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Geographic Information Science

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Program Description

The BS degree in Geographic Information Science (GIS) is a new degree in one of the fastest growing STEM areas of science and information technology. This degree provides the foundation for a career in the emerging field that integrates computer science, information technology with geographic concepts and techniques to support management and resilience of earth's natural environmental, urban and human systems.  GIS uses massive data sets from satellite imagery, drones, digital mapping, GPS, geospatial statistics to create knowledge to analyze and solve 21st Century problems.

Geography has long used maps and images as models of the earth surface and physical/human processes. The advent of digital cartography, satellite imagery, global positioning systems and geographically-informed digital databases (Google Earth, vehicle navigation systems, etc) has transformed the use of traditional geographic theory, methodology and techniques to 21st Century science and technology to address issues confronting the earth and human societies. The Department of Labor estimates that employment for Geographic Information Scientists will increase 29% across the United States and 105% in Utah by the year 2022.

Geographic Information Science is a federally recognized STEM discipline allied with the Cartography and Geospatial Intelligence designations. The Geography Department is designated by the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), the US Geological Survey (USGS ) as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Geospatial Sciences, and the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) as a development center.

The Student Experience

For academic enrichment and the chance to network, students can complete an undergraduate research project or internship: both options allow you to pursue an individual area of interest while also gaining valuable hands-on and professional skills. Additional involvement opportunities include the Geography Club.

Academic and Career Opportunities

For academic enrichment, consider completing a research project or internship. After graduation, students can pursue careers in cartography, hydrology, and surveying. You may also combine your GIS skills with other abilities and specialize in GIS-related fields: become a GIS software developer or data manager, a GIS systems analyst or administrator, or continue your studies at the graduate level to teach GIS or conduct research in the field.

Additional Career Opportunities Include:

  • Department of Defense
  • US Department of Transportation
  • Urban Planning
  • United States Geological Survey (USGS)
  • Natural Resource Management (Forest Service, Fish and Game) Environmental consulting and Conservation Non-Profits Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's)
  • Spatial Software/Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI)


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Last Updated: 7/9/24