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The MSGIS is a professional degree that allows students to specialize in Geographic Information Science. The MSGIS gives students the in-depth experience required for advanced careers in GIS. The MSGIS culminates with a portfolio that showcases students’ coursework, which also serves to demonstrate GIS skills to potential employers. Unfortunately, MSGIS students are not eligible for departmental funding.

The MSGIS Program participates in the WRGP in-state tuition program. Students who are residents in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai'i, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands are eligible for 150% in-state tuition when enrolling in the MSGIS program. Applicants must meet all admissions requirements and apply within deadlines. Identify yourself as a "WICHE WRGP" applicant to be considered for the discounted tuition rate. There are a limited number of WRGP reduced tuition seats each year, so apply early.

Admission to the MSGIS does not require GRE scores. MSGIS applicants are expected to have proficiency in undergraduate mathematics, statistics, computing, programming, mapping, introductory GIS, and GIS methods as prerequisites to the program.  The following courses would suffice- GEOG 3100: Introduction to GIS and Cartography; GEOG 3020: Geographical Analysis or an upper division basic statistics course; GEOG 5140: Methods in GIS; GEOG 1180: Introduction to Geo-Programming or an introductory-level programming course; or equivalent experience.  A program fee of $100 is required each fall or spring semester in which any courses are taken.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the deadline for applying to the program?

Students entering Fall semester should apply by April 1. However, with the payment of a $30 late fee, applications will be taken until May 1. Students entering Spring semester should apply by November 1, late applications accepted until December 1. Note: International students should not apply for late admission due to the lengthy process it takes to generate the proper documents and visa in time for the start of the semester.

Is the GRE required for admission?


Is student funding available for this program?

Unfortunately, we cannot support students in the professional program with assistantships. We do have assistantships available for students in our traditional Master’s in Geography program.

Is there a special fee?

The program has a fee of $100 per student, each fall and spring semester (no fee charged during summer), for an MSGIS student enrolling in three (3) or more credits of coursework.  The fee applies to both classroom and on-line classes.

How long does the program take?

The program can be completed in as little as 2 years, depending on the number of credit hours taken per semester.

What are the prerequisites for the program?

GEOG 1180 Introduction to Geo-Programming or equivalent

GEOG 3100 Introduction to GIS or equivalent

GEOG 4140 Advanced Methods in GIS or equivalent

GEOG 3020 Geographical Analysis or an upper division basic statistics course

Should I take the prerequisite courses before applying to the MSGIS program?

The Department requires that you have taken these courses or have equivalent competence.

What courses should I register for and when?

The following is a model program of study illustrating one sequence of courses:

 Year 1 Fall Semester

  • GEOG 6150:  Geospatial Big Data (4 Hours)
  •  GEOG 6000:  Advanced Geographical Data Analysis (4 Hours)
  •  GEOG 6180:  GeoProcessing with Python (3 Hours)

Year 1 Spring Semester

  •  GEOG 6165:  Geovisualization (3 Hours)
  •  GEOG 6160:  Spatial Modeling and Geocomputation (4 Hours)
  •  GEOG 5320:  Geography of Terrorism and Homeland Security or other elective (3 Hours)

Year 2 Fall Semester

  •  GEOG 6120:  Advanced Optical Remote Sensing or other elective (3 Hours)
  •  GEOG 5170:  Geospatial Field Methods: GPS and Drones or other elective (3 Hours)
  •  GEOG 5340:  Geography of Disasters and Emergency Management (3 Hours)

Year 2 Spring Semester

  •  GEOG 6161:  Capstone in GIS (3 Hours)
  •  GEOG 6162:  Project Management (3 Hours)

Are these courses available online?

Not at this time.  However, the prerequisite courses GEOG 1180 Intro to Geo-Programming is available online.

Do I have to write a thesis?


I already have the GIS Certificate and have taken many of the classes listed above. Can I use those credits for the MSGIS?

If credits are used for a previous degree at the University of Utah, they cannot be reused for the MSGIS. Otherwise, a maximum of 6 undergraduate credits or 9 hours non-matriculated credit from the classes listed above, taken no more than three years prior to approval, may be transferred into the program.

Can I transfer credits into the program from a different institution?

Credits transferred from another institution may be used for only one degree. Up to six semester hours of transfer credit may be applied toward fulfillment of graduate degree requirements if they are of high letter grade (B or higher; 'credit only' grades are unacceptable), are found acceptable by the graduate committee, and were taken within three years of semester of admission to the University of Utah.

Last Updated: 4/22/24