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Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis M.S.

Aug. 17, 2022

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Curriculum developed and taught by faculty from

Eberly College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Awarded: Master of Science in Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis

Become a Professional in a High-Growth Industry

The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Spatial Analysis M.S. degree, offered by WVU’s Eberly College of Arts, with support from other programs across campus, is the first of its kind in West Virginia. There is an increasing demand for professionals trained in geospatial technologies, and WVU is answering the call with a program that incorporates predictive modeling, technical issues, programming, spatial hydrology, remote sensing, data science and analytics, machine learning, and applications in the environmental and health sciences. It is ideal for graduate students, recent college graduates, and working professionals who desire advanced training in this high-growth industry and who would like to explore a wide variety of topics and skills.

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Learning Formats

Online Courses

Start Date

August 17, 2022

Meet Gary Phillips

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Phone: (304) 293-0915
Virtual Session: Schedule a virtual session with me.

“Being a WVU graduate and a first-generation college student, I’m happy to be back to help you navigate the WVU System. Something WVU Online wants to do is assist you in creating your sense of community and continuity, making sure you have the answers to any and all questions.”

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Program Details

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This program is a fully online Master of Science (MS) in Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis led by the Department of Geology and Geography in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences at West Virginia University, with support from other programs across campus. The program is designed for individuals who would like to enter the geospatial workforce or advance within it. It is appropriate for recent college graduates, individuals interested in a career transition, or those hoping to advance within the field. The time for completion of the degree is two years or four semesters.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected a 15% growth rate for cartographer and photogrammetrist careers over the next ten years, which is much faster than average. Geospatial professionals are in high demand within local government, state and federal agencies, consulting companies, technology companies, and institutions of higher education.

Coursework and the required professional project explore a wide variety of topics and skills of value in the growing GIS and geospatial disciplines including: geo-visualization; web GIS; spatial analysis, data science, and analytics; geo-computation; remote sensing; machine learning and deep learning; and applications in the environmental and health sciences. A bachelor’s degree is required to apply to the program, but no prior experience or training in GIS or geospatial data science is necessary. This program makes use of a variety of commercial and open-source software tools, including ArcGIS Pro, ArcGIS Online, QGIS, Python, and R. It has a strong focus in spatial problem solving. The program objectives are as follows:

  1. Design, execute, and defend a professional project that effectively addresses a need, problem, or research question with a spatial component.
  2. Collect, create, use, and manage data to address a spatial problem.
  3. Apply a variety of spatial analysis, quantitative analysis, remote sensing, computational, and spatial programming techniques to investigate a problem that has a spatial component.
  4. Critique and compare a variety of spatial analysis and quantitative analysis techniques to solve a problem.
  5. Make recommendations as to the best data and methods for investigating a question with a spatial component.
  6. Construct multi-part and complex analyses to address a question or problem.
  7. Produce written reports that effectively communicate the methods and results of an analysis.
  8. Design and create maps and graphics that effectively communicate findings and data.


The program features 8-week courses. Student complete 16 hours of core courses and 15 hours of electives for a total of 31 credit hours of coursework, including a minimum of 3 credits in Resource Management.

Students must earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75, and a GPA of 3.00 in all courses applied to the graduate program.

In addition to completing the required coursework, students will be required to complete a professional project. This may include a written report or deliverables or products, such as software, maps, web maps, code, and/or web apps. Students will learn to collect, create, use, and manage geospatial data, as these are central skills necessary for all geospatial professionals.

Curriculum Program Website


All applicants must meet WVU’s general admission requirements, in addition to the following:

  • Possess a baccalaureate degree from a college or university;
  • Have a grade point average of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale (or an average of 3.0 or higher for the last sixty credit hours);
  • Apply with the online Graduate Application;
  • Pay graduate application fee;
  • Provide three letters of reference from persons acquainted with the applicant’s professional work, experience, or academic background;
  • Submit resume or curriculum vitae;
  • Submit a written statement of 500 words or more indicating the applicant’s goals and objectives relative to receiving a graduate degree;
  • Request official transcripts from all institutions attended (other than WVU) and send to:
    WVU Office of Graduate Admissions,
    One Waterfront Place,
    PO Box 6510,
    Morgantown, WV 26506-6510,
    or electronically sent to

The GRE is not required for admission.

International students have the additional requirement to submit a minimum score of 550 on the paper TOEFL examination or 213 on the electronic TOEFL examination if their native language is not English.

Application Deadlines:

The Master of Science (MS) in Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis program admits students for all semesters.

  • The deadline for Fall semester admission is January 15th
  • The deadline for the Summer term is March 15th
  • The deadline for Spring semester admissions is October 1st
  • All application materials, including completed recommendation letters, must be submitted by the deadline in order to ensure full consideration
  • In exceptional circumstances, we will review applicants received after the January 15th and October 1st deadlines on space-available basis.


  • Introductory level knowledge of computer science and use. No specific course or level of experience is required, but the expectation is a level of competence with computer use and experience with applications involving word processing, spreadsheets, etc.
  • Knowledge of statistics (comparable in content to STAT 211 Elementary Statistical Inference or ECON 425 Introductory Econometrics at WVU).
  • An introductory GIS class focusing on theory, applications, and GIS computer-based software competency (comparable in content to RESM 440 Foundations of Applied GIS or GEOG 350 Geographic Info Science at WVU).

Program Admissions Details

Estimated Tuition and Fees

Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis M.S. requires 31 credit hours to complete. Cost per credit to be determined.

Total Degree Cost

To be determined.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available. Students are encouraged to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to determine their eligibility for federal and state funds as well as scholarships. WVU’s FAFSA Code is 003827.

Career Paths

Students who graduate from WVU Online with the Master of Science in GIS and Spatial Analysis may be prepared for the following careers. These are only a few examples of some of the many opportunities that will be open to you with this degree. Advanced degrees or certifications may be required for some positions.

Geographic Information Systems Technologist
Projected Growth: 5-7% *Bright Outlook

Remote Sensing Technologist
Projected Growth: 5-7% *Bright Outlook

Urban and Regional Planner
Projected Growth: 8% or higher *Bright Outlook

Cartographers and Photogrammetrists
Projected Growth: 5-7% *Bright Outlook

Geography Teacher
Projected Growth: 3-4%

Network and Computer Systems Administrator
Projected Growth: 3-4%

Information about careers on this list comes from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA).

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