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Geographic Information Science Course Descriptions

Master of Geographic Information Science

Kent States online Master of Geographic Information Science is designed for busy working professionals and students seeking a graduate education with the following features:

  • 32 credits: 4 core courses, 3 concentration courses and 2 elective courses
  • Courses last 7 weeks, with 2 courses taken sequentially each semester
  • Complete in as few as 5 semesters or 2 years
  • Multiple sections of each course are offered per semester to ensure small class sizes

Master's Courses

Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Geographic Information Science

Please note that in order to enroll in the certificate courses below, a student must possess a bachelors degree. Full course descriptions for each can be seen below.

Certificate Courses


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Once you are admitted to the program, your Admissions Advisor will craft your personalized degree plan, giving you a clear course sequence and path to graduation.

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Geographic Information Science—MGISc Course Descriptions

Required Courses (4 courses; 17 credits)

GEOG 59070 Geographic Information Science (4 credits)

Introduction to theories and methods for geographic data processing, including data capture and input, data storage and management, and data analysis and displays. Emphasis is on laboratory exercises using GIS software packages for real-world applications.

GEOG 59080 Advanced Geographic Information Science (3 credits)

Prerequisite: GEOG 49070 or 59070.

Advanced theories and techniques for handling geographic information systems, including 2D and 3D processing of geographic information, detection and analysis of geographic patterns, 2D and 3D mapping of geographic information, modeling of geographic processes and an overview of GIS programming tools.

GEOG 69164 Cartographic Design (4 credits)

Introduces students to the principles of map design and the art of map construction. Students will become familiar with the cartographic process, especially as they apply basic mapping concepts such as scale, projections, typography, generalization, symbols, color scheme and classification to the design and production of thematic maps. Students will also learn how to describe and manipulate spatial data and how to select an appropriate map type for a given task and data set. This course builds on students’ experiences with GIS to focus on the design needed to disseminate information beyond users of the software and produce effective print and web maps. Class exercises will provide hands-on experience in using GIS and graphic software packages. Principles and experiences learned in class will equip students with the fundamental skills necessary to effectively communicate graphic information through maps.

GEOG 69392 Practicum in Geographic Information Science (6 credits)

Prerequisites: GEOG 59070, GEOG 59080, GEOG 69164 and two additional graduate-level GEOG courses.

Culminating experience for students in the MGISc program. It will be taken in place of two carousel specialist courses on the schedule for the student’s final semester. It is designed to provide practical experience in the application of MGISc course content in real-world professional settings. Students will select a professional project in consultation with their employers and program faculty and then will design, implement and report on their activities in a culminating professional paper.


Required for Concentrations:

Cyber GISc (3 courses; 9 credits)

GEOG 59076 Spatial Programming (3 credits)

Prerequisite: GEOG 59070

Examination of the design, development and use of geographic information technologies with computer programming to model, process and visualize geographic phenomena.

GEOG 69082 Cyber GIS (3 credits)

Explores cyberinfrastructure-enabled geographic information systems (i.e. cyber GIS) and related technologies, including a broad introduction to the use, design and development of cyberinfrastructure, spatial data infrastructures, geographic information services and web-enabled mapping technologies. Situates cyber GIS in the broader context of geographic information science, focusing on how synthesizing computational thinking and spatial thinking influence methodological approaches.

GEOG 69083 Geodatabases (3 credits)

Prerequisite: GEOG 59070

Essential concepts and skills needed to efficiently create a geodatabase, add data to it and realistically model the real-world spatial relationships inherent to the data. Students will learn about geodatabase features that help ensure data integrity over time and about storing and managing geographic data.


Environmental GISc (3 courses; 9 credits)

GEOG 59078 Geographic Information Science and Environmental Hazards (3 credits)

Prerequisites: GEOG 49070 or 59070

The study and management of natural hazards are inherently reliant on both physical and human processes and spatial patterns. Given the many variables involved and the variety of scales at which they operate, use of geographic information systems (GIS) has become standard practice in research on hazards and in their management by government agencies at all levels. Exposes students to a wide array of spatial data that is used in these activities, as well as standard mapping and spatial analysis procedures and forms of data dissemination.

