Students and faculty presenting Capstone projects

M.S. in Geographic Information Science & Technology

M.S. in Geographic Information Science & Technology

Geographic Information Science (GIS) is an emerging field of study centered on the acquisition, management, analysis, and dissemination of information that is spatially-referenced to locations on, above, and below the surface of the earth. 

This field is highly trans-disciplinary with substantial and growing importance in a number of traditional academic disciplines and related professions including:

  • City and regional planning
  • Architecture
  • Civil and environmental engineering
  • Earth and atmospheric sciences
  • Environmental science
  • Public policy
  • Sustainability studies

The Master of Science in Geographic Information Science and Technology (MS-GIST) degree is a STEM designated program.

Short-term Study with Life-Long Impact

Students can complete the 34-credit hour curriculum for the Master of Science in Geographic Information Science and Technology (MS-GIST) in one calendar year. The curriculum includes two semesters of full-time coursework and a capstone project course offered during the summer. 

Part-time students may complete the program in two or three academic years plus one summer session for the capstone project and systems design courses.

The MS-GIST degree provides students with a common core of required knowledge, a strong foundation of technology skills, and the flexibility to apply those skills to a broad range of professional and academic fields. 

Our MS-GIST graduates have the option to continue to view themselves as members of traditional professions such as engineering, environmental science, or architecture, or to place themselves within the newly-emerging professions directly related to geospatial technologies.

A basic understanding of GIS technology is required as a prerequisite of the degree program. This may be achieved through one of four options:

  • CP 4510 Geographic Information Systems (3-0-3) or
  • CP 6514 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (3-0-3) or
  • Equivalent coursework at another institution (as evaluated by the program director)
  • One year of equivalent professional experience (as evaluated by the program director)

The required GIS courses (with lecture hours, lab hours, and credit hours) are:

  • CP 6066 Visualization for Planners (1)
  • CP 6024 Quantitative and Computer Methods (4)
  • CP 6521 Advanced GIS (3)
  • CP 6531 Introduction to Remote Sensing (3)
  • CP 6581 Programming for GIS (3)
  • CP 6591 GIS Professionalization (1)
  • CP 6592 Capstone Project Research (1)
  • CP 6595 GIS Systems Design and Management (3)
  • CP 6596 GIS Capstone Project (3)

Beyond the basic core of geospatial technology there exists a wide range of specialized GIS data sources and analytical methods.  MS-GIST students are required to take a minimum of two specialized GIS courses that focus on the application of GIS technology to specific areas. These courses must be approved by the MS-GIST program director. 

They may include (but are not limited to):

  • CP 6570 Socioeconomic GIS (3-0-3)
  • CP 6541 Environmental GIS (3-0-3)
  • CP 6542 Transport & GIS (3-0-3)
  • INFO 530 Geographic Information Systems for Public Health (in the Emory School of Public Health)

Students can select two additional courses as free electives. These will typically include additional specialized GIS courses or courses in GIS-related substantive areas such as city planning, architecture, public policy, civil engineering, or environmental engineering.


The core of the MS-GIST program is delivered through a body of courses offered by the School of City and Regional Planning. These include courses on quantitative methods, advanced geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, transportation GIS, environmental GIS, and socioeconomic GIS.

A full breakdown of the requirements can be found in the MS-GIST Student Manual and on the official GT course catalog.

A Few Details About Our Program

  • GIS is very data-centric and all of our courses integrate some sort of data science aspects in them. If you are looking to take specific Data Science/Analytics courses, you can also take two free electives (from anywhere on campus) as part of the degree. The class Climate Change Analytics has the word analytics in the title. 
  • We do not offer courses explicitly about machine learning, although many of our classes have programming components in them. If you want to take a machine learning course, it is possible to do so as one of your free electives.
  • You can take elective computer science courses as a MS-GIST student. You get two free electives, one each semester. These can be any courses at Georgia Tech 
  • You can take our graduate courses in GIS if you are enrolled in another graduate program at Georgia Tech. The only courses that are 100% reserved for MS-GIST students are our 1-credit course and the Capstone course in the summer.
  • To be considered for a fellowship or TAship: you must apply by the priority deadline (January 15) and we highly recommend that you submit GRE scores.
Feature photo of Clio Andris

Meet the MS-GIST Program Director

Clio Andris

Clio Andris is an associate professor in the School of City and Regional Planning and the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech. She directs the Friendly Cities Lab and conducts research on mathematical models of social networks, social flows, and interpersonal relationships, applied to issues of urban planning, visualization, transportation, and geography.

We are here to make the most out of your Master's education. We encourage those interested in the MS-GIST program to reach out to Clio Andris with questions about pursuing a MS-GIST at Georgia Tech.


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