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Northwest Missouri State University


M.S. Geographic Information Science

General Information | Thesis Option | Non-Thesis Option

General Information

Northwest Missouri State University offers a completely online Master of Science degree in Geographic Information Science (GIScience). The focus of this program is applied GIScience as used in industry and the public sector. The online Master's program includes courses on such GIScience topics as modeling with GIS, geostatistics, cartographic design, GIS database design, and project management. The target population for the online Master's program consists of people working in business or government who wish to use GIS technology for managing geographic data and solving geo-spatial problems, and who need in-depth knowledge that goes beyond the mechanics of using GIS software. Those in academia who want to use GIS as a tool to conduct research in their discipline may also be interested in the courses.

Effective fall 2014, students in the Master's program choose either the thesis option or the non-thesis option. Students in the non-thesis option take two additional courses and fulfill the degree's research component with a high-quality paper from a GIScience course. For both options an introductory course in GIS is intended for students with limited background in GIScience. Students taking a selected subset of courses for the online Master's degree may earn a graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science. The certificate is appropriate for students seeking advanced coursework but who do not wish to pursue a Master's degree.

The courses in the GIScience program are taught by full-time faculty at Northwest with Ph.D. degrees. Four of these faculty members have GIScience and GIS as their primary specialty

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Our students come from a broad diversity of backgrounds. Many of our students are using GIS in their current jobs and are seeking more in-depth knowledge to support and advance their careers. Other students want to make a career change to the GIS industry and are using the GIScience program to give them the education needed to become part of the rapidly growing geo-spatial workforce. Our students have undergraduate degrees in a wide variety of majors, including geography, forestry, geology, biology, agronomy, urban planning, environmental science, history, English, anthropology, architecture, and finance.

Software Requirements

The Master's and certificate programs require that students have access to ArcGIS and its Spatial Analyst, 3D Analyst, Network Analyst and Geostatistical Analyst extensions. For more details on software and hardware requirements, please see: Software Requirements.

Contact Information

Northwest Missouri State University is excited to offer this online Master's degree in GIScience.

Application Procedures/Status M.S. in GIScience program

Graduate Office
Northwest Missouri State University
800 University Drive
Maryville, MO 64468-6001

E-mail: gradsch@nwmissouri.edu
Phone: 660.562.1145

Patricia Drews, Ph.D.
Professor
Graduate GIScience Program Director

E-mail: drews@nwmissouri.edu
Phone: 660.562.1273

M.S. GIScience (with thesis)

The thesis option of the Master's degree requires 32-35 credit hours and centers on a core of seven online courses (21 credits) that are required of each student. Students choose two elective courses (6 credits) and also complete a thesis (5 credits).

Prerequisite Course (exam to test out)

32-545 Principles of GIS 3

Required Core Courses

32-601 GIS Research Seminar 3
32-543 Applications of Remotely Sensed Data 3
32-563     OR Digital Image Processing
32-562 Digital Cartography and Geovisualization 3
32-662     OR Issues in Cartographic Design
32-580 Spatial Analysis and Geostatistics 3
32-620 GIS Theory and Research 3
32-650 GIS Database Design 3
32-660 Trends in GIS 3
Total Core Hours Required 21

Electives (Choose 6 hours)

32-563 Digital Image Processing 3
32-611 Special Topics in GIScience 3
32-630 Raster-based GIS and Modeling 3
32-641 Geoprocessing with Python 3
32-642 Internet GIS 3
32-655 GIS Project Management 3
32-662 Issues in Cartographic Design 3
44-560 Advanced Topics in Database Systems 3
44-660 Database Design and Implementation 3
Total Elective Hours Required 6

Thesis

32-699 GIS Thesis 5
Total Program Hours Required 32-35

Thesis

A Master's degree student conducts an original research project and writes a thesis documenting the research project. The degree candidate submits a thesis proposal to his or her thesis committee. The committee members must approve the proposal before the student proceeds with the thesis research. A formal defense of the thesis is required, which is conducted on-line through desktop conferencing software. The degree candidate must enroll in at least one thesis credit hour each trimester that he or she expects to consult with his/her committee or use university resources.

Comprehensive Exam

A Master's degree student takes a comprehensive exam near the end of his or her coursework. The degree candidate must earn an average grade of "B" or better to pass the comprehensive examination.

M.S. GIScience (without thesis)

The non-thesis option of the Master's degree requires 33-36 credit hours.  Students take a core of five online courses (15 credits) that are required of each student and choose six elective courses (18 credits). Students fulfill the research component for the Master's degree with a high-quality paper from a course in the Master's program.

Prerequisite Course (exam to test out)

32-545 Principles of GIS 3

Required Core Courses

32-601 GIS Research Seminar 3
32-543 Applications of Remotely Sensed Data 3
32-563     OR Digital Image Processing
32-562 Digital Cartography and Geovisualization 3
32-662     OR Issues in Cartographic Design
32-580 Spatial Analysis and Geostatistics 3
32-650 GIS Database Design 3
Total Core Hours Required 15

Electives (Choose 18 hours)

32-563 Digital Image Processing 3
32-611 Special Topics in GIScience 3
32-620 GIS Theory and Research 3
32-630 Raster-based GIS and Modeling 3
32-641 Geoprocessing with Python 3
32-642 Internet GIS 3
32-655 GIS Project Management 3
32-660 Trends in GIS 3
44-560 Advanced Topics in Database Systems 3
44-660 Database Design and Implementation 3
Total Elective Hours Required 18
Total Program Hours Required 33-36

Comprehensive Exam

A Master's degree student takes a comprehensive exam near the end of his or her coursework. The degree candidate must earn an average grade of "B" or better to pass the comprehensive examination.