Complete Guide to an Online GIS Degree

Quick Facts
Accreditation: Institutional
Degree Levels: Bachelor's, Master's, and Certificate
Avg Tuition: $24,150
Avg Salary: $81,508

Online geographic information systems (GIS) degrees are available at the bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate levels. Geographic information systems (GIS) is the science of capturing, storing, manipulating, analyzing, and managing different types of geographical or spacial data. People study GIS because it aids in solving a number of spatial problems such as creating maps, locating geographic data, measuring physical characteristics of the earth, and extracting information from structured sets of geographic data.

Aspiring GIS professionals should seek regionally accredited programs to ensure the quality of their educations. Accreditation maintains the relevancy of programs and holds them to high standards that will give future employers the confidence that the potential employee has gained the necessary skills and knowledge needed to be an asset to their organization. Students who may need to transfer credits in their future will also find that accreditation will make the process much faster and smoother as many organizations will not accept prior credits if they are not from an accredited institution. 

Find an Online Degree:

Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - Geographic Information Systems Degrees ( 64)

Partner School
Partner School
Full List Accreditation Annual Tuition Recommend Rate
Full List (64)
American Public University System HLC $6,880 71% (146 reviews)
462 Programs, 2 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Environmental Planning and Design
  • Undergraduate Certificate in Regional and Community Planning
Arizona State University HLC $15,691 - $27,372 71% (88 reviews)
223 Programs, 4 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • BA in Geography
  • BS in Geographic Information Science
  • BS in Geography
  • Undergrad Certificate in Geographic Information Science
Auburn University at Montgomery SACS COC $17,140 Add Review
35 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Geographic Information Systems Certificate (graduate and undergraduate)
Cincinnati State Technical and Community College HLC $7,393 Add Review
15 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Advanced Surveying - Certificate
Claremont Graduate University WASC WSCUC $34,836 Add Review
5 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Certificate in Location Intelligence & Spatial Analysis
Clarion University MSCHE $15,636 100% (3 reviews)
68 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Certificate in Geographic Information Systems
Coastal Carolina University SACS COC $25,872 Add Review
15 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Certificate in Geospatial Technologies
Delta State University SACS COC $6,859 0% (2 reviews)
36 Programs, 4 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Geospatial Analysis and Intelligence
  • Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences - Geospatial Technologies
  • Certificate in Geospatial Analysis and Intelligence
  • Master of Applied Science in Geospatial Information Technologies
Eastern Illinois University HLC $13,868 Add Review
37 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Master of Business Administration - Geographic Information Systems Option
Elmhurst College HLC $36,370 0% (1 review)
30 Programs, 5 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • BS in Information Technology - Geographic Information Systems (Degree Completion)
  • Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems
  • MBA in Geography and GIS
  • MS in Geographic Information Systems
Emporia State University HLC $19,918 Add Review
65 Programs, 2 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Certificate in Geospatial Analysis
  • Master of Science in Informatics - Geoinformatics
Ferris State University HLC $18,588 Add Review
41 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Geographic Information Systems Certificate
Florida Atlantic University SACS COC $17,276 100% (4 reviews)
51 Programs, 4 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Advanced Geographic Information Systems Certificate
  • Bachelor of Arts in Geoscience
  • Geographic Information Systems Certificate
  • Master of Science in Geoscience - Geographic Information Systems
George Mason University SACS COC $34,370 Add Review
58 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Undergraduate Certificate in GeoManagement
Humboldt State University WASC WSCUC $19,373 Add Review
5 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Certificate in Geospatial
Johns Hopkins University MSCHE $52,170 Add Review
323 Programs, 2 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • MS in Geographic Information Systems
  • Post-Bachelor's Certificate in Geographic Information Systems
Kennesaw State University SACS COC $8,066 - $17,329 75% (4 reviews)
97 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Undergraduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science
Kent State University at Kent HLC $18,544 100% (1 review)
111 Programs, 7 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate - Cyber Geographic Information Science
  • Graduate Certificate - Environmental Geographic Information Science
  • Graduate Certificate - Geographic Information Science
  • Master of Geographic Information Science
Marshall University HLC $17,856 Add Review
41 Programs, 3 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Geography
  • Bachelor of Science in Geography
  • Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Information Science (GIS) - Basic
Michigan State University HLC $39,406 100% (3 reviews)
93 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Professional Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Michigan Technological University HLC $32,318 100% (1 review)
20 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Master of Science in Integrated Geospatial Technology
Mississippi State University SACS COC $22,358 0% (1 review)
83 Programs, 3 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Master of Science in Geosciences - Applied Meteorology
  • Master of Science in Geosciences - Environmental Geosciences
  • Master of Science in Geosciences - Teachers in Geosciences
North Carolina A&T State University SACS COC $19,416 100% (1 review)
55 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Geomatics
North Carolina State University SACS COC $27,406 67% (3 reviews)
110 Programs, 2 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Information Science
  • Master of Geospatial Information Science and Technology
North Dakota State University - Main Campus HLC $20,692 Add Review
34 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • M.S. in Transportation & Urban Systems
Northeastern State University HLC $14,022 100% (1 review)
25 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Certificate in Geographic Information Systems
Northeastern University NECHE $49,497 100% (10 reviews)
314 Programs, 10 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems
  • Graduate Certificate in Remote Sensing
  • Master of Arts in Homeland Security - Geospatial Services (Non-Thesis Option)
  • Master of Arts in Homeland Security - Geospatial Services (Thesis Option)
Northern Arizona University HLC $24,841 72% (18 reviews)
159 Programs, 6 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate Geographic Information Systems
  • Master of Science in Applied Geospatial Sciences - Custom Geography, Planning and Recreation
  • Master of Science in Applied Geospatial Sciences - Geospatial Technologies
  • Master of Science in Applied Geospatial Sciences - Geospatial Technologies, Professional Science Masters
Northern Illinois University HLC $23,816 Add Review
