College of Social and Behavioral Sciences2017-2018

Department of Geography, Planning, and Recreation

Applied Geospatial Sciences, Master of Science

  • Available Emphasis Areas:
  • Custom Geography, Planning and Recreation - Emphasis (ending Summer 2022)
  • Geospatial Technologies - Emphasis (ending Summer 2022)
  • Planning and Recreation - Emphasis (ending Summer 2022)
  • Geospatial Technologies, Professional Science Masters - Emphasis (ending Summer 2021)
This plan will not be available to new students after Summer 2022

This masters degree is designed for students who want to pursue a career in managing land, community, and environmental spatial systems, including geographic information systems (GIS), geodesign, community planning and development, and recreation. In addition to engaging coursework this degree requires a research thesis or applied practicum project overseen by a faculty committee.  

This degree is approved by the Western Regional Graduate Program.


What Can I Do with a Master of Science in Applied Geospatial Sciences?

The MS in Applied Geospatial Sciences at Northern Arizona University can provide you the tools to engage in a lifetime of intellectual adventure in research and teaching, or a career in the private or public sectors. The required coursework will increase your expertise in specialized areas related to community and sustainable planning, GIS data analysis and mapping, area and regional studies, and focused education in geospatial technologies. Faculty work closely to assist you with geographic research, and applied community development as you explore Flagstaff 's own physical and cultural geography. Our location on the diverse Colorado Plateau, coupled with its mix of ethnic roots (Native American, Latino, and western European), make this mountain town a perfect geography classroom.

Career opportunities that might be pursued:
  • Community planner or developer
  • Land, utility, or land resource manager
  • Sustainability program director
  • Recreation resource manager
  • Community college instructor

With further education, one of these paths is possible:
  • International development
  • Business and political marketing
  • Mobile and big data analysis 
  • University professor

University Requirements

  • To receive a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject areas, consisting of at least 30 units of graduate-level courses. (Many master’s degree programs require more than 30 units.)

    You must additionally complete:

    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s). This may include a thesis.
    • All graduate work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.
    • All work toward the master’s degree must be completed within six consecutive years. The six years begins with the semester and year of admission to the program.
    The full policy can be viewed here.



In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Minimum Units for Completion 36
Additional Admission Requirements Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
Fieldwork Experience/Internship Optional
Emphasis, Minor, or Certificate Required

An emphasis, minor, or certificate is required for this major. 

Thesis Thesis may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.
Oral Defense Oral Defense may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.
Research Individualized research may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.
Progression Plan Link View Program of Study


Additional Admission Requirements
  • Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
    • NAU Graduate Online application is required for all programs. Details on admission requirements are included in the online application.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution
    • Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent. 
    • Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
    • Transcripts
    • For details on graduate admission policies, please visit the Graduate Admissions Policy
    • International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy 

    Individual program admission requirements include:

    • GRE® revised General Test
    • 3 letters of recommendation
    • Personal statement or essay
Master's Requirements
  • Take the following 36 units:

    Applied Geospatial Sciences Core (7 units)

    • GSP 681, GSP 687 (4 units)
    • At least 3 units of GSP or PRM graduate level courses selected with your faculty advisor's consent (3 units)

  • Emphasis Area, Select One (with your faculty advisor's approval):
    • Geospatial Technologies Emphasis (29 units)
      Select coursework from the following:
      Geospatial Technologies, Professional Science Masters Emphasis (29 units)
      Selection coursework from the following:
      Planning and Recreation Emphasis (29 units)
      Select coursework from the following:
      Custom Geography, Planning and Recreation Emphasis (29 units)
      Select coursework from the following:
      • With your faculty advisor's approval, select at least 13 units from any combination of Graduate-level Geographic Sciences and Community Planning (GSP) courses and Parks and Recreation Management (PRM) courses.
      • A professional practicum GSP 689 or thesis GSP 699 is required (6 units)
      • Other Northern Arizona University graduate-level courses, with your advisor's approval (up to 10 units)
  • Thesis and Professional Practicum (6 units)
    • GSP 699 -Thesis is for the research, writing, and oral defense of an approved thesis. Please be aware that you can only count 6 units of thesis credit toward your degree. However, you may end up taking more units because you must enroll for it each term while you are working on your thesis. 
    • GSP 689 - Professional Practicum is for a project-based internship experience in a professional work environment, including the writing and oral presentation of an approved practicum project. Please be aware that you can only count 6 units of professional practicum credit toward your degree. The final practicum units will not be passed until the oral presentation and project report have been accepted by your faculty advisor.
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your faculty advisor.

  • Accelerated Bachelor's to Master's Program 

    This program is available as an Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Plan. Accelerated Programs provide the opportunity for outstanding undergraduates working on their bachelor’s degree to simultaneously begin work on a master’s degree, which may allow them to complete both degrees in an accelerated manner by applying 6 units toward both degrees. Students must apply to the accelerated program and the master’s program by the application deadline, and meet all requirements as listed on the Accelerated Bachelor's to Master's Programs to be considered for admission. Admission to programs is competitive and qualified applicants may be denied because of limits on the number of students admitted each year. Be sure to speak with your advisor regarding your interest in Accelerated Programs.

Campus Availability

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