Online Bachelors Degrees in Land Surveying: Program Overviews

Dec 03, 2019

Learn about online bachelor's degree programs with land surveying courses. Get an overview of the program types, requirements and course descriptions available for this field.

Essential Information

Online bachelor's degree programs in land surveying are unlikely to be available, though on-campus programs are common. Some programs may offer certain courses online, but the full degree will require in-person work on campus or in the field and/or work experiences. Prerequisites typically include coursework in mathematics, computer programming and technical writing.

A bachelor's degree is typically the minimum educational requirement needed to work as a cartographer, photogrammetrist or land surveyor. Surveyors are required to be licensed in all states; licensing requirements for cartographers and photogrammetrists vary by state. Check for licensing requirements when choosing an educational program. Those looking for a fully online program can consider options in a related field, such as geography.

Bachelor's Degree in Land Surveying

Bachelor's degree programs provide theoretical and technical perspectives on land surveillance. Students in these on-campus programs use research analysis combined with devices such as Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to survey and map natural and man-made features. Topics also include project management and construction location mapping.

Information and Requirements

Before enrolling in a land-surveying program, most institutions require applicants to have completed prerequisite coursework in mathematics, computer programming and technical writing. Many of these courses can be taken online through a distance-learning content management system such as Blackboard. But because the complete curriculum for a bachelor's degree in land surveying and geomatics generally requires students to participate individually and in groups both on campus and in the field, most programs are not fully available online. Students are also tasked with completing a senior project and a co-op work experience in order to graduate.

Course Topics

Majors combine theoretical and problem-solving studies with fieldwork in order to understand the issues and challenges faced by professional land surveyors. Common courses found in a bachelor-level program are covered below.

Introduction to Geomatics

This course discusses concepts such as angle, distance and elevation measurement systems. Areas of focus include differential and profile leveling, instrument calibration and topographic mapping. Students are tasked with maintaining a field book containing survey measurement data in order to compute a survey product.

Urban Development

Students examine techniques and strategies of construction layout in the process of land development. Topics of discussion include the roles and responsibilities of land surveyors in the subdivision of land, topographic mapping and title surveys.

Real Property Descriptions

In this course, the theory and practice of real property descriptions and recording systems is investigated. Students learn concepts such as metes and bounds, lot and block styles and they examine the United States Public Land Survey. They also are required to participate in field trips to perform course exercises and case studies.

Career Information

Graduates are generally equipped to pursue careers such as land surveyors, cartographers and photogrammetrists in architectural and engineering firms as well as in government and local agencies. As of May 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( reported that the median annual salary for surveyors was $62,580, while cartographers and photogrammetrists earned a median of $64,430.

Bachelor's degree programs in land surveying are not generally available online, but on-campus programs typically include coursework in urban development, geomatics and real property descriptions. Graduates of these programs may work as land surveyors, cartographers and photogrammetrists; surveyors must be licensed while licensing requirements for cartographers and photogrammetrists vary by state.

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