GIS map overhead view

Master ofGeographic Information Systems

Program summary

Gain the expertise to design and leverage geographic information systems and spatial analysis tools to tackle real-world problems that impact people and our planet. This online GIS master's degree program allows for flexibility and customization.

Application deadline

Apply by July 1 to start August 14

Credits and costs

33 Credits$1,017 per credit

Work at the Forefront of the Industry with an Online Master of GIS

The online Master of Geographic Information Systems (MGIS), led by Penn State's nationally recognized Department of Geography, is a 33-credit program that allows experienced professionals to customize their GIS education to reflect their career interests.

We continually update our curriculum by integrating contemporary geospatial technologies and emerging topics, such as open web mapping, spatial data science, location intelligence for business, GIS for conservation or environmental studies, remote sensing, advanced Python programming, and more.

By advancing your education online while you work, you’ll be well on your way to designing, specifying, and managing complex geographic information infrastructures as a leader in such fields as:

  • environmental resource management
  • urban, regional, and transportation planning
  • government services
  • surveying and cartography
  • emergency preparedness and response
  • GIS software development
  • climate science
  • data visualization and web mapping
  • geospatial intelligence

You can complete this respected graduate program part-time and online in as little as two and a half years.

Why an Online GIS Degree at Penn State?

Proven Leader — Penn State's GIS program has been a trusted leader in online education since 1998. Our students and alumni work in more than 150 geospatial organizations around the world in every major sector of the mapping, GIS, and GEOINT industries. You can take pride in knowing you are part of a recognized, award-winning program.

Customizable Curriculum — With more than 30 courses available online, you have the freedom to customize a program with course work that targets your career aspirations.

Maximum Flexibility — Our program is also uniquely structured across five 10-week terms, with two sessions that overlap in the fall and spring term. This schedule allows you to seek financial aid and provides greater flexibility for completing your degree at your preferred pace.

GRE scores are NOT required — Start your application without the wait.

Accelerated Admission to the MGIS Program

Applying to the award-winning Penn State MGIS program has never been easier. Students who begin in one of our GIS, GEOINT, geospatial programming, or remote sensing certificate programs and who earn a 3.67 GPA or higher after completing the first three courses may be eligible for accelerated admission. Advantages of the accelerated admissions option include:

  • no professional experience is required
  • no letters of recommendation are required

Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis, so you can learn about your admission decision even earlier. Learn more about how you may qualify for the accelerated admission option.

Specialized Tracks Available

The MGIS allows you to develop focused expertise without extending the length of your graduate degree program. Take your customized program to the next level by selecting an option in:

  • Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) — 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
  • Geodesign — 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

You may also apply to the base MGIS program and design a curriculum that better aligns with your unique career goals.

Professional Development Courses Online

Geospatial professionals can take our courses as a nondegree student to fulfill continuing professional development requirements. These instructor-led courses are 100% online, allowing you to study and complete weekly assignments at times that are convenient for you. For a calendar and a list of course offerings, visit our courses page.

Information for Military and Veterans

Are you a member of the military, a veteran, or a military spouse? Please visit our military website for additional information regarding financial aid, transfer credits, or application instructions.

Courses

The Master of Geographic Information Systems (MGIS) degree is a 33-credit graduate program that delivers the depth of knowledge and hands-on expertise to help you become a leader in your industry. Online courses are designed to be highly practical while engaging you with cutting-edge advances in GIS tools and spatial analysis methods. The curriculum, including challenging projects, teaches crucial skills that you can apply to your professional work.

Students earn the MGIS degree by successfully completing 33 credits of course work, including a supervised independent capstone project. Course requirements include a minimum of 18 credits at the 500 or 800 level, with at least 6 credits at the 500 level. Courses within the Geospatial Intelligence Option and the Geodesign Option may be taken as elective courses.

MGIS Base Program (33 credits)

This pathway offers a wider range of elective credits, providing you with the highest degree of customization.

Required Courses (18 credits)

    • 3
      credits

      Case studies, student investigations, and projects reveal the scope, impact, and character of the Geospatial Revolution.

    • or:
      3
      credits

      Traces the roots of spatial data science ethics in moral philosophy, professional ethics frameworks, and critical studies. Students will critique legal and policy issues in the U.S. and abroad.

