Geographic Information Sciences, M.S.

Master of Science in Geography: Geographic Information Sciences

About the Degree

This program of professional and scientific education is intended to enhance abilities in data handling, analysis, and graphic communication of simple and complex geographic data and information. Intended for those students with an undergraduate degree in Geography or a closely related discipline, this degree covers a broad range of theories and current practices in the discipline. In addition, students learn to apply GIScience theories and concepts to everyday problems in human geography and urban planning.

There are both thesis and non-thesis options in this degree program. The non-thesis option requires 45 credits of coursework, which includes 36 credits of required coursework and at least 9 credits of electives in geography. The thesis option requires 9-15 credits of thesis research as part of the 45 credit degree. There are also 36 credits of required courses in the thesis option program.

In this degree program, we study data handling, analysis, and graphic communication of simple and complex geographic data and information. In GIS courses, we study how to map, model, and query large amounts of information in a computer database according to its location. In remote sensing courses, we study how to acquire remotely sensed imagery and how to display and analyze images acquired using many different kinds of sensors, including aerial photography and satellite imagery. In cartography courses, we study how to effectively communicate geographic information by creating maps.

Salary and Career Outlook

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, GIS and Remote Sensing are classified as “new and emerging” fields, which are projected to grow rapidly between 2010 and 2020; salaries in these fields are also projected to continue to rise during this time period.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for geographers in 2012 was about $74,000; median salary for cartographers and photogrammetrists (remote sensing specialists) was about $57,000. A 2011 survey of GIS professionals by URISA showed a median income of $61,000.

Why Akron?

The MS in Geography/Geographic Information Sciences degree at the University of Akron is distinctive in that it contains in-depth coursework in remote sensing and cartography, in addition to courses that apply GIS in urban and environmental areas. Students can also complete courses in the principles of GIS database design and methods for programming and customization in GIS.  Many of our students complete the non-thesis track, which provides excellent preparation for a job as a GIS analyst.

The coursework in our program encompasses three related subdisciplines: GIS, remote sensing, and cartography. Students in the program become proficient in all three, and use current versions of several hardware and software tools, including Esri’s ArcGIS software package. Students in the program learn both geographic information science theory and hands-on technical skills. Many of our courses include solving real-world problems in partnership with local agencies.

Contact Information

            Graduate Coordinator:           Dr. Linda Barrett

                                                            Crouse Hall, Room 322


                                                            (330) 972-6120

            Graduate School:                   Heather Blake

                                                            Polsky Building, Room 467


                                                            (330) 972-7664