GEOG 69079 Environmental Geographic Information Science (3 credits)

Prerequisites: GEOG 59070

GPS and environmental spatial data are commonly used in a variety of management and assessment plans in fields related to environmental science to achieve effective decision-making and environmental resource management. This course will focus on techniques used to process, manage, visualize and analyze environmental data using GIS. Students will learn how to collect and process GPS and online sources of geospatial data and how to employ techniques such as suitability modeling, measuring distributions and calculating landscape metrics.

GEOG 69231 Environmental Remote Sensing (3 credits)

Introduction to the basic principles of environmental remote sensing, including the electromagnetic spectrum, spectral properties of Earth objects, aerial photograph analysis and interpretation, and satellite image analysis and interpretation. Special focus will be on environmental applications, especially as they pertain to understanding vegetation, water and land use mapping and impacts.


Health & GISc (3 courses; 9 credits)

GEOG 59072 Geographic Information Science and Health (3 credits)

Geographic theory and methods serve as the connection among disparate disciplines focused on how and why “health” varies between regions, cities and neighborhoods. Examines how geospatial technologies, especially GIS, have become an important health analysis tool.

GEOG 69073 Geographic Information Science: Global Health (3 credits)

Emerging and re-emerging diseases in non-developed countries pose one of the greatest health challenges of current times. Geospatial approaches often provide one of the only information sources in data poor and challenging environments. This course will expose students to these health issues and disease environments through varied case studies, while simultaneously highlighting the geospatial methods and approaches used to understand and combat disease.

GEOG 69074 Geographic Information Science: Spatial Analysis for Health Geography (3 credits)

Prerequisites: GEOG 59070 or GEOG 59072

Spatial analysis is used to verify patterns and associations in health data maps. These results can then be used to further hone the scientific question or help design an intervention strategy. This course will introduce spatial analytical approaches used by health researchers and practitioners in the exploratory investigation of health data. Students will also be exposed to new mobile technologies that can be used to enrich more traditional spatial data sources.


Elective Courses (2 courses; minimum 6 credits)

Students in the Cyber GISc, Environmental GISc and Health & GISc concentrations may choose classes outside of their concentration areas as elective options. Additional course options may be available at the department’s discretion.


BST 52019 Biostatistics in Public Health (4 credits)

Provides students with an understanding of basic statistical methods in public health research, as well as the skills to perform and interpret basic statistical procedures. Students learn how to use statistical analysis software to analyze real data from public health-related studies. They then learn how to interpret the analysis and present the results to public health professionals and educated lay audiences. Includes a lab component, which enhances student awareness and informed usage of SAS for public health analysis. Students learn how to input, read, store, export and modify data in SAS and be able to use common SAS procedures to analyze public health data and conduct independent SAS programming.

CS 61002 Algorithms and Programming I (4 credits)

An introduction to the algorithms and tools used in computer science; includes programming in a high-level language.

CS 61003 Algorithms and Programming II (4 credits)

Further exploration into the tools used in computer science.

DSCI 64010 Data Architecture (3 credits)

Prerequisite: DSCI 61010

Introduction to the concept of data and information architecture as a component of enterprise architecture. Students learn how to distinguish types of data, develop conceptual and logical data models, trace and map the use of data types across business capabilities, roles and applications, and prepare an enterprise-level data dictionary. Students learn how to work with enterprise data architecture artifacts as they develop an enterprise information architecture blueprint.

DSCI 64210 Data Science (3 credits)*

Introduction to the concept of big data and data analytics, including the business challenges of working with big data. Students are introduced to the concepts of both structured and unstructured data. Fundamental concepts include data design and management, database design and management, data driven programming and discovery, and data presentation and use. Data analytics in industry verticals are discussed, including science, intelligence and law enforcement, health, retail and financial services.

*Note: This course is offered in a 15-week format only.

GEOG 59075 Geographic Information Science: Urban and Economic Applications (3 credits)

Prerequisites: GEOG 49070 or 59070

Urban and economic applications and analyses of spatial data, especially theoretical and conceptual issues, including the possibilities and concerns associated with GIS, ethical considerations, and the various forms of data collection, visualization, analysis and dissemination.