  • 3
    credits

    How geographic information systems facilitate data analysis and communication to address common geographic problems.

    • Prerequisite

      GEOG 482 or permission of the program

  • 3
    credits

    Database design, creation, maintenance, and data integration using desktop GIS software.

    • Prerequisite

      GEOG 483 or permission of the program

  • 3
    credits

    Systematic approach to requirements acquisition, specification, design, and implementation of geospatial information systems.

    • Prerequisite

      GEOG 484

  • 3
    credits

    Choosing and applying analytical methods for geospatial data, including point pattern analysis, interpolation, surface analysis, overlay analysis, and spatial autocorrelation.

    • Prerequisite

      GEOG 485 or GEOG 486 or GEOG 487

  • 3
    credits

    Principles of effective project management applied to the design and implementation of geospatial information systems.

Culminating Experience (3 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Develop an applied spatial analysis project that utilizes contemporary methods, technologies, and data sources to solve a problem in the student's field.

MGIS with Geospatial Intelligence Option (33 credits)

The geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) option is designed for current or aspiring practitioners that rely on insights produced through skillful, knowledgeable, and conscientious analysis of diverse geo-referenced data to plan for emergencies, coordinate responses to natural and human-induced disasters, enforce the law, and plan and conduct military operations.

Required Courses (9 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Systematic approach to requirements acquisition, specification, design, and implementation of geospatial information systems.

    • Prerequisite

      GEOG 484

  • 3
    credits

    Choosing and applying analytical methods for geospatial data, including point pattern analysis, interpolation, surface analysis, overlay analysis, and spatial autocorrelation.

    • Prerequisite

      GEOG 485 or GEOG 486 or GEOG 487

  • 3
    credits

    Principles of effective project management applied to the design and implementation of geospatial information systems.

    • Prerequisite

      GEOG 583

GEOINT Option Courses (15 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    The application of cultural geography in the intelligence analysis and synthesis process by identifying prominent threats to civil security.

  • 3
    credits

    Orientation to the geographic foundations of geospatial intelligence and its applications in national security, international relief work, and disaster management.

  • 3
    credits

    Understanding remote sensing systems' operation, data products, and processing techniques to address typical problem scenarios faced by the GEOINT professional.

  • 3
    credits

    The course highlights the tradecraft of integrating spatial data science with geospatial intelligence methods; students practice this integration by preparing intelligence reports requiring GIS tools.

  • 3
    credits

    Prepares current and aspiring geospatial intelligence professionals to apply and interpret results of non-quantitative analysis and modeling techniques.

    • Prerequisite

      GEOG 882

Culminating Experience (3 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Develop an applied spatial analysis project that utilizes contemporary methods, technologies, and data sources to solve a problem in the student's field.

MGIS with Geodesign Option (33 credits)

This option is designed for current or aspiring professionals who seek a foundation in geospatially based design through investigating the methods and collaborative nature of the geodesign process.

Required Courses (15 credits)

    • 3
      credits

      Case studies, student investigations, and projects reveal the scope, impact, and character of the Geospatial Revolution.

    • or:
      3
      credits

      Traces the roots of spatial data science ethics in moral philosophy, professional ethics frameworks, and critical studies. Students will critique legal and policy issues in the U.S. and abroad.

  • 3
    credits

    How geographic information systems facilitate data analysis and communication to address common geographic problems.

    • Prerequisite

      GEOG 482

  • 3
    credits

    Systematic approach to requirements acquisition, specification, design, and implementation of geospatial information systems.

    • Prerequisite

      GEOG 484

  • 3
    credits

    Choosing and applying analytical methods for geospatial data, including point pattern analysis, interpolation, surface analysis, overlay analysis, and spatial autocorrelation.

    • Prerequisite

      GEOG 485 or GEOG 486 or GEOG 487

  • 3
    credits

    Principles of effective project management applied to the design and implementation of geospatial information systems.

    • Prerequisite

      GEOG 583

Geodesign Option Courses (12 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Students study the theory and principles of geospatially based design by investigating the methods and collaborative nature of the geodesign process.

    • Prerequisite

      GEOG 482 (Please contact the program to discuss waiving this requirement.)

  • 3
    credits

    The principles, inherent values, and practical applications of evaluation and decision models as implemented within the geodesign framework.

