Hybrid Masters in GIS Programs and GIS Masters Degrees

Hybrid Masters in GIS Programs and GIS Masters Degrees Info

Earning a Hybrid Masters in GIS degree can be a great fit if you are you concerned about the sustainability of the earth’s environment. Would you like to learn how to model geospatial technologies? Do you see yourself as a natural problem solver? For the student who is drawn to the fields of science and technology, with a love of geography and an interest in a career-focused academic path, a hybrid masters in GIS program might be a great way to prepare for a variety of career paths.

Masters in GIS Hybrid Degree Programs in Geographic Information Systems

Geographic information systems, abbreviated GIS, symbolize a technological breakthrough in organizing and displaying spatial data. Just contemplate how powerful a map can be to allow us to visualize, analyze, and interpret information in order to understand things form crime trends in a particular location to weather patterns! This information may lead to improved decision-making by realtors, scientists, leaders and public officials as well as communities looking for ways to safeguard their resources and populations.

What Skills Might Hybrid Masters in GIS Degree Programs Help Students Develop?

Some GIS Masters programs, such as the Master of Science in Geographic Information Systems, involve learning about high-tech mapping in addition to other valuable tools. These programs may also involve teaching the student how to build and understand the software that is involved in GIS technology and using the accumulated information about geography to assess real global concerns.  You may learn how to be a part of finding solutions to some growing global concerns!

Urban and regional planners need a master’s degree from an accredited planning program to qualify for most positions[i]. If you are drawn to the designing and implementing procedures and systems, the masters in GIS program may lead to potential professional opportunities for you to pursue. If your interests lie more in academia and research, the Masters can be a stepping-stone to your PhD.

It is not necessarily a requirement to have taken geographical information systems courses in order to enter a Master in GIS program, however, it may help to have come from a relevant field such as geography, environmental science, climate science or anthropology. Even some business degrees might be useful if you plan to pursue career opportunities such as strategic planning with the field.

Did you know?

  • Putting information into GIS is called data capture[ii]

  • The first known use of the term ”geographic information system” was by Roger Tomlinson in the year 1968[iii]

  • One of the first applications of spatial analysis in epidemiology was in 1832[iii]

  • Employment of cartographers and photogrammetrists is projected to grow 20 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations[iv]

What are the Potential Advantages to Hybrid GIS Masters programs?

The Hybrid Masters in GIS format combines the flexibility of online study with an on-campus course component. Off campus learning requires a computer and Internet access, and often fits well for the student who is balancing an existing career, family, or other commitments. It requires good time management skills, on the one hand, but on the other, can be very convenient. Students may have the same faculty teachers as those who are teaching on-campus, and are able to interact with professors and classmates via email, group bulletin boards, projects, and feedback. Taking some classes on college campus may provide opportunities for you to access the university facilities, and network!

Master’s program in Geographical Information Systems Curriculum

The Hybrid Masters in GIS curriculum can vary depending on whether you are working towards an MS (Master of Science) GIS or an MGIS (Master of Geographic information systems) degree. While challenging, these are programs designed to help students learn about GIS tools and methods that may be applied in their future professional pursuits. Some of the skills of a typical GIS professional are attention to detail, excellent problem-solving, grasp of statistics, ability to work with maps, IT proficiencies, communication and analytical skills.

Programs may have unique components, practical projects and classes specific to the degree and university, however some of the subjects one can typically expect to find in a GIS Master Degree program offer scientific foundation in fields such as:

  • Spatial data mining
  • Spatial data modeling and analysis
  • Geography and geographical visualization
  • Enterprise GIS architecture
  • Cloud computing
  • Big data analytics

Potential Career Paths For Hybrid Masters in GIS Graduates

Earning a Masters in Geographical Information Systems may open some different potential career paths for graduates to pursue. Some of these may include:

  • Geographers : study the earth and its land, features, and inhabitants, as well as phenomena such as political or cultural structures as they relate to geography. Geographers study the physical and human geographic characteristics of a region, ranging in scale from local to global[v]
  • Environmental Science & Protection Technicians: use their knowledge of the natural sciences to protect the environment and human health[vi]
  • Surveyors: make precise measurements to determine property boundaries. They also provide data relevant to the shape and contour of the Earth’s surface for engineering, mapmaking, and construction projects[vii]                          
  • Drafters: use software to convert the designs of engineers and architects into technical drawings and plans[viii]                
  • Cartographers/Photogrammetrists: collect, measure, and interpret geographic information to create maps and charts for political, educational, and other purposes[iv]
  • Surveying and Mapping Technicians: assist surveyors, cartographers and photogrammetrists. Together they collect data and make maps of the earth’s surface[ix]
  • Urban and Regional Planners: develop plans and programs for the use of land to create communities, accommodate population growth, and revitalize physical facilities in towns, cities, counties, and metropolitan areas[x]

HELPFUL HINT:  A job search can be fairly daunting. Start by focusing on your specific goals and interests to help identify your potential target employment markets. 

Ready to earn a GIS Master Degree?

When you think of how many times we look up geographical locations on the Internet, hear of how rescue workers were able to cope with natural disasters, or leaders were able to prepare communities with evacuation plans, you realize how much of a digital age we live in. If you have the desire to pursue potential career opportunities in industries involved with disaster relief, want to help protect natural resources, be part of fossil fuel prospecting, conservation or civil planning, a Hybrid Masters in GIS degree can not only lead you to pursue a career path but also a fascinating academic path.


Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/urban-and-regional-planners.htm | [ii] education.nationalgeographic.com/encyclopedia/geographic-information-system-gis/ | [iii] en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geographic_information_system | [iv] bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/cartographers-and-photogrammetrists.htm | [v] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/geographers.htm | [vi] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/mobile/environmental-science-and-protection-technicians.htm | [vii] bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/surveyors.htm | [viii] bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/drafters.htm | [ix] bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/surveying-and-mapping-technicians.htm | [x] bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/urban-and-regional-planners.htm

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