Master of Science in Spatial Data Science

Online Master's Degree in Spatial Data Science

New sources of location data provide the opportunity to develop solutions to complex problems that face people and the environment we live in. Our Master of Science in Spatial Data Science degree program is designed to prepare students with the analytical and technical capabilities needed to design new geospatial solutions that go beyond typical GIS applications. Through a combination of programming, spatial analysis methods, and applied domain experiences, graduates of this degree program learn how to:

  • Explain and communicate the distinguishing characteristics of spatial data, including how spatial data are created, sensed, stored, manipulated, and represented distinctly compared to other data types
  • Practice the science of spatial analysis and modeling, leveraging advances in geocomputation, geovisual analytics, open geospatial data, and spatial thinking to develop ethically responsible and reproducible workflows across the lifecycle of spatial data science problems
  • Architect, implement, and deploy solutions that advance the state of the art in spatial data science to solve problems by leveraging and integrating contemporary computational, spatial data, and spatial visualization frameworks, including open source options
  • Research, critique, and visually communicate spatial data quality and map spatial analysis results in support of analytical reasoning and ethical decision making in a variety of data intensive spatial data science contexts

Graduates of this program will be able to create new analysis tools and geographic visualizations to support decision-making in a variety of real-world contexts by leveraging the intersections between geographic and data sciences.


The Master of Science in Spatial Data Science is a 33-36 credit degree program in which it is also possible to earn a Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Programming and Web Map Development, a Postbaccalaureate Certificate in GIS, or other certificates in Remote Sensing and Geospatial Intelligence while studying completely online. The basic program structure is described below - please see the official Graduate School Bulletin for a listing of all degree requirements:

Please note that at least 18 credits must be earned at the 500/600 level to earn the M.S. in Spatial Data Science.

Required courses (15 credits)

Course Number Title Credits
GEOG 485 GIS Programming and Software Development 3
GEOG 486 Cartography and Visualization 3
GEOG 580 Geovisual Analytics 3
GEOG 583 Geospatial System Analysis and Design 3
GEOG 586 Geographical Information Analysis 3

Spatial data science methods electives (choose 9 credits)

Course Number Title Credits
GEOG 480 Exploring Imagery and Elevation Data in GIS Applications 3
GEOG 481 Topographic Mapping with Lidar 3
GEOG 482 Making Maps that Matter with GIS 3
GEOG 483 Problem Solving with GIS 3
GEOG 484 GIS Database Development 3
GEOG 489 Advanced Python Programming for GIS 3
GEOG 585 Open Web Mapping 3
GEOG 589 Emerging Trends in Remote Sensing 3
GEOG 861 The Earth is Round and Maps are Flat: Working with Spatial Reference Systems in GIS 3
GEOG 863 Web Application Development for the Geospatial Professional 3
GEOG 865 Cloud and Server GIS 3
GEOG 868 Spatial Data Management for the Geospatial Professional 3
GEOG 883 Remote Sensing Image Analysis and Applications 3
GEOG 884 GIS for the Geospatial Intelligence Professional 3
GEOG 885 Advanced Analytical Methods in Geospatial Intelligence 3
GEOG 892 Geospatial Applications of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) 3
DAAN 862 Analytics Programming in Python 3
DAAN 871 Data Visualization 3
IE 575 Foundations of Predictive Analytics 3
STAT 500 Applied Statistics 3
STAT 508 Applied Data Mining and Statistical Learning 3

Spatial data science application electives (choose 6 credits)

Course Number Title Credits
GEOG 487 Environmental Applications of GIS 3
GEOG 571 Intelligence Analysis, Cultural Geography, and Homeland Security 3
GEOG 587 Conservation GIS 3
GEOG 591 GIS for Health Analysis 3
GEOG 850 Location Intelligence for Business 3
GEOG 858 Spatial Data Science for Emergency Management 3
GEOG 864 Professionalism and Ethics in Geographic Information Science and Technology 3
GEOG 871 Geospatial Technology Project Management 3
GEOG 882 Foundations of Geospatial Intelligence 3
APPDEM 802 Data, GIS, and Applied Demography 3
SOC 579 Spatial Demography 3
GEODZ 511 Geodesign History, Theory, Principles 3
GEODZ 822 Geodesign Models I: Decision and Evaluation  3
METEO 810 Weather and Climate Datasets 3
MKTG 811 Driving Business Success with Marketing Analytics 3

Scholarly paper or research thesis (3 or 6 credits)

Course Number Title Credits
GEOG 570 Individual Studies (Scholarly Paper) 3
GEOG 600 Thesis Research 6

Please note that at least 18 credits must be earned at the 500/600 level to earn the M.S. in Spatial Data Science.

How to apply

We welcome new applicants to the M.S. in Spatial Data Science. You can learn more here about the Admissions and Applications process:

Admissions & Application Process for the M.S. in Spatial Data Science

Let's talk

Have questions? Want to talk to a current student in the program? We're happy to talk to you about planning the next phase of your career development. Drop us a line!