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Graduate Programs

Build your future with the academic experiences offered through the CMU Department of Geography and Environmental Studies Graduate Program:

  • Master of Science in Geographic Information Sciences (M.S. GISci)
You'll have opportunities to apply your knowledge and skills to meaningful research projects, work in world-class facilities, and closely interact with distinguished professors.

The M.S. program in Geographic Information Sciences (M.S. GISci) provides students with high-quality training in a cutting-edge field combining geography, information science, statistics, remote sensing and environmental studies. The wide diversity of faculty expertise in the program enables students to pursue their own research by applying geospatial technologies (GIS, spatial statistics, cartography, unmanned aerial systems, remote sensing) to their area of interest. Research strengths within the Department include surface hydrology, atmospheric modelling, cultural and natural resource management, demography, historical change, location analysis, transportation/land use planning, and regional economics. Program graduates are highly competitive in the job market and most graduates have obtained high-quality jobs upon graduation or continued on to pursue a doctorate.

The Department has a variety of equipment and software to support research including survey-grade GPS, environmental data loggers with GPS, UAVs for mapping and remote sensing, specialized GIS and remote sensing software (e.g. ArcGIS and e-cognition) and infrastructure for computation of large datasets.

All applicants must submit scores for the general GRE. To receive full consideration for financial support beginning in a fall semester, all application materials must be received in the Department of Geography no later than March 15. Applications can be submitted throughout the year, but likely will not be considered for funding until the following fall semester. Applicants should allow approximately one month for materials submitted to the College of Graduate Studies to be processed and forwarded to the Department.

Students entering the M.S. GISci program are required to have a sound knowledge of the fundamental concepts of cartography, GIS, and remote sensing. It is also expected that M.S. GISci students have a basic knowledge of a computer language as well as statistics as these are skills necessary to understand, manipulate, and develop the analytical methods and algorithms that are the foundations of advance training in Geographic Information Science. A minimum 3.0 GPA in the student's undergraduate major is required.

Minimum credit hours  for graduation:  33 credit hours

This program is available through a Plan A option (thesis) or Plan B option (non-thesis). Under Plan A, six credits of thesis work (GEO 798) are required. Under Plan B, three credits of a directed research project (GEO 797) are required. The thesis or the research project must apply GISci techniques to economic, environmental or other problems that require spatial data analysis. Regardless of Plan, all graduate students are encouraged to present at state and national meetings and publish their research in peer review journals.  

  • Computer Programming
    • One course in a current programming language (CMU equivalent: CPS 110 or CPS 180) with a minimum grade of B.
  • Statistics
    • One course in Statistics (CMU equivalent: STA 282 or STA 382).
  • Fundamental Courses in Geographic Information Sciences
    • At least one course in Introductory Geographic Information Technologies (CMU equivalent: GEO 203QR), one course in Introductory Geographic Information Systems (CMU equivalent: GEO 303), and one course in Introductory Remote Sensing (CMU equivalent: GEO 305/308). Minimum grade of B in each.
The program provides a number of teaching and research assistantships for qualified students.  The most qualified students in the program generally receive support as a teaching or research assistant. 
The CMU M. S. GISci application is a self-managed application. There are two application forms: one for the Department of Geography and an online form for the College of Graduate Studies at CMU. You must complete both application forms.

Applications for admission to the graduate program in geography can be found at the  College of Graduate Studies website.

Undergraduate students majoring in Geography with a Concentration in Geographic Information Science can complete select requirements for the Master of Science degree in Geographic Information Science while still fulfilling the requirements for their Bachelor's degree. The Accelerated Master's Degree Program (AMDP) allows students to reduce the total number of credits to complete their undergraduate and graduate level degrees by applying up to 12 credits of 500 level courses towards the graduate requirements on both degree programs.

Application Information for the Accelerated M.S. in GISci

Students must have an overall undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.25 and have completed a minimum of 86 credits towards a Bachelor's degree, including all University Program requirements (including transfer and/or AP credits) the semester that they apply for admission to the Accelerated M.S. program in Geographic Information Science.

Students must also satisfy all other requirements for regular admission to the M.S. program in Geographic Information Science to be eligible for the accelerated program, including the completion of GEO 203QR, 303 and 305/308, STA 382 and CPS 110 or 180.

During the fourth year, students will complete a maximum of 12 credits of course work that will be counted towards both their undergraduate and graduate degrees.

The student is responsible for fulfilling all of the requirements of the undergraduate degree and, therefore, additional credits may need to be taken to complete the Bachelor of Science degree requirements during the fourth year.

Read all instructions carefully. Please note that the CMU M. S. GISci application is a self-managed application. There are two application forms: one for the Department of Geography and an online form for the College of Graduate Studies at CMU. You must complete both application forms.

  • All application materials must be returned to the College of Graduate Studies in the same envelope. In the lower left corner of your envelope, write the following:

                    Program Name

  • Mail all materials together to:

                    College of Graduate Studies
                          Applications Processing
                          802 Industrial Drive
                          Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858
                          Phone:  989-774-4444

Be sure to use enough postage!

CMU is an AA/EO institution, providing equal opportunity to all persons, including minorities, females, veterans, and individuals with disabilities.
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