Bachelor of Science in Geographic Information Science

General

Program Description

Geographic Information Science is designed to serve students who wish to prepare for careers in the more technical aspects of applied geography, including the fields of geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, computer cartography, city and/or regional planning, economic geography, resource utilization, and land use analysis. The option in Geographic Information Science also provides preparation for graduate study in geography leading to careers in applied geography or for research and teaching at the collegiate level.

Prospective Students

Geographers get jobs.

Graduates of our program go on to careers with private companies, government agencies, or pursue a higher degree in graduate school. A recently hired student from our program testifies, "what you are learning in class is exactly what you'll be doing in a job." With a degree in geography from UNA, you'll be highly qualified to pursue your career path: our degree concentrations emphasize collaboration through teamwork, hands-on learning with the latest GIS and remote sensing software and technology, outside the classroom learning opportunities through study abroad and field courses, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and independent and guided research alongside our outstanding faculty.

Surprised to hear that geography is more than memorizing states and capitals or that an incredible array of career opportunities exist in the field of geography? Here is some data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that shows how lucrative the market is for geographers.

Alumni from the Department of Geography at UNA go on to big things like CEO and founder of a GIS consulting group, Senior Vice President of a GIS consulting group, assistant professor of geography, urban planner of a local municipality, planning director of a local municipality, GIS specialist with an environmental group, state GPS sales representative with a state government, a viticulturist with a wine-producing company, offshore survey tech with an oil consulting group, and many others. Our program has a job placement rate of around 90% for our graduates.

Degree Requirements

General Education Component -
Area I (Written Composition) 6
Area II (Humanities and Fine Arts) 12
Area III (Natural Sciences and Mathematics) 11
Area IV (History, Social and Behavioral Sciences) 12
Area V -
Major Core Requirements in Geographic Information Science -
GE 102 Global Environments and Societies 1  (3)
GE 111 Physical Geography: Weather and Climate 1 (4)
or GE 111H Honors Physical Geography: Weather and Climate 
GE 112 Physical Geography-Landforms 1 (4)
or GE 112H Honors Physical Geography: Landforms
GE 184 Digital Earth (3)
GE 260 People, Place, and Culture (3)
GE 300W Geographic Exploration (3)
GE 325 Cartography and Visualization (3)
GE 384 Geographic Information Systems (4)
GE 415 Quantitative Methods in Geography (3)
Select one course from Regional Geography 3
Experiential Learning 3
-
Prescribed Supporting Courses -
Select one Microcomputer Course 2 3
Select one Statistics Course 3
Required Techniques Courses -
GE 224 Field Methods and Technology in Geography (3)
GE 354 Remote Sensing (4)
GE 454 Advanced Remote Sensing (3)
GE 464 GIS Programming (3)
GE 484 Advanced GIS (3)
Select two Techniques Electives (from list of three below) 6
GE 474
Web GIS
GE 485
GIS Applications
GE 487
Geography Capstone Project
Select one Database Management Course 3
Select 9 hours of additional course work either geography or related course work recommended by the academic advisor 9
Minor -
A minor or second major is not required for the Geographic Information Science major. -
General Elective hours to bring total to 120 -
Total Hours 120

1 These courses are required in the major if not completed as part of the General Education component

2 Fulfills computer literacy requirement

3 Experiential Learning includes: Field Courses, Study Abroad, Internships, Co-ops, Geography Capstone Project, and Service learning, or other courses for which 80% of the course credit derives from field activities as determined by the department 

Careers in Geography & GIS

Why Geography?

Geographers apply their unique knowledge, skills, and perspectives in a diverse range of industries. They hold positions as urban planners who assess the costs and benefits of proposed transit systems, as state climatologists assessing the impacts of rising sea levels, as consultants advising firms about moving into new markets, and as human rights advocates working with refugees. These are just a handful of the many types of careers available to geographers.

Geography prepares individuals for work in the social, physical, and environmental sciences, as well as the arts and humanities.

Consider the following trends:

  • Geographers are classified by the US Department of Labor as a "Bright Outlook" occupation.
  • The US Department of Labor projects "much faster than average" growth, in excess of 20% or more, in jobs for geographers, geoscientists, cartographers, urban and regional planners, and other geographic professionals, with projected needs of upwards of 15,000 additional employees in each of these career fields between 2008 and 2018.
  • Geospatial technology is considered to be a high growth industry by the US Department of Labor. Because geospatial technology is so pervasive in the modern industry, the market is growing at an annual rate of almost 35%.

What Employers Look For

Discover the top skills employers are looking for in the geospatial industry.

Although writing and oral communication are valued in all types of workplaces, as are research, finance, and budgeting expertise, geographers possess a multitude of additional skills that are valued by employers across a wide range of careers. Some of these unique skills and perspectives are:

  • Spatial thinking                                            
  • A global perspective
  • An interdisciplinary perspective                      
  • Experience in field methods
  • Abilities in GIScience, cartography, and visualization
  • A sense of the complex interactions between humans and the environment
  • Sensitivity to the distinctiveness of places

Geographers are well prepared to meet the rapidly evolving demands of today's industries given their big picture perspective, eye for detail, and ability to integrate and synthesize information at a variety of scales.

Last updated Jul 2020

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