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Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis M.S.

May 13, 2024

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Online Courses

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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 and Sciences, 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.

Woman drawing topographic lines with with a marker.

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.

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Thank you for your interest in the Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis M.S. program at West Virginia University! Attend a Virtual Information Session and learn more about the Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis M.S. program.

Register for June 12

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Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis M.S. Admission Requirements

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 July 15
  • The deadline for Spring semester admission is October 15
  • The deadline for summer term is March 15
  • 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 applications received after the deadlines on a space-available basis.

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Tuition, Fees, and Financial Aid

WVU provides a comprehensive approach to helping you finance your education. Learn more by visiting the Student Financial Services website.

Students are encouraged to:

  • File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form by the June 30, 2024 deadline to determine their eligibility for federal and state funds as well as scholarships. WVU’s FAFSA Code is 003827; and
  • Check with your employer to see if they provide financial support for earning your graduate degree.

Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis M.S. total degree cost: $20,956 – Residents and Non-Residents

Tuition and fees are usually not the only educational expenses you may have while pursuing a degree. You may have other costs such as books, supplies and living expenses. Please see the Estimate Costs and Aid webpage for how to estimate and plan for other potential expenses.

The future in GIS and Spatial Analysis

Geospatial professionals are in high demand within local government, state and federal agencies, consulting companies, technology companies, and institutions of higher education.

The Benefits of choosing our program

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.

Career Outlook for GIS and Spatial Analysis graduates

GIS specialists can find job opportunities in various fields due to the global use of GIS technologies. Traditionally, GIS careers were available in urban planning, environmental sciences, public utilities, government, military, and resource management. However, newer opportunities in agriculture, real estate, gaming and app development, public health, climate science, and conservation have emerged.

Credit Hours: Students must complete 31 hours of coursework, including a minimum of 3 credits in Resource Management.

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

Graduation Requirement: In addition to completing the required coursework, students must complete a graduation project. This may include a written report or deliverables/products, such as data, software, maps, web maps, code, and/or web apps. An oral defense of the work is not required.

Note: Certificate students who have completed RESM 585: GIS and Spatial Analysis Project, must complete a new project and register for Geography 797: Research.

Core Courses

Course Title Credit Hours
GEOG 550 Geographic Information Science 4
GEOG 797 Research 6

Select two of the following:

Course Title Credit Hours
GEOG 651 Geographic Information Science: Technical Issues 3
GEOG 655 Remote Sensing Principles 3
RESM 540 Geospatial Modeling 3

Electives: 16 Credit Hours

Course Title Credit Hours
GEOG 462 Digital Cartography 3
GEOG 651 Geographic Information Science: Technical Issues 3
GEOG 654 Environmental Geographic Information Systems Modeling 3
GEOG 655 Remote Sensing Principles 3
GEOG 657 Open-Source Spatial Analytics 3
RESM 540 Geospatial Modeling 3
RESM 545 Spatial Hydrology and Watershed Analysis 3
RESM 575 Spatial Analysis for Resource Management 3

Total Hours: 31

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some popular GIS Careers?

Due to the growing trend of using location intelligence to enhance decision-making, organizations worldwide are increasingly dependent on GIS. This has created a higher demand for GIS careers than ever before. GIS professionals, armed with spatial analysis and data visualization expertise, are now eligible for job opportunities in a vast array of fields that could include the following careers: Climate Scientist, Conservationist, Forester, GIS Manager, Health Geographer, Helicopter Firefighter, or an App Developer.

What can I expect to earn with my GIS and Spatial Analysis degree?

Graduates of GIS and Spatial Analysis can expect varying salaries due to the diverse pay scale in the field. Holding a master's degree can result in a median salary increase of approximately 10%.

How long will it take to earn this degree?

The time for completion of the GIS AND Spatial Analysis degree is two years or four semesters.

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