A-Z Index

M.S. Geographic Information Science

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.

The Master's degree requires 30 credit hours. By taking one course in each of the six 7-week terms in a year, students may earn the Master's degree in less than two years. 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. For certificate students who decide to continue on for the Master's degree, all courses taken for the certificate count towards the Master's degree.

The courses in the GIScience program are taught by full-time faculty at Northwest with Ph.D. degrees and with GIScience and GIS as their primary specialty. Students have access to online GIScience peer-reviewed journals and other scholarly online resources through Northwest's B.D. Owens Library.


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

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

Phone: 660.562.1145

M.S. in GIScience program

Ming Hung, Ph.D. 


M.S. GIScience Courses

The Master's degree requires 30 credit hours. Students take three required core courses (9 credit hours) and choose five elective courses (15 credit hours). To fulfill the research component of the degree, students take a two-course sequence that culminates in a GIScience project.

Required Core Courses

32-602 Principles of GIS 3
32-604 Applications of Remotely Sensed Data 3
32-606 Cartographic Design and Visualization 3
Total Core Hours Required 9

Electives (Choose 15 hours)

32-608 Fundamentals of Geostatistics 3
32-611 Special Topics in GIScience 3
32-615 Geographic Foundations of Geospatial Intelligence 3
32-620 GIS and Spatial Analytics 3
32-630 Raster-based GIS and Modeling 3
32-641 Geoprocessing with Python 3
32-642 Internet GIS 3
32-650 GIS Database Design 3
32-655 GIS Project Management 3
32-660 Trends and Applications in GIScience 3
32-663 Digital Image Processing 3
Total Elective Hours Required 15

Required Research Component

32-680 GIScience Research Seminar 3
32-690 GIScience Research Project 3
Total Research Component Hours Required 6
Total Program Hours Required 30