Two professionals working on a large interactive map.

Master of Science 

Geographic Information Science

Program of Study

The geography department has a strong reputation for providing advanced training in remote sensing, spatial statistics, cartography, programming, and data analysis.

The master’s curriculum includes a full introduction to remote sensing and GPS applications as well as a comprehensive introduction to GIS programming in Python. 


Core Courses 

  • Spatial Statistics
  • Remote Sensing I
  • Remote Sensing II
  • Advanced Cartography
  • Advanced GIS
  • Seminar in Geographic Information Systems

Elective Courses

Choose five of the following courses:

  • Research Design
  • Ecological Modeling
  • GIS for Social Sciences
  • Landscape Ecology
  • Fundamentals of Applied Global Positioning Systems
  • Seminar in Remote Sensing of the Environment
  • Graduate Internship in Geography
  • Independent Study in Geography
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Public Health


Capstone: GIS Project Development

In the capstone course, you integrate what you’ve learned throughout the program and solve a real but small-scale problem using your knowledge of and skills in cartography, GPS, GIS, or remote sensing.

Additional Information

See the Graduate Bulletin for details.

For more information, contact Dr. Rui Li at [email protected].

GIS Resources and Research

UAlbany Resources

  • Top-tier Esri license for all computers on campus 
  • Free, one-year Esri license for your personal computer 
  • Open source GIS software such as QGIS and Grass now used in many classes
  • Cartography developed with Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, ArcGIS, and more

Areas of Research 

Shiguo Jiang: Spatial statistics and use of remotely sensed imagery; agricultural transformation of forested areas in Belize.

Rui Li: Human wayfinding activities in built and natural environments.

Jim Mower: Uses of augmented reality for navigation and landscape visualization; algorithms for pen- and ink-style renderings of landscapes.

Alex Buyantuev (PhD student in informatics with GIS focus): Received NSF Major Instrument Program research grant to purchase, operate, and maintain a fleet of heavy-lift drones, primarily for environmental remote sensing.

Internships and Career Paths

Graduate Student Internships

At UAlbany, you’ll have the opportunity to complete internships with state agencies, NGOs, international companies, or nonprofit organizations that use geographic mapping technologies to fulfill their missions. Recent placement locations include:

  • NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
  • NYS Department of Health
  • NYS Office of the Attorney General

Career Paths in GIS

After earning your master’s, you’ll be ready for a range of careers that require expertise in spatial analysis technologies and applications that utilize geographic positioning systems.

Program alumni pursue GIS-related employment with regional, state, and federal government agencies, civil engineering corporations, private-sector consulting companies, environmental protection and land management firms, and nonprofit groups that utilize social and spatial data.

Sample job titles:

  • Digital Cartographer
  • Geographic Intelligence Expert I
  • Geospatial Program Manager
  • GIS Visualization Analyst
  • Land Use Planner
  • Remote Sensing Specialist
  • Senior GIS Project Coordinator

Some students continue on to earn doctorates in geography and related areas.


International Students

This degree is designated as a STEM program. International students maintaining F-1 status are allowed to apply for up to 12 months of post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) following completion/graduation from their degree program. Currently, this degree program is also designated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as an eligible degree for the F-1 STEM OPT work authorization extension; students who secure qualifying employment may be eligible to apply for the STEM OPT extension for a cumulative total of up to 36 months of F-1 OPT work authorization.

Admissions Requirements
  • Fall: Rolling
  • Spring: Contact the Department
  • Summer: Not Available

There is no departmental assistantship consideration for this program.

Required Application Materials
  • Transcripts from all schools attended
  • Three letters of recommendation
Special Notes

This program offers an internship, field experience, study abroad component, or clinical experience in the course listing as an option to fulfill course requirements. Students who have previously been convicted of a felony are advised that their prior criminal history may impede their ability to complete the requirements of certain academic programs and/or to meet licensure requirements for certain professions. If applicants have concerns about this matter please contact the Dean’s Office of the intended academic program.

Student Learning Objectives

Learning objectives that UAlbany students are expected to attain through their course of study within their academic program.

Master of Science
  • Demonstrate facility with standard techniques of spatial analysis
  • Understand the operation and application of standard software and hardware tools for data acquisition and analysis
  • Achieve facility in the fundamental methodologies and tools necessary for the analysis of spatially-related data and the communication of their results