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Master of Science in Geospatial Information Sciences

The program is offered through the Department of Geographical Sciences in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences. Geospatial Information Sciences provides the most up-to-date education on geospatial technology, theory and applications.  

Mentoring and advising are an essential part of the program. Students meet with faculty and the academic program director to ensure that educational goals and career learning and development goals are met. Students should contact Kristen Halliday, Assistant Director, via email:


The Master of Science in Geospatial Information Sciences has a 30-credit, 10-course curriculum that focuses on remote sensing, statistics, and computing. 

  • Offered in person (major code GEIS) or online (major code GISO). The curriculum is identical in each delivery format.
  • Topics cover spatial analysis, spatial statistics, programming and scripting, spatial databases, GIS modeling, remote sensing, Internet GIS, Mobile GIS, Big Data, and Open Source GIS. 
  • Provides an advanced education and training of the most up-to-date knowledge and skills of geospatial technology including GIS, remote sensing, and computing.
  • Employers recognize the demand for well-trained GIS professionals who can apply concepts and practices of GIS application development on web and mobile platforms. GIS is a software application system that has a wide range of application areas such as transportation logistics, network analysis, emergency management, urban planning, and environmental research.
  • Program can be completed in fifteen months of full-time enrollment. Part-time enrollment is welcome. See Designation of Full-time/Part-time Status.

Program Features

Courses cover:

  • Concepts and practices of geographic information systems (GIS).
  • Concepts and practices of remote sensing.
  • Concepts and issues related to modeling and simulation in the GIS context.
  • Concepts and practices of GIS application development on Web and mobile platforms.
  • Scripting and object-oriented programming with Python.

GEOG797: Professional Project (core course)

  • A faculty-advised independent research project. 
  • Students demonstrate problem-solving and critical thinking in one or more of the technical areas within the GIS domain. 
  • Students also take the initiative in planning and organizing this project, demonstrating effective communication in writing and through the capstone project presentation.

Geospatial Information Sciences offers an in-person option with classes held at the UMD College Park campus and a 100% online option for each program. (Remote Sensing is the exception). Depending on the specific subject area, the curriculum is identical for each delivery option.


Below is a listing of all program courses. For a detailed course description that includes pre-requisites or co-requisites, see The Graduate School Catalog, Course Listing as follows: GEOG Course Descriptions 

Type Course Number Title
Elective GEOG646 Intro to Programming for GIS
Elective GEOG651 Spatial Statistics
Core GEOG652 Digital Image Processing and Analysis
Core GEOG653 Spatial Analysis
Elective GEOG654 GIS and Spatial Modeling
Core GEOG655 Spatial Database System
Core GEOG656 Programming and Scripting for GIS
Elective GEOG657 Web Programming
Elective GEOG660 Advanced Remote Sensing using Lidar
Elective GEOG661 Fundamentals of Geospatial Intelligence
Elective GEOG663 Big Data Analytics
Elective GEOG666 Drones for Data Collection
Elective GEOG670 Open Source GIS
Core GEOG677 Web GIS
Core GEOG797 Capstone - Professional Project

Plan of study includes six 3-credit core courses (18 credits) and four 3-credit electives (12 credits).

Registration Overview

  • See the sample plan of study, below. Students should use this as a guide to develop a plan with the academic program director.  
  • Actual course offerings are determined by the program and may vary semester to semester. Students should note if a course has a pre-requisite or co-requisite. 
  • Specific class meeting information (days and time) is posted on UMD’s interactive web service services, Testudo. Once on that site, select “Schedule of Classes,” then the term/year. Courses are listed by academic unit.  
  • Due to visa requirements, international students admitted into the in-person learning option (major code GEIS) are required to register for on-campus sections and attend lectures in-person.
  • The program uses specific section codes for registration, which are listed on the sample plan of study.

