The MS GIS degree requires a total number of 42 credits. The first three terms include  Geographic Information Science courses paired with Geographic Information Technology courses. Science courses  ensure that students have the critical foundations for the relevant technology and explore broader issues related to different applications. Technology courses are usually preceded by an Esri instructor-led course. These skills are then put into practice through class work on short-term supervised projects, helping students integrate and assimilate the training material.

Each student  is required to undertake a Major Individual Project that applies geographic information technology and/or science to a problem of their choice. Each term includes a course directed towards building the student’s skills in project design and implementation. Opportunities for projects will be explored with GIS practitioners in public and private organizations nationally and internationally.

The Professional Practice series is composed of a set of year-long courses. The weekly GIS Colloquium gives students exposure to some of the cutting edge research and developments in GIS and the opportunity to hear from the many leading GIS scholars and managers who visit Redlands. Our GIS Workshop series provide short intense learning opportunities in a range of topics, such as GIS Law, Projections and Coordinate Systems, LIDAR Imagery, GPS and Drone Mapping, and Spatial Gaming and Analytics.

*required courses

GIS 611* – Fundamentals of Geographic Information. (2) Modeling geographic reality in information systems, determining and representing location, basic spatial concepts, solving spatial problems, and geographic data sources.

GIS 612* – Information Systems Foundations for GIS. (2) Provides fundamental theoretical knowledge about information systems in general and the unique demands created by geographic information. Includes data modeling and knowledge representation for spatial data, database schemas and models, consistency constraints and architectural principles for geographic information systems.

GIS 615* – Communicating Geographic Information. (2) Begins with basic theory of graphic design and communication as they apply to GIS and the fundamentals of cartography for print and interactive online maps, while exploring statistical mapping and methods for exploratory data analysis and scientific visualization. 

GIS 616* – Statistics & Spatial Analysis. (2) Combines a survey of statistical foundations needed by GIS practitioners with a detailed understanding of the range of spatial analytical techniques and the skills necessary for expert application of these techniques to specific problems. Includes fundamental concepts needed to understand advanced rule-based, statistical, process-based and deterministic methods of spatial analysis.

GIS 617* – Programming for GIS. (2) This is an advanced course for students who wish to develop their skills as GIS programmers. Topics include designing program code to handle various coordinate systems, projections, topologic data structures, spatial indexing methods, n-dimensional trees, and cartographic simplification.

GIS 621* – Introduction to GI Technology. (2) Provides necessary foundation of skills in geographic information technology used throughout the program. Group and individual work on supervised class projects supplementing taught theory and technology concepts.

GIS 622* – Creating and Managing Geodatabases. (2) Focuses on the important database component of GI Technology. Following brief review of fundamental database skills, students complete an intensive one-week training course to acquire geodatabase design skills. Group and individual work on supervised class projects supplementing taught theory and technology concepts follows the training segment.

GIS 624* – Customizing GIS for the Web. (2) Provides students with the basic skills needed to create WebGIS applications. Following a brief review of programming skills, students complete an intensive one-week training course to acquire the skills necessary to put GIS on the web. Extensive group work on related class projects follows the training segment.

GIS 625* – Introduction to Image Data. (1) This course will cover the fundamentals of remotely sensed image data – physics, spectral signature, and basics of visual interpretation. Students will be required to acquire image data and perform extended interpretation of their study area.

GIS 630* – MS GIS Colloquium (2) Provides students exposure to advanced research and innovative developments in GI Systems and Science and the opportunity to hear presentations from GIS researchers, analysts, developers, and managers who live in or visit the Redlands region. Active participation in each term's colloquia is required for graduation.

GIS 640* – GIS Software Training (3) A series of intensive 2 to 5-day hands-on training courses in the use of the ArcGIS suite of software products; approximately 25 days of training is required during the program.

GIS 660 – GIS Workshops (2) Topic-oriented workshops in various GIS applications will be offered for the students to choose “cafeteria style”; approximately 10 workshops will be offered per calendar year.

GIS 661 – Topics courses (1-2 cr each) Designed to reflect technology and curriculum trends and issues.

GIS 663 – Fundamentals of Remote Sensing. (1) Remote sensing is the process of collecting data about objects or landscapes without coming in direct physical contact with them. This course will provide a comprehensive overview of remote sensing systems and related techniques, including the methods involved in rectifying, interpreting and classifying remote sensing data such as satellite images.

GIS 665 – Advanced Topics in Spatial Analysis. (1) This course is offered to students who are interested in learning advanced spatial analysis methods. Major topics include spatial point pattern analysis, spatial autocorrelation, and spatial regression models.

GIS 671/2/3 – Individualized Study (1-2 cr each) This course is used to build courses for independent study or to provide for individualized graduate level work in existing undergraduate courses or individualized study. 

GIS 691* – Project Concept & Scope. (2) The objective of this course is to initiate the concept and scope of the student’s Major Individual Project (MIP). Students will identify their project client and topic, conduct some preliminary research on the topic and write a background paper outlining previous research and studies on their topic.

GIS 692*– Project Initiation & Planning. (1) Students will conduct a feasibility analysis of their MIP concept and develop a plan that establishes the strategic goals, schedule, and budget for solving the problem with a technical solution. The final assignment for this course is a formal Project Plan with the project scope, goals, timeline and budget fully specified.

GIS 693* – Project Analysis & Design. (1) Students will investigate the basic principles of systems analysis and design through a user’s needs assessment and a requirements analysis. The final assignment for this course will be a Project Design Specification defining the system architecture, technical features, and data components. 

GIS 694* – Project Execution. (1) This course covers the basic procedures for executing a GIS project following the systems analysis and design phases, and techniques for successfully executing and managing a GIS project through construction and deployment. 

GIS 695* – Project Implementation. (2) During the fifth term, students in the MS degree program turn their focus to final implementation of their products including the digital interfaces to their GIS (whether stand alone GIS interfaces, ArcIMS implementations, or something else). 

GIS 696A* – Project Completion. (6) In the final term, students in the MS degree program complete all work on their project, prepare an extended report, defend it before their advisory committee and make a public presentation of their work. Successful completion of this project will be determined by each student's advisory committee based on these final submissions.

GIS 696B* – Project Closure. (1) In this final project course, students in the MS degree program close their projects by finalizing all data and related digital materials for permanent archiving or handing off to the client, and perform client training, if necessary.