    • Prerequisite

      GEODZ 511

  • 3
    credits

    Real-world applications of GIS and spatial analysis to investigate a variety of current environmental issues.

    • Prerequisite

      GEOG 484 or permission of the program

  • 3
    credits

    Theory and practical applications of using cloud computing and server resources to solve geospatial problems. Technologies: ArcGIS Server, Portal for ArcGIS, ArcGIS Online, GeoServer, CARTO, Amazon Web Services, Mapbox, Google Fusion Tables Theory.

    • Prerequisite

      GEOG 484 or permission of the program

Culminating Experience (3 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Develop an applied spatial analysis project that utilizes contemporary methods, technologies, and data sources to solve a problem in the student's field.

Elective Courses List

Tailor your master’s program with electives that further align with your personal strengths, professional interests, or career goals. Elective courses may change over time to better meet the industry needs and student demands. Contact the academic home at [email protected] for an updated list. 

Elective courses may not be double counted to meet the requirement for any prescribed or option-related courses.

Current courses may include:

  • 3
    credits

    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; students will utilize a range of cyber data, systems, and spatial sciences to examine human social networks of the internet.

    • Prerequisite

      GEOG 160 or GEOG 482 or permission of program

  • 3
    credits

    Using imagery and terrain data in typical application scenarios faced by the geospatial professional.

  • 3
    credits

    Understanding lidar systems; design, operation, data processing techniques, and product generation to address typical application scenarios faced by the geospatial professional.

  • 3
    credits

    Customizing GIS software to extend its built-in functionality and to automate repetitive tasks.

    • Prerequisite

      GEOG 484 or permission of the program

  • 3
    credits

    Theory and practice of cartographic design, emphasizing effective visual thinking and visual communication with geographic information systems. Technologies: ArcGIS Pro, Mapbox Studio, QGIS

    • Prerequisite

      GEOG 484 or permission of the program

  • 3
    credits

    Learn advanced applications of Python for developing and customizing GIS software, designing user interfaces, and solving complex geoprocessing tasks using both proprietary and open source platforms. Technologies: ArcGIS Pro, ArcPy, Jupyter Notebooks, ArcGIS API for Python, QGIS, GDAL/OGR.

    • Prerequisite

      GEOG 485 or permission of the program

  • 3
    credits

    The application of cultural geography in the intelligence analysis and synthesis process by identifying prominent threats to civil security.

  • 3
    credits

    Traces the roots of spatial data science ethics in moral philosophy, professional ethics frameworks, and critical studies. Students will critique legal and policy issues in the U.S. and abroad.

  • 3
    credits

    Design, development, and implementation of web mapping applications using OGC standards and open source software. Technologies: JavaScript, QGIS, GDAL, OGR, GeoServer, TileMill, Leaflet, and OpenStreetMap

    • Prerequisite

      GEOG 485

  • 3
    credits

    Focuses on the application of spatial data science methods and tools to solve real-world problems and model geographic phenomena; build skills to design, implement, and troubleshoot analytical workflows while creating reproducible code for future adaptation.

  • 3
    credits

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

  • 3
    credits

    The role of geographic information systems in understanding disease, including relevant spatial analysis and cartographic visualization techniques.

    • Prerequisite

      GEOG 484 or permission of the program

  • 3
    credits

    Understanding location technology and geospatial analysis to support an efficient and effective pathway to better business decisions.

  • 3
    credits

    This course examines the use of GIS principles, data, and applications that have been developed for the field of transportation.

  • 3
    credits

    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

    Explores three important topics related to georeferenced data: datums, map projections, and grid systems.

    • Prerequisite

      GEOG 483 or permission of the program

  • 3
    credits

    Focuses on how geospatial professionals can create applications using industry-related geospatial APIs. Students will build applications using the core web technologies of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Technologies: JavaScript, ArcGIS API for JavaScript, ArcGIS Online, CSS

  • 3
    credits

    Advanced topics in the storage, management, and retrieval of geospatial data using common proprietary and open-source relational database technologies. Technologies: SQL, PostGIS, ArcSDE/Multiuser Geodatabases, QGISAdvanced.

  • 3
    credits

    Common platforms, analytical strategies, and policy dimensions of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in public, private, defense, and humanitarian applications.

