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spatial data science
Master of Science in
Spatial Data Science

Courses

The Master of Science in Spatial Data Science is a customizable program that gives you the flexibility to earn a Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Programming and Web Map Development or another certificate we offer in remote sensing, geospatial intelligence, or GIS while pursuing your master’s degree online. The program is structured into four distinct areas of study:

  1. Required courses (15 credits)
  2. Spatial data science methods electives (9 credits)
  3. Spatial data science application electives (6 credits)
  4. Scholarly paper or research thesis (3 or 6 credits)

A minimum of 33 credits at the 400, 500, 600, or 800 level is required. At least 18 credits must be in 500- or 600-level courses.

Depending on course availability, you can complete the program in as little as two years of study 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.

Program Engagement

Your education will blend self-study with peer-to-peer interaction over an online learning network. You'll complete weekly assignments, readings, discussions, and occasional group work, as well as projects and other activities designed to enhance your learning outcomes, all at times that are most convenient for you. Every class is designed as a partnership between expert faculty and learning designers for optimal online delivery; courses are not just recorded lectures.

Required Courses (15 credits)

  • 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

    Focuses on the science of analytical reasoning mediated through human-centered interactive geographic visualization and computational methods; provides students with hands-on experience solving complex problems through the design, implementation, and application of geovisual analytics tools.

  • 3
    credits

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

    • Prerequisite

      GEOG 484 or permission of the program

  • 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

Spatial Data Science Methods Electives (select 9 credits)

  • 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

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

  • 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

    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

    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

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

  • 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

    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

  • 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

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

  • 3
    credits

    How geographic information systems facilitate data analysis and communication to address common geographic problems faced by the geospatial intelligence professional.

  • 3
    credits

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

  • 3
    credits

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

  • 3
    credits

    This course will explore the development of analytics systems and the application of best practices and established software design principles using the Python programming language and its several toolkits.

  • 3
    credits

    This course provides a foundation in the principles, concepts, techniques, and tools for visualizing large data sets.

  • 3
    credits

    Survey course on the key topics in predictive analytics. Students will learn methods associated with data analytics techniques and apply them to real examples using the R statistical system.

  • 3
    credits

    Descriptive statistics, hypothesis testing, power, estimation, confidence intervals, regression, one- and two-way ANOVA, chi-square tests, diagnostics.

    • Prerequisite

      one undergraduate course in statistics

  • 3
    credits

    Data mining tools are exploring data with regression, PCA, discriminate analysis, cluster analysis, and classification and regression trees (CART).

    • Prerequisite

      STAT 501 or a similar course that covers analysis of research data through simple and multiple regression and correlation; polynomial models; indicator variables; step-wise, piece-wise, and logistic regression

Spatial Data Science Application Electives (select 6 credits)

  • 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

    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

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

  • 3
    credits

    Conservation GIS applies geospatial problem-solving to ecological research and resource management issues to enhance conservation planning.

  • 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

    Prepares current and aspiring professionals to recognize, analyze, and address ethical problems in the GIS&T (geospatial) field.

  • 3
    credits

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

  • 3
    credits

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

  • 3
    credits

    This course provides an overview of key demographic data sets, and promotes familiarity with, and appropriate use of, these data.

  • 3
    credits

    This graduate course will expose students to spatial analysis tools and analytical methods applied to demographic research.

  • 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

    Students will learn a variety of methods for accessing appropriate weather and climate datasets available from government and research institutions. Working with very large datasets in a computationally efficient manner will be stressed, as will consideration of factors that affect data reliability.

Culminating Experience: Scholarly Paper or Research Paper (select 3 to 6 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    A semester project that demonstrates the student's ability to apply advanced knowledge and skills related to applying spatial data science principles in a way that makes a substantial contribution to research in Spatial Data Science.

  • 6
    credits

    Thesis Research

    • Note

      (GEOG 610)

Program Flexibility

The degree operates on five 10-week terms, a structure that delivers the greatest flexibility possible in completing your degree at your preferred pace. New courses typically begin every 10 to 12 weeks, so you can get started on your master’s degree sooner — with less wait time. Students also have the freedom to take semesters off to address the changing demands of their personal and professional lives.

Description of fall, spring and summer semesters

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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