Careers

Graduates have advanced technical skills in gathering, analyzing, representing, and managing geospatial information. Graduates may pursue technical careers in government agencies and private corporations, as well as entry-level teaching positions in educational institutions. Possible job titles include:

  • Remote sensing specialist
  • Photogrammetrist
  • Cartographer
  • Geographic information specialist

Continuing Education Information

Cartography and GIS master's degree holders can pursue a doctorate in geography. Ph.D. programs in GIS provide graduates with the advanced professional preparation necessary for tenure-track postsecondary teaching and senior-level professional careers in the field.

Overall, even though students cannot pursue a master's degree specifically in cartography, an MS program in geography with a concentration in cartography and GIS can provide the necessary theoretical and research training that students need for career success or further study in the field.

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