This is my Life
A GIS Degree for the Experienced Professional
Penn State’s online GIS program has been a leader in online education since 1998. In 2009 The Sloan Consortium recognized the master of GIS program as the 2009 Most Outstanding Online Teaching and Learning Program.
We’ll help you navigate the degree process with confidence. You’ll work directly with faculty from the day you’re accepted into the program through the day you graduate. Our faculty — experienced online professionals from Penn State’s College of Earth and Mineral Sciences — are accessible to all students via email, phone, online discussion forums and chat space, and web conferencing that enables interaction with one another in real-time, using voice, text, and video. Many faculty also have years of professional experience in the field; that rich experience helps inform the online classroom.
The course work will allow you to stay current on the latest technology and methods in GIS. You’ll earn your first credential — a postbaccalaureate certificate in GIS — after your first year in the master’s program if you have applied to the certificate program through the Graduate School.
Geospatial Career-Oriented Course Work and Degree Options
Since developing its first online GIS courses in 1999, Penn State's Department of Geography has expanded its geospatial offerings to more than 30 online courses. The courses cover all of the core areas of GIS and geospatial intelligence as well as special emerging topics that include cloud and server GIS, conservation GIS, geospatial database development, LIDAR technology, location intelligence for business and Python programming for GIS.
In order to prepare for a dynamic career in the geospatial field, you can customize the master's degree courses to suit your interests. With options in geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) and geodesign (GEODZ), you can choose to focus your elective credits in one of these emerging and growing fields. With the option in GEOINT, you can produce information and insights through skillful and conscientious analysis of diverse geo-referenced data to manage natural and cultural assets, enforce the law, and plan and conduct military operations. If you choose to focus in GEODZ, you can learn to combine science and evidence-based approaches with the design process, enabling you to become more adept at assessing the impact of designs on people and nature.
Geospatial Portfolio Video
Learn more about the World Campus geospatial programs in this video:
Professional Development Opportunities
Penn State World Campus also offers more than 19 instructor-led online courses that geospatial professionals can take to fulfill continuing professional development requirements. For a calendar and a list of course offerings, visit our courses page.
Who Should Apply?
If you are a professional — in such fields as environmental resource management, urban and regional planning, local government, facilities management, or transportation planning — the online GIS master’s degree can help you become a leader in your industry.
To apply to the program you should have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution and a minimum of two years of professional experience, preferably (but not necessarily) related to geographic information technologies.
Career Opportunities for Graduates
Penn State’s online master’s degree in GIS can help you start or advance your career in:
- urban and regional planning: architects, engineers, scientific researchers, managers, technical consultants, local government, and GIS analysts
- environmental resource management: environmental scientists, specialists, and health specialists
- surveying and cartography: surveyors, cartographers, photogrammetrists, and mapping technicians
Online Education at Penn State
Penn State has a history of 100+ years of distance education and more than a decade of experience in online learning. We create an online learning environment that offers you the same quality education our residential students experience in a face-to-face setting. Learn more about Penn State World Campus.
- Geographic Information Systems - GIS (Postbaccalaureate Certificate)
- Geospatial Intelligence Analytics (Graduate Certificate)
- Information Sciences - Cybersecurity and Information Assurance (Master of Professional Studies)
- Homeland Security – Geospatial Intelligence Option (Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security)