School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences

Geospatial Information Sciences (B.S.)

Geospatial Information Science (or GIScience) is the quantitative study of relationships of things in space and time. In recent years, powerful new technologies and techniques have emerged that greatly improve our ability to acquire, archive, analyze and communicate information regarding people, places and other things on or near the Earth’s surface. These same technologies and techniques allow us to combine this information into multi-tiered databases describing the physical, social and other aspects of all or portions of the Earth. Such databases can then be analyzed in novel ways that take the data’s spatial nature into account. The insights produced by these sorts of databases and analyses are revolutionizing many fields of science, government and business, and through now-commonplace consumer products such as web-based mapping systems and GPS units, are directly impacting the everyday lives of ordinary individuals.

Graduates of the Bachelors of Science in Geospatial Information Science program will understand the logical, mathematical and technological underpinnings of GIScience, and be skilled in solving geospatial problems to the point where they will be able to move into professional roles handling the geospatial needs facing typical corporate, government, and nonprofit organizations. Their level of understanding will transcend simple familiarity with common GIScience software packages; while these graduates will be skilled in the use of such systems, they will also understand the underlying principles upon which software systems are based. This will allow our graduates to transfer their knowledge from one software system to another, and more importantly, to view geospatial problems as issues that can be solved by applying basic theories, techniques and methodologies, and not be limited to solutions encapsulated in particular software systems.

Mission and Objectives

The mission of the Bachelor of Science in Geospatial Information Sciences program is to provide students with a rigorous understanding of the fundamental theories and concepts underlying GIScience, as well as to provide them with extensive hands-on experience with contemporary GIScience hardware and software. However, this program should not be confused with software training seminars or workshops; the goal of the Bachelor of Science in GIScience program is to give students a firm grasp on the theories, ideas and techniques that underlay software and hardware systems, and thus provide them with a foundation of knowledge and skill that transcends any individual piece of hardware or software. Graduates of this program will be able to successfully compete for professional positions within GIScience and related fields, and be admitted into the best graduate schools globally.

Students within the program will:

  • Demonstrate their understanding of the underlying theories, ideas, concepts and techniques of GIScience.
  • Master contemporary computer hardware and software systems commonly employed in GIScience.
  • Demonstrate problem solving skills that employ their understanding of theories, ideas and concepts as well as their mastery of GIScience software and hardware.

Bachelor of Science in Geospatial Information Sciences

Degree Requirements (120 hours)

I. Core Curriculum Requirements 1: 42 hours

    A. Communication (6 hours)
    B. Social and Behavioral Sciences (15 hours)
    C. Humanities and Fine Arts (6 hours)
    D. Mathematics and Quantitative Reasoning (6 hours)
    E. Science (9 hours)

    1 Curriculum Requirements can be fulfilled by other approved courses, including courses from accredited institutions of higher education. The courses listed here provide the most efficient way of satisfying both core curriculum and major requirements.

II. Major Requirements: 52 hours

    Major Preparatory Courses (17 hours)
    CS 1136 Computer Science Laboratory
    CS 1336 Programming Fundamentals
    CS 1337 Computer Science I
    CS 3333 Data Structures
    SOCS 3361 Social Issues and Ethics in Computer Science and Engineering
    SOCS 3405 Introduction to Social Statistics with Lab
    Major Core Courses (19 hours)
    GEOG 3304 Tools for Spatial Analysis
    GEOG 4380 Spatial Concepts and Organization
    GEOS 3110 Environmental Geology Laboratory
    GISC 2301 Introduction to Geospatial Information Science
    GISC 2302 Introduction to Geodesy
    GISC 3301 Introduction to Remote Sensing
    GISC 3323 Geographic Information Systems
    Major Related Courses (16 hours)
    BA 3351 Introduction to Management Information Systems
    CGS 4352 Human Computer Interactions I
    GEOG 3357 Spatial Dimensions of Health and Disease
    GEOG 3372 Population and Development
    GEOS 2406 Geospatial Science and Methods

III. Elective Requirements: 26 hours

    Advanced Electives (6 hours)
    Any non-GISC class that is either (i) upper division, or (ii) lower division but requires at least one prerequisite course.


    Free Electives (20 hours)
    This requirement may be satisfied with lower- and upper-division courses from any field of study. Students must complete at least 51 hours of upper-division credit to qualify for graduation.