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Master of Science in Geographic Information Science Online

Enhance your potential as a geographic information science specialist! This online program employs advanced spatial data-collecting methods and state-of-the-art technologies to hone your GIScience skills.

02/24/23 Next Application Due Date
03/13/23 Next Class Start Date


What Our Online Master's in Geographic Information Science Offers You

Rise as a subject matter expert in the innovative field of spatial data when you earn the Master of Science in Geographic Information Science 100% online from Northwest Missouri State University. As the first higher education institution to pilot a master's-level GIScience program, Northwest offers you a history of excellence for graduating GIScience experts and a comprehensive GIS curriculum that combines modern technology systems with science, preparing you for any data mapping challenge in today's setting.

$10,500 Total Tuition
As few as 20 months Program Duration
30 Credit Hours

The M.S. in Geographic Information Science online program is ideal for professionals working in conservation, intelligence, police, military or health industries who aspire to be at the forefront in data-gathering to uncover patterns and solve complex geo-spatial challenges.

In the online master's in GIS program, you will add to your specialized acumen by expanding your technical data-mapping skills using both hardware and software technology systems; discovering innovative ways to capture, process, analyze and represent data in real-world settings; advancing your understanding of remotely sensed information as it pertains to a GIS landscape; examining the latest trends in cartography and geographic information science as a whole—and much more.

Our highly qualified GIScience faculty is committed to your success. Our educators have years of experience working as specialized geographers in sectors such as academia, public and private agencies and GIScience research, plus they maintain strong ties with industries that seek to employ well-trained GIS candidates. Throughout the coursework, you will have ample opportunities to collaborate with your professors and peers, including the completion of a comprehensive capstone project.

Graduates of this GIS online program will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the use of GIS through election maps, COVID-19 maps and any other up-to-date categorization mapping
  • Conduct a GIS capstone project from beginning to end, including identifying an issue/problem and demonstrating the ability to find usable spatial data
  • Apply Python™, Google Earth, Google Images and ArcGIS technologies as tools in gathering geographic information science data
  • Explore the use of remotely sensed information in a geographic information science environment, with emphasis on understanding data sources, tools and techniques in remote sensing
  • Understand the analysis and statistical tools used by geographers and uncover the fundamentals of geostatistics that are used in research and business
  • Study advanced vector data models and analytical methods using vector data
  • Comprehend the process of GIS database design, including user needs assessment and conceptual, logical and physical database design, with an emphasis on the design of spatial components in GIS data

Geographic information science careers:

  • Conservationist
  • Climate Scientist
  • GIS Manager
  • Health Geographer
  • App Developer
  • Meteorologist
  • GIS Technician
  • Cartography Technician
  • Precision Agriculture Researcher
  • Marine Survey Analyst

Have questions or need more information about our online programs?

Also available

Northwest offers a variety of specialized online degree options. Check out our other online graduate programs.

Tuition and Fees

Our Budget-Friendly Tuition Can Be Paid as You Go

Our M.S. in Geographic Information Science online program offers affordable, pay-by-the-course tuition, which is the same for in-state and out-of-state students. All fees are included.

$350 Per Credit Hour
$10,500 Program Tuition*

View full tuition breakdown

Program Per Credit Hour Per Course Per Program
M.S. in Geographic Information Science $350 $1,050 $10,500

Important Refund Information

2nd day of class Last date for 100% refund for dropped course
4th day of class Last date for 75% refund for dropped course
6th day of class Last date for 50% refund for dropped course
8th day of class Last date for 25% refund for dropped course

*Tuition and fees are subject to change. Current amounts are based on 2020-21 tuition rates. Textbooks and laptops are not included with tuition.

Northwest Missouri State University is ranked #1 among the "Best Online Colleges in Missouri" by SR Education Group (2019).


NWMSU Online Dates and Deadlines

Northwest online programs are delivered in an accelerated format ideal for working professionals, conveniently featuring multiple start dates each year.

