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Master of Professional Studies in
Homeland Security - Intelligence and Geospatial Analysis Option


Courses in Penn State's 33-credit online Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security – Intelligence and Geospatial Analysis option helps analysts develop knowledge and skills to disseminate accurate intelligence that may save lives, improve governments’ ability to prepare for and respond to disasters, and assist businesses.

All courses are asynchronous, meaning you are not required to log in at a particular time each week. You will have the flexibility to complete weekly assignments online at your preferred pace from anywhere in the world, while still having the opportunity to engage with Penn State faculty and program peers.

Use the Course List below to find course information, including course descriptions and prerequisites. Courses designated with the GEOG prefix are delivered in one of five 10-week compressed semesters. Non-GEOG courses, however, typically follow a traditional semester schedule.

Course List — Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security – Intelligence and Geospatial Analysis Option 

All students are required to take at least one elective that is a 500-level course in addition to the Capstone Experience (GEOG 594) to satisfy the degree requirement of 6 credits at the 500 level.

All students are required to complete the HLS Orientation (noncredit) as part of the HLS core curriculum before the end of their first semester. This orientation provides an overview of the HLS program and the field of homeland security.

Required Courses (9 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Homeland Security Administration: Policies and Programs HLS 801 Foundation for understanding homeland security history, the development of homeland security policies and organizations, and current management approaches. 3 credits
Homeland Security: Social and Ethical Issues HLS 803 This course will examine the social, political, legal, and ethical issues that arise in the context of homeland security. 3 credits
Violence, Threats, Terror, and Insurgency HLS 805 Provides an overview of the domestic and global issues related to homeland security. 3 credits
Prescribed Courses (12 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits

Spatial Data Science for Cyber and Human Social Networks

GEOG 479

This course examines the nexus of geospatial intelligence analysis with cyberspace, the geopolitics of cyber threats, the politics of censorship and hacking, public safety, disaster response, and humanitarian relief. 

Prerequisite: GEOG 160 , GEOG 482 , or permission of program

3 credits
Problem Solving with GIS GEOG 483 How geographic information systems facilitate data analysis and communication to address common geographic problems.

Prerequisites: GEOG 482 or permission of the program
3 credits
Geographic Foundations of Geospatial Intelligence GEOG 882 Orientation to the geographic foundations of geospatial intelligence and its applications in national security, international relief work, and disaster management. 3 credits
Advanced Analytic Methods for Geospatial Intelligence GEOG 885 Prepares current and aspiring geospatial intelligence professionals to apply and interpret results of non-quantitative analysis and modeling techniques.

Prerequisites: GEOG 882
3 credits
Electives (select 9 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Agricultural Biosecurity: Protecting a Key Infrastructure AGBIO 520 Course will explore intentional and unintentional threats to the agriculture-food system, history and current approaches for safeguarding this key infrastructure. 3 credits
Disaster Communication CAS 553 This seminar provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the multifaceted nature of disaster communication across phases of a disaster. 3 credits

Exploring Imagery and Elevation Data in GIS Applications

GEOG 480

An introductory-level course focusing on the use of remotely sensed imagery and elevation data in GIS applications.

3 credits
Topographic Mapping with Lidar GEOG 481 Understanding lidar systems' design, operation, data processing techniques, and product generation to address typical application scenarios faced by the geospatial professional. 3 credits
Making Maps that Matter with GIS GEOG 482 Case studies, student investigations, and projects reveal the scope, impact, and character of the Geospatial Revolution. 3 credits
GIS Database Development GEOG 484 Database design, creation, and maintenance, and data integration using desktop GIS software.

Prerequisites: GEOG 483 or permission of the program
3 credits
GIS Programming and Software Development GEOG 485 Customizing GIS software to extend its built-in functionality and to automate repetitive tasks.

Prerequisites: GEOG 484 or permission of the program
3 credits
Cartography and Visualization GEOG 486 Theory and practice of cartographic design, emphasizing effective visual thinking and visual communication with geographic information systems.

Prerequisites: GEOG 484 or permission of the program
3 credits
Environmental Applications of GIS GEOG 487 Real-world applications of GIS and spatial analysis to investigate a variety of current environmental issues.

Prerequisites: GEOG 484 or permission of the program
3 credits
GIS Application Development GEOG 489 GIS Desktop Customization with Visual Basic .NET and ArcObjects, including the Systems Development Life Cycle, using ESRI Add-Ins to deploy custom applications.

Prerequisite: GEOG 485 and instructor approval; or permission of the program
3 credits
Location Intelligence for Business GEOG 850 Understanding location technology and geospatial analysis to support an efficient and effective pathway to better business decisions. 3 credits
Intelligence Analysis, Cultural Geography, and Homeland Security GEOG 571 The application of cultural geography in the intelligence analysis and synthesis process by identifying prominent threats to civil security. 3 credits

Geovisual Analytics

GEOG 580

Investigates the role of geovisual analytics in facilitating the human sensemaking process through a survey of research challenges and exercises to design geovisual analytics approaches to tackle complex problems.

