GIS map overhead view
Master of
Geographic Information Systems

How to Apply

Deadlines and Important Dates

Regular Admission Option:

Your degree application, including receipt of all materials, must be received by the following deadlines to be considered complete. If you would like to verify that we have all of your materials, feel free to contact the program office at [email protected].

July 1 to begin in the fall term
November 1 to begin in the spring term
April 1 to begin in the summer term

Accelerated Admission Option:

  • At least 4 weeks before the term in which you intend to start the MGIS program

Classes may be taken in nondegree-seeking status prior to admission into the MGIS program. For many students, completing one or more classes prior to applying for the MGIS degree helps ensure that online learning is the right option, and your academic record from those courses provides an additional source of information that can be taken into account when the MGIS admissions board considers your application.

Admissions Help

Questions about applying? Contact the program office at [email protected]. We have experts available to guide you through the process.

Admission Requirements 

For admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates. 

Accelerated Admission Option

You can qualify for accelerated admission to the MGIS program by earning a 3.67 GPA or above after completing your first three classes as a student in any of our online geospatial certificate programs. After completing your third certificate course, you must submit your résumé and a professional statement of purpose explaining your goals for obtaining the MGIS to the admissions chairperson.

The admissions committee will review your personal statement and your academic record in the program to date, and then make a decision regarding your admission to the master's program. Admission is not based solely on GPA.

Admissions decisions will be made in this manner on a rolling basis year-round, but you must have your application complete and submitted for consideration at least 4 weeks before the term in which you intend to start the degree program. Please contact the academic home directly at [email protected] with any questions.

Regular admission is still available for those who do not wish to begin with a certificate program.

What You Need

Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need to upload the following items as part of your application:

Official transcripts from each institution attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed. Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Penn State alumni do not need to request transcripts for credits earned at Penn State, but must list Penn State as part of your academic history. If you are admitted, you will be asked to send an additional official transcript. You will receive instructions at that time.

GPA and Test Scores — Regular Admission Option: GRE scores are required and should be reported directly from the testing center to Penn State. Applicants with at least three years of professional experience may request that the GRE requirement be waived. If you satisfy that criterion and want to waive the GRE, please write a sentence to that effect in the notes section of the graduate school application.

Accelerated Admission Option: Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required. Applicants must earn a 3.67 GPA or higher after completing their first three classes in one of the certificate programs offered in the online geospatial education program portfolio.

English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Proficiency section on the Graduate School's "Requirements for Graduate Admission" page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.

References — Regular Admission Option: Two letters of reference are required. You will need to initiate the process through the online application by entering names, email addresses, and mailing addresses of three references. Upon submission of your application, an email will be sent to each reference requesting they complete a brief online recommendation regarding your commitment for success in an online program.

Accelerated Admission Option: No external references are required.

Program-Specific Questions/Materials

Résumé — a one- to five-page listing of your professional experience and education.

Personal StatementAccelerated & Regular Admission Options: Write a statement (2–3 pages in length) describing how your experience and goals align with the Master of GIS program.

Start Your Application

You can begin your online application at any time. Your progress within the online application system will be saved as you go, allowing you to return at any point as you gather additional information and required materials.

Begin the graduate school application

  • Choose Enrollment Type: "Degree Admission"
  • Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus

Checking Your Status

You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form.

Technical Requirements 

Review the technical requirements for this program.

Penn State World Campus Graduate

Ready to Learn More?

Get the resources you need to make informed decisions about your education. Request information on this program and other programs of interest by completing this form.

* required 1/3

I agree to be contacted via phone, email, and text by Penn State World Campus and affiliates. I understand my information may also be shared with select providers to offer ads that may be of interest to me. Privacy Policy. reCAPTCHA protected. Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.