GEOG 69004 Quantitative Methods in Geography (3 credits)

Explores the methods and applications of some of the most common statistics found in geographic work. It explores probability theory, spatial statistics, estimation procedures, hypothesis testing, spatial sampling, methods of areal association, correlation and regression analysis, and principal components analysis. Theory and execution of these methods are equally emphasized, and applications to geographic problems are examined within each theme.

GEOG 69007 Spatiotemporal Analytics (3 credits)

Prerequisite: GEOG 59070

Equips students with essential spatiotemporal thinking and technical skills in mapping, analyzing, visualizing, communicating and simulating the spatiotemporal data. ArcGIS and free packages in R and Netlogo will be used in the instruction.

SBS 50002 Quantitative Methods in Social and Behavioral Sciences (3 credits)

Prerequisite: BST 52019

Introduces basic quantitative methods used in social and behavioral scientific research. First, we focus on the measurement of socio-behavioral phenomena and the relationship between measurement and statistics. Next, we examine the interrelated roles of scientific theory and the design of socio-behavioral research studies. Last, we focus on building appropriate multiple linear regression and/or analysis of variance statistical models to provide valid analysis of data collected in socio-behavioral research.

SBS 50020 Social and Behavioral Science Theories (3 credits)

Examines fundamental social and behavioral science theoretical frameworks that explain health behaviors with an emphasis on application through universal prevention approaches to inform both research and program evaluation designs.

SBS 54634 Social Determinants of Health Behaviors (3 credits)

Overviews the social determinants of health and the dynamic interplay between individual behaviors and community structures (systems orientation), including public policy, social and built environments, commercial messages, access to services, cultural norms, psychosocial hazards, and poverty both as causal effects that either provide opportunity or constraints to health. Also examines systems approaches to preventing public health threats from issues including substance use (alcohol, tobacco and other drugs), physical inactivity, poor dietary practices, unsafe sexual behaviors, violence and injury, and mental health.

Geographic Information Science—Postbaccalaureate Certificate Courses

Please note that in order to enroll in the certificate courses below, a student must possess a bachelor’s degree. Full course descriptions for each can be seen above.


Postbaccalaureate Certificate in General GISc

The Postbaccalaureate Certificate in General GISc requires a minimum of 14 credits or 3 required courses and 1 additional course from the elective pool or concentration areas above:

  • GEOG 59070 Geographic Information Science (4 credits)
  • GEOG 59080 Advanced Geographic Information Science (3 credits)
  • GEOG 69164 Cartographic Design (4 credits)

Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Cyber GISc

Choose a minimum of 15 credits from the following courses:*

  • CS 61002 Algorithms and Programming I (4 credits)
  • DSCI 64210 Data Science (3 credits)
  • GEOG 59076 Spatial Programming (3 credits)
  • GEOG 69007 Spatiotemporal Analytics (3 credits)
  • GEOG 69082 Cyber GIS (3 credits)
  • GEOG 69083 Geodatabases (3 credits)
  • GEOG 69164 Cartographic Design (4 credits)

*NOTE: Additional course options may be available at the department’s discretion.


Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Environmental GISc

Choose a minimum of 15 credits from the following courses:*

  • GEOG 59072 Geographic Information Science and Health (3 credits)
  • GEOG 59078 Geographic Information Science and Environmental Hazards (3 credits)
  • GEOG 69004 Quantitative Methods in Geography (3 credits)
  • GEOG 69079 Environmental Geographic Information Science (3 credits)
  • GEOG 69083 Geodatabases (3 credits)
  • GEOG 69164 Cartographic Design (4 credits)
  • GEOG 69231 Environmental Remote Sensing (3 credits)

*NOTE: Additional course options may be available at the department’s discretion.

Technology Requirements

Courses are delivered through our course management system, Blackboard Learn. Course content consists of text, narrated PowerPoint presentations, video and audio, live chats, discussion groups, and other learning enhancements.

To participate in this online program, you will need a computer and broadband Internet connection. Your program may have further requirements that include the ability to record video and audio. If you have questions regarding technology requirements for the program, please contact your Admissions Advisor at onlinedegrees@kent.edu or toll-free at +1 844-234-4073.

Meet the faculty

Download Our Brochure

By clicking "Get Brochure,” I agree to provide the contact information listed above for the purpose of receiving communications regarding educational programs and opportunities.