Sample Plan, Fall Admission 

Term Year Course Number In Person Section Code Online Section Code Credits
I (fall) 1 GEOG652 PGS* PLG* 3
I (fall) 1 GEOG653 PGS* PLG* 3
II (winter) 1 GEOG655 PGS* PLG* 3
II (winter) 1 GEOG*** PGS* PLG* 3
III (spring) 1 GEOG677 PGS* PLG* 3
III (spring) 1 GEOG*** PGS* PLG* 3
IV (summer) 1 GEOG656 PGS* PLG* 3
IV (summer) 1 GEOG*** PGS* PLG* 3
I (fall) 2 GEOG797 PGS* PLG* 3
I (fall) 2 GEOG*** PGS* PLG* 3

Sample Plan, Spring Admission

Term Year Course Number In Person Section Code Online Section Code Credits
III (spring) 1 GEOG653 PGS* PLG* 3
III (spring) 1 GEOG*** PGS* PLG* 3
IV (summer) 1 GEOG656 PGS* PLG* 3
IV (summer) 1 GEOG*** PGS* PLG* 3
I (fall) 1 GEOG652 PGS* PLG* 3
I (fall) 1 GEOG*** PGS* PLG* 3
II (winter) 1 GEOG655 PGS* PLG* 3
II (winter) 1 GEOG*** PGS* PLG* 3
III (spring) 2 GEOG797 PGS* PLG* 3
III (spring) 2 GEOG*** PGS* PLG* 3


  • Program offers two learning options: in person (major code GEIS) or online (major code GISO). The curriculum is identical in each delivery format.
  • Uses the term academic calendar with classes held each 12-week term: I (fall), II (winter), III (spring), IV (summer).
  • Classes are held weekday evenings (e.g., after 5:00 p.m.) to accommodate the working professional’s schedule
  • Instruction provided by University of Maryland faculty and professionals in the field. 

In-Person Learning 

  • Classes meet in UMD College Park campus classrooms, offering a focused, distraction-free learning environment. 
  • Instructors present dynamic and interactive seminar-style instruction.
  • Lectures are video archived. Students who are unable to attend a class session can review the session at their convenience.
  • Students enrolled in a program that features in-person instruction are required to submit the University’s Immunization Record Form prior to the first day of their first semester/term. See Health Requirements

Online Learning

  • Using advanced audio and video technology, UMD’s online learning environment delivers dynamic and interactive content. 
  • Featuring convenience and flexibility, online instruction permits asynchronous or synchronous participation.
  • Lectures are video archived. Students who are unable to attend in real time can review the session through asynchronous participation.

Upon successful completion, graduates will have mastered the following competencies:

  • Understand the big picture of geospatial technology as a disciplinary field, with a good understanding of its history, current state, and future development trend.
  • Grasp of the connections between different geospatial technology components such as GIS, remote sensing, computing, and emerging software and hardware options, e.g. drones and artificial intelligence.
  • Develop a good understanding of how geospatial technology is applied to real-world problems.
  • Develop proficiency in the following specific knowledge and skills: 
    • Collection, processing, analysis, modeling and visualization of spatial data
    • Interpretation, analysis, design and implementation of spatial databases
    • Processing and analysis of digital images
    • Development of mobile GIS and native apps across mobile platforms (Android, iOS, etc.)
    • Interpretation and design of clearly structured programs using Python
    • Development of client-side and server-side Web applications for non-GIS applications
    • Creation, analysis, and dissemination of GIS data and services via the Web using [various technologies]
    • Spatial analysis, including enterprise GIS, spatial SQL, parallel processing, and display of GIS results on Internet, through open use of open-source software
    • Development of applications of experimental semivariograms, semivariogram models, kriging, cross validation, spatial sampling, and spatiotemporal pattern analysis
    • Analysis of big data with high pe1formance computing, especially spatial data in large volume and high velocity
  • Develop analytic thinking and real-world problem solving for future success in the workforce. Skills include · but are not limited to interpersonal communications and teamwork, creative and critical thinking, occupational planning and organizing, problem-solving and decision making.
  • Design and develop a comprehensive and in-depth GIS project.
  • Comprehend and apply ethical issues in geospatial practice and research, including ethical standards to protect data privacy, security, and copyright, among others.
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