Master's Degree in GIS: Degree Program Information

Oct 16, 2019

Essential Information

Prerequisites for a master's degree in geographic information systems (GIS) include a bachelor's degree in a related subject. You may need to complete a course in computer programming. Some degrees require a Capstone project for graduation.

The educational requirements for a career in this field often vary. For instance, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, surveyors are required to have bachelor's degrees, while geographers often have master's degrees. However, a graduate-level degree in GIS can help set mapping and surveying professionals aside from the pack, especially when the degree is combined with real-world field experience.

Master's Degree in GIS

Students can learn to apply research techniques, environmental awareness and engineering skills to a variety of careers, such as a GIS technician or a remote sensing analyst. In addition, students might learn how geographic information systems function. As a capstone experience, students could be required to complete a research based thesis project. Through such a program, students often learn how to analyze, plan, and implement GIS projects through the development of applicable technology skills, such as internet mapping, remote sensing, and digital image processing. Students may take courses in technology to learn about software applications and GIS techniques. Course topics included in such a program might include:

  • Cartography
  • Theory and research of GIS
  • Statistics in geography
  • Remote sensing
  • Natural resources and GIS
  • Using global positioning systems (GPS) in GIS

Popular Career Options

Upon program completion, students may find themselves working in the field of natural resource management or in regional planning. Students could work in engineering or architecture where they may complete research, offer technical support, or plan transportation systems. Employment opportunities might include careers such as:

  • Environmental scientist
  • GIS analyst
  • Cartographer
  • Mapping technician
  • Surveyor

Continuing Education

Generally, advanced educational opportunities within the field of GIS include a Ph.D. program in geography or a related field. Students might pursue a Ph.D. in geography with a specialization in GIS or a Ph.D. in Earth Systems and GIS.

A master's degree in GIS will increase your ability to apply technology to the fields of surveying, geography or regional planning. Digital image processing becomes an integral part of the course studies.

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