Dec 07, 2022  
2016-2017 SGPP Catalog and Handbook 
2016-2017 SGPP Catalog and Handbook [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Geographic Information Science, M.S.

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The Master of Science in Geographic Information Science (M.S. GIS) is a technology-enriched 39-credit graduate degree offered in both Winona, Minnesota and Minneapolis, Minnesota campuses. The degree is intended to prepare learners with robust knowledge of cutting-edge geospatial technology, research, and contextual applications to help meet increasing workplace demands for efficient technology use and geospatial decision making.

Learners are exposed to the latest software, technology, and resources for applied geographic information systems (GIS) and related technologies in fields such as natural resources, business intelligence, emergency management, surveying, urban planning, programming, public safety, and project management. In addition, experiences are enhanced by enveloping theory, research, law, and grant writing around the core emphasis of the degree. The principle focus of the degree is rooted strongly in science and technology applications whereby learners expand their knowledge of the latest in geospatial data development, analysis, and data evaluation.

The program is structured to help maximize all experience levels and backgrounds – whether a person has a rich background in GIS or is completely new to the field. With geospatial technology’s ability to be applied to limitless fields and its increasing demand as a current and emerging career, it is a valuable science to possess within the digital technology era. 

Program Outcomes

Graduates of the Master of Science in Geographic Information Science program are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Use and analyze geospatial data.
  2. Demonstrate proficiency in data collection and database administration.
  3. Develop custom applications and scripts to optimize GIS functionality. 
  4. Engage in complex critical thinking.
  5. Design effective research and communication.
  6. Plan and implement processes for managing technical projects.
  7. Evaluate ethical and legal implications of decision making.

Program Structure and Delivery

The degree, comprised of 38 credits, is offered at both the Winona and Minneapolis campuses. Courses are delivered in the blended format, integrating face-to-face classroom meetings and online activities or interactions in a planned, instructionally valuable manner.

Degree Requirements

Required Foundation Course 3 cr.
Required Technology Courses 18 cr.
Required Research and Management Courses 15 cr.
Contextual Application Elective Courses 3 cr.
Total 39 cr.


The faculty members for this program have earned doctorate or master’s degrees. Faculty are selected for their combination of educational and professional experience and expertise.

Admission Requirements

Applicants may apply for admission to master’s degree programs at any time during the year. Applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution and maintained an overall grade point average of 2.75 on a 4.00 scale. Applicants must demonstrate the language proficiency necessary for successful graduate coursework. Applicants must complete an interview with a program administrator as part of the admission process.

Application Process

Applicants must submit:

  1. Completed application form with the nonrefundable application fee (fee not required for alumni or students seeking readmission or veterans and active military personnel), and
  2. An official transcript issued to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota from the institution posting the applicant’s completed bachelor degree and other relevant transcripts documenting program prerequisites and potential transfer credits. (An official transcript is one that is sent to the university by the credit-granting institution. Transcripts from countries other than the U.S. must be evaluated by a university accepted evaluation source, such as World Education Services, Educational Credential Evaluators, Educational Perspectives, or One Earth International Credential Evaluators and be deemed equivalent to accredited U.S. university standards).
  3. A personal statement which includes:
    1. brief description of the applicant’s background, training, and experience and
    2. statement indicating the career goals of the applicant and his or her reasons for seeking admission to the program and,
    3. description of the areas the applicant considers to be his or her strengths and areas in which the applicant wishes to develop greater strengths and abilities and,
    4. personal information the applicant wishes to share.
  4. Letter(s) of recommendation that verify professional and/or volunteer experience and academic ability and
  5. A current résumé listing educational background and work experience.
  6. Applicants with international transcripts may require an English language proficiency exam (TOEFL, IELTS, PTE or MELAB accepted.)

Please Note: Application materials should be sent to the attention of the GIS Program Office on the Twin Cities Campus.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Office of Admission
Twin Cities Campus
2500 Park Avenue
Minneapolis, MN  55404-4403
Toll-free 1-866-437-2788
Fax 612-728-5121

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