Master of Geographic Information Science

Program Information 

The Master of Geographic Information Science (MGIS) is a professional program that will provide current and cutting-edge education in Geographic Information Science and related technologies, and train students to work as GIS specialists and managers. A strong foundation in core geospatial principles will be provided, as well as interdisciplinary study in statistics, communications, environmental policy, and business. 

The degree is designed as a 30 credit coursework-only degree and will also be offered as an accelerated Master’s program to Michigan Technological University students. The accelerated program provides the opportunity for Michigan Tech students to complete the MGIS with 24 credits beyond their undergraduate degree.

The Geospatial Job Market 

Geospatial jobs are in high demand, have exhibited continued growth even during the recent recession and were recently listed among the 100 best careers in the United States. Geospatial training has been targeted by the U.S. Department of Labor for a high growth job training initiative, as it is a field that is expanding at a rate of 10% annually with a projected shortfall of skilled workers . Those with geospatial skills are included in a recent McKinsey Global Institute report on workers with “big data” expertise. Both analysts and managers are identified, with a potential deficit of 190,000 workers by 2018.

Uses of geospatial technology are broad and cross many disciplines, including demographics, natural resources, urban and regional planning, public health and epidemiology, law enforcement, and homeland security. The classification of geospatial jobs has been inconsistent because GIS has many applications and is utilized in multiple fields. GIS positions are often associated and combined with Information Technology because GIS deals so intimately with computers and data. Though IT experience is useful for GIS users, a wide range of skills in addition to computer literacy are required to be a successful geospatial professional. To address these shortcomings, and with prompting from both industry and the education sector, the U.S. Department of Labor has recently developed the Geospatial Technology Competency Model. The model document outlines the knowledge and skills necessary to perform as an effective GIS professional, and was used as a guide in developing this degree program.