Northwest Missouri State University

M.S. in Geographic Information Science



Program Information

Degrees Offered:

M.S. in Geographic Information Science

Format: Online

Program Description:

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. The Geography program at Northwest Missouri State University has a rich history of innovation, student success, and University support. Since the early 1990s, the Department has had a strong component of GIS and related geo-technologies as part of its undergraduate degree programs. Building upon the department's strength in GIS and the University's experience in online education, the Department began planning for the online graduate GIScience program in 2001. The first students for the online GIScience program were admitted for the fall 2003 trimester. The first M.S. degree in GIScience and graduate GIScience certificates were awarded spring 2005. The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences is located on the first floor of the remodeled Garrett-Strong Science Building on the University campus. The Department has two computer labs for teaching GIS, digital cartography, image processing, and GPS. The GIScience faculty have a proven commitment to the graduate and undergraduate programs, our students, the post-graduate industry, and the field of Geography. Our faculty are well-balanced human and physical geographers with specialties in GIS and GIScience. They have a background in undergraduate education, public and private employment, and GIScience research. Our pedagogical philosophy is to balance theoretical knowledge in GIScience with technical applications. The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences has strong ties with the industries that employ our graduates. The Department has an advisory board composed of representatives from industry, government, and academia for support and review of our degree programs. This group is instrumental in validating and strengthening the graduate GIScience program. Northwest Missouri State University has been a leader and innovator in online instruction. One of the missions of the University is to apply information technology to improve learning processes. To ensure quality, the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences followed a Seven Step Planning Process in proposing and implementing the online GIScience program and continues to follow this process in reviewing and enhancing the program.


Northwest is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Northwest was most recently reaffirmed for accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission in July 2012. In addition to being accredited by the Higher LearningCommission, Northwest programs are accredited by: •Accreditation Council of Business Schools and Programs(ACBSP) •Council for the Accreditation for Parks, Recreation, Tourism & Related Professions (COAPRT) •Missouri State Board of Education •Missouri Academy of Science

Facts & Figures

Financial Aid: No

International Financial Aid: No

# of Credits Required: 32-36

Classification: Master's College or University I

Locale: Distant Town

Size & Settings: 6,000-9,999

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