  • 3
    credits

    Analysis of multivariate data; T2-tests; particle correlation; discrimination; MANOVA; cluster analysis; regression; growth curves; factor analysis; principal components; canonical correlations.

About the Capstone Project

The capstone course (GEOG 870) develops Master of Geographic Information Systems students' research and technical competencies to meet degree requirements and serve their future career goals. Students completing this course will synthesize the learning they have completed in their MGIS course work and develop an applied spatial analysis project that utilizes contemporary methods, technologies, and data sources to solve a problem in their field. The course makes use of discussions, presentations, directed independent research, collaborative critiques, and an individual scholarly paper.

Progressive Curriculum

Year One:
The first-year courses are designed to help you develop the information literacy and technical competencies you need to become a more knowledgeable and skillful GIS user. Upon successfully completing the first year, you will receive a Postbaccalaureate Certificate in GIS*, provided that you also apply to that program. For experienced GIS professionals, we work with you to develop a customized curriculum that fits your goals and ensures you do not have to repeat classes in areas where you are already proficient. This curriculum allows you to earn a respected certificate while you continue to work toward your master's degree.

Year Two:
The second-year courses can prepare you to design, specify, and manage complex geographic information infrastructures for your organization. Depending upon your course selection, you may have the opportunity to earn a second GIS–related graduate certificate.*

Year Three:
During the third year, you will complete any remaining electives and an independent study capstone project through which you will make a substantive contribution to your organization.

Depending on course availability, you can complete the MGIS degree in as little as two and a half years or spread out the courses to suit your personal responsibilities and work commitments. We make it easy to pause and restart your studies at any time.

*A separate application and program acceptance are required for each credential. Please speak with the program office for more details.

Flexible Course Scheduling

The MGIS program operates on five 10-week terms. With two terms that partially overlap in fall and spring, and one term in the summer, you are provided with the greatest flexibility possible in completing your degree at your preferred pace. You can choose to schedule your courses without any overlap or take as many courses as possible to finish sooner.

Description of fall, spring and summer semesters

Certification/Partnerships

This program can help you prepare for the GIS Professional (GISP) Certification offered by the GIS Certification Institute. In addition, courses in our program can help you acquire the points you need to obtain recertification if you already have the GISP.

Act 48–compliant — The GIS courses meet Pennsylvania Act 48 requirements for continuing teacher education, which parallel similar education requirements of other states.

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.

Costs and Financial Aid

Graduate Tuition

Graduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.

2023–24 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2023, spring 2024, and summer 2024 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester?Cost
11 or fewer$1,017 per credit
12 or more$12,203 per semester

2024–25 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2024, spring 2025, and summer 2025 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester?Cost
11 or fewer$1,027 per credit
12 or more$12,325 per semester

Financial Aid and Military Benefits

Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.

To view the detailed list of cost of attendance elements, select “World Campus” as the location on the tuition site.

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. Please be sure to make your recommenders aware of the date their letter is due. 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.

GRE scores are NOT required.

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.

Ready to Learn More?

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Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State master's degree?

Apply by July 1 to start August 14. How to Apply 

Start or Advance Your Career

Example of a map produced by geospatial professionals

You can use the knowledge gained from this program and the support of Penn State career resources to pursue careers in a variety of fields, depending on your goals.


Job Titles Related to This Degree

The following roles are often held by people with this type of degree:

  • Digital Cartographer
  • GIS Consultant
  • GIS/Geospatial Analyst
  • LIDAR Analyst
  • Photogrammetrist
  • Remote Sensing Specialist

Employment Outlook for Occupational Fields Related to This Degree

Estimates of employment growth and total employment are provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and are subject to change. While these occupations are often pursued by graduates with this degree, individual outcomes may vary depending on a variety of factors. Penn State World Campus cannot guarantee employment in a given occupation.

Surveying and Mapping Technicians

3.3%
employment growth (10 years)
56,580
total employment

Cartographers and Photogrammetrists

5%
employment growth (10 years)
13,270
total employment

Physical Scientists, All Other

2.1%
employment growth (10 years)
19,820
total employment

Geographers

1.1%
employment growth (10 years)
1,360
total employment

Career Services to Set You Up for Success

Student having a virtual meeting on a laptop with a career counselor

From the day you're accepted as a student, you can access resources and tools provided by Penn State World Campus Career Services to further your career. These resources are beneficial whether you're searching for a job or advancing in an established career.

