Geographic Information Science Track

Geographic Information Science Track

The geographic information science track (GISci) requires a minimum of 18-19 s.h. Geographic inquiry leads to an examination of how and why phenomena (e.g., landscapes, migrating wildlife, or the spread of a disease) vary across space and time. Those interested in geographic information science (GIS) study and develop methodologies to address the unique challenges associated with the analysis and modeling of these types of phenomena, using the latest computer systems and technologies. From understanding hand-held mobile devices that help a person navigate through space, to applications that track moving objects such as hurricanes or disease fields, GIScience offers a stimulating and rewarding area of study.

The GIS undergraduate program is designed for students who are preparing for positions in government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, international development agencies, and business. It also provides preparation for graduate work in geography, planning, and other disciplines. GIS students learn about the fundamentals of GIScience, including such topics as geographic data collection, storage, analysis, and display; the latest trends in GPS and GIS; mobile GIS; time and GIS. They build expertise in geospatial statistical methods, geographic information systems, remote sensing, mobile GIS, and spatiotemporal data modeling and simulations.

GIS students learn to address problems such as modeling environmental systems, identifying the best locations for service facilities, assessing environmental impacts, and forecasting the populations of small areas. The Geographic Information Systems Instructional Laboratory (GISIL) is used extensively in courses to enable students to develop their expertise in the use of GIS software.


Course work in the track covers methods of spatial analysis and geographical modeling and involves database management and computer programming.

In addition to the common requirements, students in the geographic information science track complete a common track course (3-4 s.h.) and at least 15 s.h. of upper-level geographical and sustainability sciences courses.

Course List
Code Title Hours
Common course—all GISci track students take one of these:  
CS:1110 Introduction to Computer Science 3
CS:1210 Computer Science I: Fundamentals 4
CS:2110 Programming for Informatics 4

Students choose a total of five upper-level courses (at least 15 s.h.) from the following, in consultation with their advisor. GISci track students are encouraged to add breadth to their degree by taking additional upper-level courses in the department. Students interested in the application of GIS to environmental issues should select additional courses from the department's environmental studies area; those interested in health or other socioeconomic issues should select additional courses from the department's health and society area.

Course List
Code Title Hours
At least one of these:  
GEOG:3050 Introduction to Geospatial Programming 3
GEOG:3500 Introduction to Environmental Remote Sensing 3
GEOG:3520 GIS for Environmental Studies 3
GEOG:3540 Introduction to Geographic Visualization 3
GEOG:4650 Simulation in Environmental Geography 3
At least one of these:  
GEOG:3340 Ecosystem Services: Human Dependence on Natural Systems 3
GEOG:3760/GHS:3760 Hazards and Society 3
GEOG:4010 Field Methods in Physical Geography 3
GEOG:4020 Field Methods: Mapping and Mobile Computing 3
GEOG:4150/GHS:4150 Health and Environment: GIS Applications 3
At least one of these:  
GEOG:3570 LiDAR: Principles and Applications 3
GEOG:4500 Applications in Environmental Remote Sensing 3
GEOG:4520 GIS for Environmental Studies: Applications 3
GEOG:4570 Spatial Analysis and Location Models 3
GEOG:4580 Introduction to Geographic Databases 3



See also: Minor in GIS