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Master’s in Geographic Information Science


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Clark has long been at the forefront of geospatial technology. We continue to redefine what remote sensing, mapping, and analytics can tell us about the world today — and tomorrow. If you want to build a future in the field of GIS, you’ve come to the right place.

Our unique M.S. in Geographic Information Science (GIS) program exists as a collaboration between Clark’s Graduate School of Geography, the Department of International Development, Community, and Environment (IDCE), and Clark Labs  — a leading developer of software-based geospatial solutions, founded and housed here at Clark University. The TerrSet/IDRISI platform developed at Clark Labs quickly became one of the most widely used GIS systems in the world, and continues to shape approaches to geospatial problem-solving.

Whether they bring prior GIS experience or not, our students study, research, and ultimately deploy geospatial approaches to solve some of the most pressing challenges facing our society and environment. We work at the cutting edge of areas such as conservation GIS, land use change, public health and environmental justice, food security and humanitarian assistance, and earth system information science. Our four concentration tracks provide an opportunity to study these topics at even greater depth — positioning you for immediate impact in the working world following graduation.

Why Study at Clark?

  • Ranked #15 in the world for development studies by QS World University Rankings
  • Learn GIS programming skills for web mapping, automation, and advanced analytics. Gain the opportunity to work alongside Ron Eastman in Clark Labs on development of the TerrSet/IDRISI software system.
  • Benefit from a personal, dedicated workstation in a Clark lab, fully equipped with a range of GIS and remote sensing software.
  • International students who graduate with a STEM-designated degree may be eligible to remain in the United States for up to 36 months on Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Clark’s GIS Program Prepared Sean McCartney ’15 for a Career at NASA

Sean McCartney ’15 is excited to go to work every single day. At NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, he works among the largest collection of engineers and earth scientists on the planet. Sean consistently applies the fundamentals he learned during his two years in the M.S. in GIS program.

What prepared me for NASA was definitely the two years I spent in the GIS program at Clark. The fundamentals that I learned in geospatial technology and vector raster, and how to apply them, formed a very strong foundation for what I’m doing at NASA.

The Essentials

Program Overview

Clark’s master’s program in GIS combines rigorous academics with widely varied, highly applied learning opportunities. Our two-year program offers ample opportunities to take what you learn in the classroom and put it to work in the wider world through creative engagements with communities, nonprofits, government, and the private sector. By working hands-on with partners, you gain valuable experience applying theories and implementing your creative solutions to complex problems.

In addition, we offer four concentrations within the GIS degree that enable you to focus your studies: GIS for Development and Environment, Conservation Applications, Global and Community Health Applications, and Remote Sensing. Each requires the completion of a set of concentration-specific courses, and each provides a valuable set of skills — and credentials — that will serve you well throughout your career.

  • Mastering the core concepts in GIS and remote sensing
  • Developing high-tech expertise that leads directly to a career
  • Applying GIS tools to real-life problems
  • Coding and developing software applications for GIS
  • Integrating and synthesizing diverse information sources
  • Landscape Ecology
  • Advanced Vector GIS
  • GIS and Map Comparison
  • Advanced Remote Sensing
  • Python Programming


The M.S./GIS program requires the completion of 12 course units, including a series of required courses, prerequisites and electives that vary according to the concentration.

Concentrations include:

  • Geographic Information Science for Development and Environment
  • Conservation Applications
  • Remote Sensing
  • Global and Community Health Applications

Course Catalog

Explore the International Development, Community, and Environment Department.