02/24/23 Next Application Due Date
03/13/23 Next Class Start Date

View full calendar

Term Program Start Date Application Deadline Document Deadline Registration Deadline Payment Due Last Class Day
Spring 1 01/11/23 01/03/23 01/03/23 01/04/23 01/06/23 03/03/23
Spring 2 03/13/23 02/24/23 03/01/23 03/07/23 03/08/23 04/28/23
Summer 1 05/09/23 04/25/23 04/28/23 05/02/23 05/04/23 06/23/23
Summer 2 06/26/23 06/09/23 06/14/23 06/16/23 06/21/23 08/11/23
Fall 1 08/21/23 08/07/23 08/10/23 08/14/23 08/16/23 10/06/23
Fall 2 10/16/23 10/02/23 10/05/23 10/09/23 10/11/23 12/01/23

Ready to take the next step toward earning your degree online from Northwest?


Steps to Being Admitted into Our Online Master’s in GIS Program

At Northwest, we've streamlined the admission process to help you get started quickly and easily. Please read the requirements for the M.S. in Geographic Information Science online, including what additional materials you need and where you should send them. The requirements include:

Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution
GPA of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale
Official transcripts from all institutions attended

View all admission requirements

To apply for this program, you must meet these requirements:

  • Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited higher education institution with a GPA of 2.5 or higher
  • Combined GRE score of 286 or higher on the verbal and quantitative sections. Students who do not meet this criteria may be admitted under the condition of maintaining a 3.0 or higher in the first 9 credit hours of graduate study.
  • The GRE requirement will be waived for:
    • Applicants with a graduate degree (master's or higher) from an accredited institution
    • Applicants who have earned the Geographic Information Science certificate at Northwest
    • Applicants with one year of documented full-time professional work experience in the field of geographic information science OR three years of documented full-time professional work experience in any field

Official transcripts can be emailed to [email protected]. To submit official documents by mail, send them to:

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

Have a question? Call us at 844-890-9304 844-890-9304.

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A Look at the Online GIS Curriculum

For the M.S. in Geographic Information Science online, the curriculum is comprised of 10 courses (30 credit hours), including 12 credit hours of core courses, 12 credit hours of elective courses and 6 credit hours of research courses.

Expand All [+]

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

GIS is a powerful technology for managing and analyzing geographic data. This course provides students with the conceptual background for a rigorous study of fundamental GIS principles, including the nature of spatial data, vector and raster data models, and key GIS analysis operations. It provides a strong foundation for advanced courses or work in GIS.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

This course integrates the use of remotely sensed information into a GIS environment. Emphasis is placed on understanding image formats, imagery sources on the internet, composite color display schemes, visual interpretation, and getting data out of images.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

A cartography course that introduces fundamental cartographic theory and emphasizes effective visual thinking and visual communication with Geographic Information Systems.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

This course helps students develop a comprehensive and systematic understanding of spatial analysis methods and learn practical skills in using GIS and spatial analysis to discover features of spatial distributions.

Students must choose four of the following courses.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

Covers advanced topics in GIS using the raster data structure. Emphasis is placed on the use of raster-based data for spatial modeling applications.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

An introductory course for developing programming skills for geoprocessing in ArcGIS using the Python scripting language. Python fundamentals and the use of ArcGIS geoprocessing functions and methods will be the primary focus of this course. A brief overview of ModelBuilder for developing geoprocesses will also be discussed. No previous programming experience is required.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

This course provides concepts and hands-on experience on current technologies for disseminating maps on the internet. Students will learn how to author and publish GIS maps online and develop web applications. Experience in web programming is helpful but not required.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

A comprehensive study of the process of GIS database design, including user needs assessment and conceptual, logical and physical database design. Emphasizes design of the spatial component of GIS data.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

Addresses the applications and latest trends in Geographic Information Science and provides a framework and theoretical concepts for understanding spatial problems along with real-world case studies to implement GIS solutions.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

An advanced remote-sensing course focusing on image-processing techniques. In this course, we will further the understanding of the concepts learned in the introductory remote-sensing course (Geog 32-604) and explore various image-processing techniques to extract information from remotely sensed images.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

A research seminar for GIScience graduate students who are ready to start their research component. This seminar is to help students develop an awareness of various research methods and of the literature review process as well as their own GIScience research interests. Students become familiar with thinking, writing and criticizing at the graduate level.

Duration: 7 weeks   |   Credit Hours: 3

This course will help GIScience graduate students conduct a project and fulfill their research component requirement for graduation. Through this project, students will demonstrate their abilities to apply GIScience knowledge and skills to an appropriate problem or situation. Students will document and present their research process and findings.

Still undecided?

Check out our other online programs.

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