38 Programs, 2 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Certificate of Graduate Study in Geographic Information Analysis
  • Certificate of Undergraduate Study in Geographic Information Systems
Northwest Missouri State University HLC $12,908 Add Review
15 Programs, 2 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science
  • M.S.: Geographic Information Science
Ohio University-Main Campus HLC $21,360 67% (3 reviews)
92 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Certificate in Geospatial Information Science - GIS & Cartography
Oregon State University NWCCU $29,457 43% (7 reviews)
154 Programs, 5 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Geography and Geospatial Science
  • Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science
  • Master of Natural Resources in Geographic Information Science
  • Master of Public Policy in Geographic Information Science
Pennsylvania State University-World Campus MSCHE $13,988 67% (3 reviews)
231 Programs, 8 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Geodesign
  • Graduate Certificate in GeoSpatial Intelligence Analytics
  • Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Programming and Web Map Development
  • Master of Geographic Information Systems
Sam Houston State University SACS COC $18,022 100% (2 reviews)
65 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Master of Science in Geographic Information Systems
South Dakota State University HLC $11,689 Add Review
60 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Undergraduate Certificate in Geographic Information Sciences
Southern New Hampshire University Online NECHE $11,520 61% (324 reviews)
281 Programs, 5 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • BA Anthropology - Geospatial Technologies
  • BS Environmental Science - Geospatial Technologies
  • BS Geosciences
  • BS Geosciences - Geospatial Technology
Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi SACS COC $18,925 50% (2 reviews)
35 Programs, 2 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • MS in Geospatial Surveying Engineering, Non-Thesis Option
  • MS in Geospatial Surveying Engineering, Thesis Option
Texas A&M University-College Station SACS COC $36,606 67% (3 reviews)
118 Programs, 2 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science
  • Master of Geoscience
University of Arizona HLC $11,800 100% (2 reviews)
166 Programs, 4 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Geographic Information Systems Technology
  • Geographic Certificate in Professional Geographic Information System Technology
  • Master of Science in Geographic Information Systems Technology
  • Master of Science in Mining, Geological and Geophysical Engineering - Mine Information and Production Technology
University of Arkansas HLC $24,308 100% (2 reviews)
78 Programs, 2 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Certificate of Proficiency Geospatial Technologies
  • Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Technologies
University of Central Arkansas HLC $15,047 Add Review
26 Programs, 2 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Graduate GIS Certificate
  • Master of Geographic Information Systems
University of Colorado Boulder HLC $36,220 100% (1 review)
44 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Professional Certificate in Earth Data Analytics - Foundations
University of Colorado Denver HLC $25,259 100% (2 reviews)
104 Programs, 2 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Geomatics and Geographic Information Systems
  • Master of Engineering - Geomatics and Geographic Information Systems
University of Connecticut NECHE $36,948 100% (1 review)
29 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems
University of Denver HLC $48,669 Add Review
173 Programs, 3 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems
  • Master of Science in Geographic Information Sciences (GISc)
  • Master of Science in Information and Communications Technology - Geographic Information Systems
University of Florida SACS COC $28,659 60% (5 reviews)
269 Programs, 6 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • BA in Business Administration - Geology
  • BA in Geography
  • Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems
  • Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Analysis
University of Idaho NWCCU $23,812 100% (2 reviews)
58 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Geographic Information Systems Certificate
University of Illinois at Springfield HLC $20,938 100% (7 reviews)
55 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems
University of Iowa HLC $30,609 Add Review
63 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Undergraduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science
University of Louisville SACS COC $26,286 Add Review
61 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Certificate in Applied Geospatial Technologies
University of Maine NECHE $30,282 Add Review
48 Programs, 4 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Surveying Engineering Technology
  • Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems
  • Graduate Certificate in Surveying Engineering
  • Master of Science in Spatial Informatics
University of North Alabama SACS COC $15,128 Add Review
79 Programs, 2 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Master of Science in Geographic Information Science (Project Option)
  • Master of Science in Geographic Information Science (Thesis Option)
University of North Dakota HLC $20,047 67% (3 reviews)
195 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Sciences
University of Northern Colorado HLC $21,132 Add Review
61 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Geography Education
University of Redlands WASC WSCUC $48,072 Add Review
12 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Master of Business Administration - Master of Business Administration - Location Analytics
University of Southern California WASC WSCUC $54,259 67% (12 reviews)
115 Programs, 4 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science & Technology
  • Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Intelligence
  • Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Leadership
  • Master of Science in Geographic Information Science and Technology
University of Toledo HLC $18,885 Add Review
68 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies - Geography
The University of West Florida SACS COC $19,241 100% (4 reviews)
88 Programs, 4 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science
  • Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science - Archaeology
  • MS in Geographic Information Science
  • Undergraduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science
University of Wisconsin - Madison HLC $34,783 0% (1 review)
42 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Master of Science in Cartography and Geographic Information Systems
Utah State University NWCCU $21,520 100% (12 reviews)
65 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Certificate in Geographic Information Science
Walden University HLC Not Provided 49% (496 reviews)
661 Programs, 2 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Doctor of Public Administration (DPA) - Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • PhD in Public Policy and Administration - Geographic Information Systems
West Virginia University HLC $23,616 100% (1 review)
53 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis
Western Illinois University HLC $12,897 Add Review
44 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Bachelor of Science in Geography and Geographic Information Science
Western Kentucky University SACS COC $25,512 0% (1 review)
147 Programs, 1 in Geographic Information Systems (view all)
  • Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science

