The Department of Geography offers a thesis-based master of science in Cartography and Geographic Information Systems, titled Thesis. In addition, it offers two professional non-thesis options in the Cartography and Geographic Information Systems M.S. titled: GIS Development (online program) and Accelerated/ Non-Thesis (in-residence program).

Information about facilities, supporting faculty and staff, and program requirements for all graduate programs in the department can be found in the Geography listing in this catalog.

The M.S. (Thesis) in Cartography and Geographic Information Systems provides a broad foundation in the theory and application of mapping and geographic information sciences. Students who earn the M.S. (Thesis) degree are prepared to continue on for the Ph.D. in geography or for positions in government agencies, planning organizations, environmental agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and private industry.

Students apply to the Master of Science in Cartography and Geographic Information Systems through one of the named options:

Graduate School Resources

Resources to help you afford graduate study might include assistantships, fellowships, traineeships, and financial aid. Further funding information is available from the Graduate School. Be sure to check with your program for individual policies and restrictions related to funding.

Program Resources

The department tries to provide support to all incoming graduate students in the form of fellowships, teaching assistantships, or research assistantships. Most forms of financial assistance include eligibility for health insurance coverage and remission of tuition.

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

Review the Graduate School minimum academic progress and degree requirements, in addition to the program requirements listed below.

Major Requirements


Minimum Credit Requirement 30 credits
Minimum Residence Credit Requirement 16 credits
Minimum Graduate Coursework Requirement Half of degree coursework must be completed in graduate-level coursework; courses with the Graduate Level Coursework attribute are identified and searchable in the university's Course Guide.
Overall Graduate GPA Requirement 3.00 GPA required.
Other Grade Requirements The Graduate School requires an average grade of B or better in all coursework (300 or above, not including research credits) taken as a graduate student unless conditions for probationary status require higher grades. Grades of Incomplete are considered to be unsatisfactory if they are not removed during the next enrolled semester.
Assessments and Examinations See Named Options for policy information.
Language Requirements No language requirement.

Required Courses

Select a Named Option for courses required.

Named Options

A named option is a formally documented sub-major within an academic major program. Named options appear on the transcript with degree conferral. Students pursuing the Master of Science in Cartography and Geographic Information Systems must select one of the following named options:

Students should refer to one of the named options for policy information:

Graduate School Resources

Take advantage of the Graduate School's professional development resources to build skills, thrive academically, and launch your career. 

  1. Articulates, critiques, or elaborates the theories, research methods, and approaches to inquiry or schools of practice in cartography and GIScience.
  2. Identifies sources and assembles evidence pertaining to questions or challenges in cartography/GIScience.
  3. Demonstrates understanding of cartography/GIScience in a historical, social, or global context.
  4. Selects and/or utilizes the most appropriate methodologies and practices.
  5. Evaluates or synthesizes information pertaining to questions or challenges in cartography/GIScience.
  6. Communicates clearly in ways appropriate to cartography/GIScience.
  7. Recognizes and applies principles of ethical and professional conduct.


Department Chair: Joseph Mason

Professors: William Cronon, Robert Kaiser, Erika Marin-Spiotta, Joseph Mason, Lisa Naughton, Kristopher Olds, Matthew Turner, John (Jack) Williams, A-Xing Zhu

Associate Professors: Ian Baird, Holly Gibbs, Asligül Göçmen, Qunying Huang, Sarah Moore, Morgan Robertson, Robert Roth, Keith Woodward, Stephen Young

Assistant Professors: Christian Andresen, Song Gao, Ken Keefover-Ring, Jenna Loyd, Almita Miranda