  • Opportunities to connect with employers
  • Career counselor/coach support
  • Occupation and salary information
  • Internships
  • Graduate school resources 

Earn a Valuable Credential along the Way

A figure walking on a path that includes a certificate part of the way through their progress

Show mastery of specific subjects before your degree is complete. Thanks to shared courses across programs, students can often earn a certificate along with their degree in less time than if they earned them separately.

Certificate Programs Related to This Degree

The following certificates can be earned while completing this degree program:

This online certificate program provides students with hands-on course experiences using the latest tools in the GIS industry. Choose from two different tracks — a foundational track for the GIS novice or an experienced professional’s track for students with a strong working knowledge of GIS.

Learn more about the Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems

Apply geospatial information science and technology (GIST), knowledge of spatial relationships, and cognitive processes to improve problem solving and decision making. This online certificate can help jumpstart or advance your career as a geospatial intelligence or imagery analyst.

Learn more about the Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Intelligence Analytics

Expand your web mapping and coding skills with this online certificate program. Geospatial professionals can learn to create web-based interactive mapping applications that support spatial data science. Prior programming experience is not required.

Learn more about the Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Programming and Web Map Development

Learn to leverage data gathered from drones, satellites, and lidar. This certificate focuses on remote sensing, terrain mapping, and image analysis and draws upon the resources of one of the most respected online GIS programs in the U.S.

Learn more about the Graduate Certificate in Remote Sensing and Earth Observation

Contact Us

Our program specialists are available now to help you with your application and to answer any questions you have about our online geospatial programs. Please contact us with anything you wish to discuss.

Julene Santiago, Geospatial Portfolio Program Assistant
Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
[email protected]
Phone: 814-865-2557

To see more detailed information about the geospatial portfolio, visit the program website within Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. You can also visit Penn State’s Repository of Open and Affordable Materials (ROAM) to preview some of the geospatial courses offered online by the Department of Geography.

For general questions about Penn State World Campus, please contact:

World Campus Admissions Counselors
Phone: 814-863-5386
[email protected]

Faculty

  • Anthony C. Robinson

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Geography, Penn State
    • Degree
      M.S., Geography, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.S., Applied Geography, East Carolina University

    Dr. Anthony C. Robinson is an associate professor and director of online geospatial education at Penn State. He is also assistant director for the GeoVISTA Center. Dr. Robinson is a cartographer who designs and evaluates geovisualization tools to improve geographic information utility and usability. He has worked in epidemiology, crisis management, national security, and education domains to develop and evaluate new methods for visualizing spatial data.

  • Ryan Baxter 

    • Degree
      M.S., Geography, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.A., Geography and Environmental Sciences, Northwestern University

    Ryan Baxter advises students and teaches courses in topics including renewable energy, environmental applications of GIS, cloud and server GIS technologies, and introductory geographic information concepts. He is active in technical research projects involving spatial databases, online data discovery tools, interactive mapping applications, and cloud-based GIS services. He is also engaged in research investigating the spatial modeling of land use change, quantifying the amount of land available for bioenergy feedstocks, and assessing the suitability and productivity of energy crops.

  • Amy Burnicki

    Degree
    Ph.D., Natural Resources & Environment, University of Michigan

    Dr. Amy Burnicki is an associate teaching professor in the Department of Geography. Her research applies spatial data analysis, spatial statistics, and quantitative modeling approaches in the field of land change science and in transportation and environmental engineering applications.

  • James Detwiler

    • Degree
      M.S., Geography, University of Delaware
    • Degree
      B.S., Earth Science, Penn State

    James Detwiler is in a 100% teaching appointment and specializes in GIS programming. He teaches GEOG 485: GIS Programming and Automation; GEOG 863: Web Application Development; and GEOG 868: Spatial Database Management. His research interests are in the areas of applied GIS and climatology. 

  • Brandi Gaertner

    Degree
    Ph.D., Forestry and Natural Resources, West Virginia University

    Dr. Brandi Gaertner, assistant teaching professor of spatial data science in the online geospatial education program, joined the Penn State faculty in 2021. Dr. Gaertner is a climate change hydrologist and GIS analyst. Her research focus is on evaluating historical and future impacts of climate change on surface streamflow and climate variables such as precipitation and temperature.