Online Geographic Information Systems Degree Overview & Career Information

Many positions within the field will require a bachelor's degree, which will take fours years to complete comprising of 120-credit hours of coursework. Online master's degree programs are also available to prepare professionals to take on senior roles in more specialized areas. Students can receive their graduate diplomas in two years depending on their choice of full-time or part-time study. Professionals who are looking to advance their careers but don't want to commit to a full graduate degree program can participate in a post bachelor's online certificate program, which can be completed in a year or less.  

View Geographic Information Systems Programs View Geographic Information Systems Programs

Online Bachelor's Degrees in Geographic Information Systems

By participating in an online bachelor's degree program in geographic information systems students will learn the mapping and programing skills needed to be successful in the industry. Key courses within a geographic information systems curriculum include website design, data base design and management, cyber law and ethics, geospatial programing, information technology communications, computer platforms technology, and information technology portfolio planning. A typical online bachelor's degree program is comprised of 120 total credit hours and will take students four years to finish. Many graduates go on to work as geospatial scientists, remote sensing technologists, user interface developers, and geographic information systems analysts. Applicants who wish to participate in an online bachelor's degree program will need to submit their high school diploma or GED certificate along with transcripts. Applicants will also be required to submit transcripts from each post-secondary they attended. an admissions essay may also be required. 

View Bachelor's Programs View Bachelor's Programs

Online Master's in Geographic Information Systems

Professionals who hold an undergraduate degree may find that going back to school to earn their online master's degree will aide in career advancement. An online graduate program will take participants two years to complete the required 36 to 46-credit hours. Students will develop advanced technical competencies through classes such as advanced spatial analysis, managing organizational culture, business applications of geographic information systems, crisis mapping for humanitarian action, geospatial analysis of crime, problem solving with GIS, spatial databases, and applied multivariate statistical analysis. In some cases it may be a program requirement for students to complete a thesis prior to graduation. Admission requirements will include an undergraduate degree with a GPA or 3.0 or higher, a statement of purpose outlining the applicants educational and professional goals, a resume, and two or three letters of recommendation. Some schools also require an applicant to submit their GRE scores. Upon completion of an online graduate program, graduates will be equipped to take on designing and management roles in the areas of local government, transportation planning, and environmental resource management. Online master degree programs in geographic information systems can be pursued at the university level. 