3 credits

Spatial Data Science Ethics

GEOG 581

Traces the roots of Spatial Data Science Ethics in moral philosophy, professional ethics frameworks, and critical studies in the geospatial field.

3 credits
Geospatial System Analysis and Design GEOG 583 Systematic approach to requirements acquisition, specification, design, and implementation of geospatial information systems.

Prerequisites: GEOG 484
3 credits
Open Web Mapping GEOG 585 Design, development, and implementation of web mapping applications using OGC standards and open source software.

Prerequisites: GEOG 485
3 credits
Geographical Information Analysis GEOG 586 Choosing and applying analytical methods for geospatial data, including point pattern analysis, interpolation, surface analysis, overlay analysis, and spatial autocorrelation.

Prerequisites: GEOG 485, GEOG 486, or GEOG 487
3 credits

Conservation GIS

GEOG 587

Applies geospatial problem solving to ecological research and resource management issues to enhance conservation planning.

3 credits
Emerging Trends in Remote Sensing GEOG 589

Advanced topics in remote sensing and image processing, including new sensors, applications, and decision making.

Prerequisites: GEOG 480 and GEOG 883

3 credits
GIS for Health Analysis GEOG 591 The role of geographic information systems in understanding disease, including relevant spatial analysis and cartographic visualization techniques.

Prerequisites: GEOG 484 or permission of the program
3 credits
Independent Study in Geospatial Intelligence GEOG 596 Creative projects, including research and design, which are supervised on an individual basis and which fall outside the scope of formal courses. 1–3 credits
Special Topics in Geospatial Intelligence Futures GEOG 597 Addresses cutting-edge geospatial intelligence topics that impact the global academic and professional community. 3 credits
Spatial Data Science for Emergency Management GEOG 858 Requirements analysis and proposal writing to plan and implement GIS solutions supporting emergency management activities of government agencies and contractors.

Recommended Preparation: GEOG 483
3 credits
The Earth is Round and Maps are Flat: Working with Spatial Reference Systems in GIS GEOG 861 Explores three important topics related to georeferenced data: datums, map projections, and grid systems.

Prerequisites: GEOG 483 or permission of the program
3 credit
GPS and GNSS for Geospatial Professionals GEOG 862 Cultivates a working knowledge of current and future capabilities of GPS and the emerging Global Navigation Satellite System.

Prerequisites: GEOG 484 or permission of the program
3 credits
Web Application Development for the Geospatial Professional GEOG 863 Focuses on how geospatial professionals can create applications using industry-relevant geospatial APIs. Students will build applications using the core web technologies of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. 3 credits
Cloud and Server GIS GEOG 865

Theory and practical applications of using cloud computing and server resources to solve geospatial problems.

Prerequisites: GEOG 484 or permission of the program

3 credits
Spatial Database Management for Geospatial Professionals GEOG 868 Advanced topics in the storage, management, and retrieval of geospatial data using common proprietary and open-source relational database technologies. 3 credits
Geospatial Technology Project Management GEOG 871 Principles of effective project management applied to the design and implementation of geospatial information systems. 3 credits
Remote Sensing Analysis and Applications GEOG 883 Understanding remote sensing systems' operation, data products, and processing techniques to address typical problem scenarios faced by the GEOINT professional. 3 credits
Geographic Information Systems for the Geospatial Intelligence Professional GEOG 884 How geographic information systems facilitate data analysis and communication to address common geographic problems faced by the geospatial intelligence professional.

Prerequisite: GEOG 882
3 credits
Geospatial Applications of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) GEOG 892 Common platforms, analytical strategies, and policy dimensions of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in public, private, defense, and humanitarian applications. 3 credits
Natural Disasters GEOSC 402Y Case studies of the causes and consequences of natural disasters; analysis of disaster impact in different economic, cultural, and social conditions. 3 credits

Fundamentals of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

HLS 811

This course focuses on providing a broad overview of homeland security activities as undertaken in the United States since 9/11.

3 credits
Crisis, Disaster, and Risk Management IST 564 This course examines the fundamental elements of crisis, disaster, risk, and emergency management. 3 credits
Foundations of Information Security and Assurance IST 815 This course provides theoretical and applied foundations of information security and assurance.  3 credits
Introduction to Multisensor Data Infusion IST 885 Understanding the concepts, techniques, and issues surrounding the fusion of information from multiple sensors and sources of data. 3 credits
Public Health Evaluation of Disasters and Bioterrorism PHP 527 Introduces students to the design of exposure assessment and health effect studies applicable to disasters and terrorism. 3 credits
The Politics of Terrorism PLSC 439 Analysis of political terrorism as a violent alternative for peaceful change and traditional warfare in the nuclear age.

Prerequisites: CRIMJ 100 or PL SC 014 or permission of program
3 credits
Capstone Experience (3 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Culminating Experiences in Geospatial Intelligence GEOG 594A Culminating experiences in current professional and ethical problems facing the geospatial intelligence professional. 1 credit
Geospatial Intelligence Capstone Experience GEOG 594B Culminating experience in the iMPS-HLS for the Intelligence and Geospatial Analysis option. 2 credits

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.

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