Program Summary

Credits Required

33-36

Tuition per Credit

$924

Earn a Master of Science in Spatial Data Science – Online

As the use of location-based data becomes more pervasive and complicated, we need experts who can leverage spatial data to develop insights and improve decision-making. The Penn State Master of Science in Spatial Data Science (SDS) can prepare you to work at the forefront of the geospatial industry, where Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and spatial analysis intersect with the principles of data science, visualization, and programming.

As a student in this completely online program, you can learn to:

  • leverage the science of spatial analysis and modeling to develop new workflows to solve problems that impact people and our planet
  • architect and implement solutions that blend computational and visual approaches
  • research, communicate, and critique data quality and the results of spatial analyses

While some degree programs target users of GIS applications, this next-generation degree focuses on developing the creators who will push the boundaries of industry and science by redefining the power of location-based data. In this program, you can strengthen your programming knowledge and higher-order thinking skills, learning how to solve complex problems that require more than off-the-shelf solutions.

The Penn State Difference

100% Online Delivery — Our online platform allows you to complete weekly assignments at your own pace from anywhere in the world.

Nationally Recognized — Penn State World Campus has been serving the geospatial industry for more than 20 years, so you can feel secure that you are partnering with a leader in online geospatial learning.

Contemporary, Real-world Skills — Students will gain experience applying spatial data science and technology in at least two application domains, such as public health, emergency management, and business analytics. Our pragmatic approach ensures you develop a relevant skill set that you can put to work immediately.

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

Which Online Master's Degree is Right for Me?

While the Spatial Data Science graduate degree program is ideal for those who wish to be developers of new spatial data science solutions, students who are more interested in the applications of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in a variety of professional contexts should explore the Master of Geographic Information Systems (MGIS), also available online through Penn State World Campus. Students may also consider that the Spatial Data Science master's degree offers a potential pathway to a future Ph.D. program via its thesis option.

Who Should Apply?

World Campus welcomes applicants for the Spatial Data Science program who have prior experience with the fundamentals of GIS and may have a background in geospatial science and technology, data science, statistics or mathematics, computer science, environmental science, and/or engineering. No prior programming experience is required.

If you are interested in this program, but lack GIS experience, consider completing the Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems before applying to the M.S. in Spatial Data Science. To discuss which option makes sense for you, contact the program office to speak directly with a faculty adviser.

Career Opportunities for Graduates

Alumni from Penn State's Online Geospatial Education programs are employed in more than 200 companies and organizations around the world. Graduates of this program can work in business, public health, emergency management, natural resources, transportation, energy, or urban development, pursuing a senior-level career as a:

  • geospatial software developer
  • data scientist
  • data visualization software engineer
  • geospatial analyst
  • geospatial big data engineer
  • spatial data engineer

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, and application instructions.

Note: This program is under review for GI Bill eligibility, and you may experience delays attempting to use GI Bill benefits toward this program until it has been officially approved.