View Master's Programs View Master's Programs

Online Doctoral Degrees in Geographic Information Systems

While not common, there are online doctoral programs available that focus on Geographic Information Systems. These programs typically have GIS as a specialization of the main degree, as opposed to being the focus of the degree. For instance, Walden University offers an online Doctor of Public Administration with a Geographic Information Systems concentration. Students enrolled in this type of program will take courses such as Fundamentals of Mapping and Geographic Information Systems, GIS Research Methodology, Public Policy and Finance, and Spatial Analysis and Modeling. Research and a dissertation will also be required. Students will learn the skills needed to use GIS technology to do things like come up with evacuation plans in the event of a natural disaster, create systems of transportation, study the way diseases spread across locations, and other activities that help the public. This program will require close to 90 quarter hours of work and will likely take three or more years to complete.

Upon graduating, these professionals may find work in such positions as policy analyst, consultant, and in senior management or executive positions. Individuals who have earned a PhD can also find jobs teaching at the university level and conducting research. This type of online program can be found at the university level, and admission requires a master's degree. Other typical requirements include a resume, letters of recommendation, test scores, and a writing sample.

View Doctoral Programs View Doctoral Programs

Online Certificates in Geographic Information Systems

Online post baccalaureate certificate programs are available at a variety of colleges and universities and can be completed in as little as a year. Participating in an online certificate program can help graduates and professionals advance their careers as architects, engineers, environmental scientists, surveyors, and mapping technicians. The courses that will aide in preparing students for such career advancements include problem solving with GIS, professionalism in GIS&T, cartography and visualization, and remote sensing techniques. Programs lengths vary and may range from 11 to 24 credit hours. Time to completion is generally less than a year. In order to qualify for a post baccalaureate certificate degree program the applicant must possess a bachelor's degree in geographic information systems or a related discipline. 

View Certificate Programs View Certificate Programs

The Importance of an Accredited Online Geographic Information Systems Degree 

Regional accreditation is the process in which an outside, non-profit organizations conducts a quality review on a a specific program or school. This is something that should be taken into consideration before making a final commitment to a school. These quality reviews ensure that the program is taking all of the necessary steps to provide the best education for the students involved. Reviews are conducted on things like curriculum, facilities, teaching material, student resources, and faculty. Students who may be in need of financial aid will want to apply for accredited programs because federal financial aide is only available through accreditation. Many employers in the professional world will not recognize a degree unless it has been received through an accredited program. For this reason accreditation can make the job search upon graduation a much easier process. Lastly, many institutions will only accept transfer credits that have been accredited. If a student feels that they may need to transfer institutions anytime in their future this must be considered. 

Careers in Geographic Information Systems

In a world that is becoming increasingly reliant on various new technologies, there are many career options available to those that earn an online degree in geographic information systems. Graduates might find work in such fields as environmental resource management, urban planning, or cartography. Those who go to work in the field of cartography using geographic information systems will likely work under the title of geographic information specialist. These specialists will use GIS to create and update maps that digitally present spatial information. These maps will be used in a variety of settings, like planning the use of land, marketing, geology, and environmental studies.

Another notable option for online GIS graduates is to find work as a geographer. These professionals can work for the federal government or private organizations, and their job involves creating maps based on a variety of geographic data. These maps are not always just maps of land features or cities; they may also include visual representation of things like cultural structures or political features. Geographers will look at geographic data and combine it with information relating to things like economics, health, or the environment, and then create a map that accurately represents this information. This information is used for a variety of purposes, from planning the layout of roads to determining the best way to respond to a disaster. Geographers usually need a bachelor's degree to find work within the federal government or in entry-level jobs. A master's will help them to advance in their career.

References

0% of users found this page helpful Was this page helpful?
This website offers school details to prospective students as an informational resource. The appearance of a school listing on this website should not be interpreted as an endorsement by the school of this site.
Recommendation rate refers to the percent of students who said they would recommend this school based on reviews submitted to our partner site, GradReports.com.
This indicates that a school has an annual tuition of $15,000 or less as reported to the National Center for Education Statistics or based on the school's website.