  • Adrienne Goldsberry

    • Degree
      M.A., Geography, University of California - Santa Barbara
    • Degree
      B.A., Geography, The University of Texas at Austin 

    Adrienne Goldsberry is an instructor as well as adviser for students in the Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems program. Before joining Penn State, she was an online instructor for Michigan State University's Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences and managed its online Professional Certificate in GIS. She also worked as an urban planner for jurisdictions in California, Texas, and Michigan.

  • Panagiotis Giannakis

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Geosciences, University of Arkansas
    • Degree
      M.S., Human Resource Management, Athens University of Economics & Business

    Panagiotis Giannakis is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Geography and the Dutton e-Education Institute within the College of Earth & Mineral Sciences. He received his PhD from the University of Arkansas, where he also maintained a key role in the advancement of the Online Geospatial Certificate program. His research interests lie at the intersection of Economic Geography, Strategic Management, and Social Networks. More specifically, Panagiotis’ research focuses on the relationship between organizational and physical and/or social network space.

  • Fritz Kessler

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Geography, University of Kansas
    • Degree
      M.S., Geography, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.S., Geography, Ohio University

    Dr. Fritz Kessler's teaching interests include cartography, geographic visualization, map projections, spatial analysis, land surveying, geography of health, and statistics. His research interests include map projections, geographic visualization, history of cartography, and cognitive cartography.

  • Beth King 

    • Degree
      M.Ed., Adult Education, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.S., Geography, Penn State

    Beth King is co-author and instructor of GEOG 483: Problem-Solving with GIS; GEOG 482: Making Maps that Matter with GIS; and GEOG 597G: Challenges in Global Geospatial Analytics. She is assistant program manager for Online Geospatial Education and maintains regular communication with students in the MGIS degree program to identify their questions and concerns. Previously, she worked as a GIS analyst for a private water/wastewater engineering firm, where she managed a wide range of GIS projects, from turnkey sanitary sewer conversion to 911 rural addressing.

  • Karen Schuckman

    • Degree
      M.S., Geographic Information Systems, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.A., Liberal Arts, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.S., Meteorology, Penn State

    Karen Schuckman's teaching and research interests include applications of airborne and spaceborne remote sensing to topographic mapping, land-use/land-cover analysis, positional accuracy assessment of remotely sensed base map data products, and other geospatial applications.

  • Marcela Suárez

    Degree
    Ph.D., Geography, University of California, Santa Barbara

    Dr. Marcela Suárez is an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Geography and the John A. Dutton Institute for Teaching and Learning Excellence within the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Dr. Suárez 's research interests lie at the intersection of geographic information science, cartography, and emergency management.

  • Gregory Thomas

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Administration and Leadership Studies, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
    • Degree
      MPA, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.S., Criminal Justice, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

    Dr. Gregory Thomas has experience developing intelligence for decision-makers, supervising the analytical process, and providing team guidance. He also has experience teaching intelligence and analytical techniques to college students as well as intelligence analysts and law enforcement personnel. He has developed operational intelligence to support criminal investigations and anti-terrorism activities, and has selected, trained, and supervised analysts in a criminal intelligence center. His teaching and research focus on geospatial intelligence analysis, homeland security, and criminal intelligence.

  • Michelle Zeiders

    • Degree
      M.S., Geoenvironmental Studies, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania
    • Degree
      B.S., Public Administration, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania

    Michelle Zeiders teaches GEOG 483: Problem-Solving with GIS; GEOG 484: GIS Database Development; and GEOG 487: Environmental Applications of GIS. She has been teaching introductory and software-intensive GIS courses since 1998. Prior to joining the geospatial education program, she worked as a GIS programmer/instructor for the Penn State Population Research Institute, a GIS project manager/instructor for the Institute for Transportation Research and Education at North Carolina State University, a GIS project manager at a private civil engineering firm, and a GIS analyst at MapQuest.

News

Karen Schuckman stands behind a microphone.
Remote sensing faculty member appointed to lead national organization,
Old Main building at Penn State's University Park campus
2021 Carolyn Merry Mentoring Award, University Consortium for Geographic Information Science
A screenshot is shown of LionVu showing counties in Pennsylvania
Capstone project improves disease mapping tool for Penn State Cancer Institute,

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