Online M.S. in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)


Program Description

Map Out Your Career!

Apply the tools that help us understand people, places, and processes of Earth.

Geospatial technologies affect almost every aspect of life, from navigating an unfamiliar neighborhood to tracking patterns of diseases in populations. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, geospatial technologies is one of the three high-growth industries of the 21st century. That translates into big opportunity—and with an Elmhurst M.S. in GIS, you’ll be well-prepared to meet it.

Worried about the technology requirements? No need to. As a student at Elmhurst College, you have free access to a virtual machine environment from any computer with an internet connection. This gives you high-end processing power from a regular computer.

Tested, Proven and Ready

Elmhurst students hit the ground running. By the time you graduate, you’ll have completed an internship in the geospatial industry. Your Elmhurst credential tells employers you’ll be able to contribute, starting day one.

Where Our Grads Go

You’ll thrive in a career in urban planning, law enforcement, national defense, health care, environmental protection and more. There are more than 70 careers related to geospatial technologies. Put your career on the map!

The Right People on Your Side

Elmhurst faculty aren’t just experts in their fields—they’re dedicated to expanding your reach, authentic GIS tools, connections to GIS professionals, and hands-on activities to lead to better skills and understanding.

Program Format

  • Online
  • Part-time
  • Weekly modules with live webinars and discussion boards
  • Completed in two years

Optimize Your Options with a Graduate Certificate

If now isn’t the right time for a master’s degree, get credentialed with a graduate certificate in geographic information systems. Offered entirely online and comprised of six GIS courses, this program features an e-portfolio and research symposium experience.

Curriculum & Course Sequence

The Master of Science in Geographic Information Systems at Elmhurst requires the successful completion of 10 courses for a total of 7.50 credits (30 semester hours).

The program also fulfills the educational requirements of the GISP (certified GIS professional). Curriculum will develop geospatial skill sets in correlation with the Geospatial Technology Competency Model (GTCM), as defined by the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Geospatial Technologies Center of Excellence (Geo Tech Center).

AGS 500 may be waived, per the program director’s discretion, for the following students:

  • Individuals who hold a baccalaureate degree in geography, geospatial technologies or geographic information systems, which emphasizes basic skills of the current GIS software
  • Individuals with professional experience in the geospatial industry, who are using the current GIS software

Required Courses

  • AGS 500 Fundamentals of Geospatial Technologies
  • AGS 510 Remote Sensing Technologies
  • AGS 520 Geospatial Programming
  • AGS 530 Principles of Geodatabases
  • AGS 540 Spatial Analysis and Web Mapping
  • AGS 550 Advanced Spatial Analysis
  • AGS 560 Graduate Internship Experience (current work/employment time may be extended and enhanced to fulfill internship with permission of program director)
  • AGS 580 E-Portfolio and Research Symposium
  • AGS 590 Geospatial Thesis or AGS 592 Geospatial Capstone Project in MS-GIS; for educators: AGS 591 Geospatial Capstone Project with Specialization in Human Geography
  • MBA 509 Project Management (MBA course for Professional Science Master’s credential or sub-discipline elective)

GIS Server

Students in Elmhurst’s GIS program may access ESRI ArcGIS and ArcGIS Pro software with all extensions simply by logging in to the College server from any computer, including a Mac, with Internet access and the remote desktop connection, Citrix Receiver. The server does the high-end processing so students do not require a robust computer to experience high performance.

Graduation Requirements

Graduates of the masters select between writing a thesis (AGS 590) or completing a capstone project (AGS-592), both of which require application of GIS analysis in researching an issue or developing a use of GIS at the industry level. Educators, who participate in the program, complete the degree with submitting an article about the use of GIS in education (AGS-591), including a specific technology application, to a juried educational journal.

Admission Requirements

Ready to advance your career?

At Elmhurst College, we try to make the graduate application process as simple—and friendly—as possible.

  • A baccalaureate degree in any field from an accredited college or university is required of all students to be admitted into the Online Graduate GIS Certificate Program.
  • A baccalaureate degree in geography, GIS, or a related field from an accredited college or university is preferred of all students to be admitted into the MS-GIS Program.

Careers and Outcomes

The U.S. Department of Labor has identified geospatial technologies as one of the three high-growth industries in the 21st century. As a result, the demand for individuals with specialized spatial skill sets continues to grow.

With a master’s degree in GIS from Elmhurst College, you’ll gain the spatial skills required to excel in this dynamic field. Our curriculum is based upon the Geospatial Technology Competency Model (GTCM), which centers specifically on spatial skill sets, allowing you to leverage your education to succeed in a wide variety of public and private sectors.

Career opportunities related to GIS include, but are not limited to:

  • GIS analyst
  • Data scientist
  • Geospatial data engineer
  • Natural resource GIS analyst
  • Remote sensing specialist
  • Cartographer
  • Urban planner
  • GIS project manager

Last updated Feb 2020

About the School

Do you want to expand your knowledge, update your skills and reach the next level in your career? Our master’s programs are designed to meet the demands of the marketplace.

Do you want to expand your knowledge, update your skills and reach the next level in your career? Our master’s programs are designed to meet the demands of the marketplace. Read less