College of Social and Behavioral Sciences2021-2022

Department of Geography, Planning, and Recreation

Applied Geospatial Sciences, Master of Science

This plan will not be available to new students after Summer 2022

Learning Outcomes

Purpose Statement

The Masters in Applied Geospatial Sciences teaches geographical science, community planning, and geospatial technologies such as geographic information science to prepare professionals and academics for a changing world. The program seeks to educate both traditional graduate students and working professionals in distance and on campus contexts and provides opportunities for diverse populations to exchange ideas and leverage knowledge. Geographic inquiry and community development are examined with attention to spatial relationships and complexities, dynamics of place and scale, and human-environment relations. Too often, analyses and understanding is based in disciplinary tracks. Geographic inquiry is based in synthesis and interdisciplinary investigation. Critical analysis and geospatial technologies provide methods to understand communities and environments from spatial and context-driven perspectives and at geographic scales from local to global. The program supports quality research and practical application, while providing (transferable) analytic, communicative, and visual skills. Our graduates are prepared for opportunities in the public, private, and non-governmental sectors in the fields of geography, planning, and natural resource management.

Mission Statement:

The mission of the MS in Applied Geospatial Sciences is to enhance student abilities:
  1. To apply critical analysis, including geospatial technologies, to issues of geographic inquiry and community development;
  2. To advance professionally in applied geospatial and community careers; and
  3. To understand and appreciate human-environment relations and the complexity of place.

Student Learning Outcomes:

Geographic Inquiry and Human-Environment Relations
From the beginning of the discipline, geographic inquiry has sought to understand the relationship between humans and the landscape, whether the relationship is direct or indirect. As the world continues in a path of globalization and technological advancements, the need for research and understanding about these trends at all geographic scales, from global to micro-local, has increased. Understanding Nature/Society relations requires research and inquiry into human and physical systems and interrelationships between them based on theories derived from geographical thought. Upon completion of the degree, graduates will:
  • Elucidate major theories of geography; and
  • Apply geographic theories to questions and inquiries related to interrelationships of human and physical systems in varying contexts and at different scales.

Place and Community Development
The concepts of place and community development are integral to geographical sciences, planning, and much spatially-based research. Graduates should possess a strong understanding of place and space, sense of place, and issues of adjacency and relational connectivity in order to identify critical issues, understand context, and create solutions. Upon completion of the degree, graduates will:
  • Elucidate the major theories, techniques, and trends associated with place and/or community development; and
  • Apply these concepts to analyze issues and create solutions as related to their Masters level project.

Critical Analysis
The ability to think critically about an issue, deconstruct, construct and identify biases, whether intended or unintended, and to seek a deeper understanding and solutions to issues of space, place, the environment and human landscape is central to Geographic thought and practice. This analysis derives from an understanding of the major theories, research approaches and methods in geography, as well as the ability to employ them to understand social problems and their potential solutions. Upon completion of the degree, graduate will:
  • Identify, explain, and evaluate the manor research methods and modes of inquiry within geographic thought and practice; and
  • Generate critical questions based on geographical theory, applying systematic research processes consistent with disciplinary norms, and present findings generated through a methodologically robust and defensible Masters level project.

Geospatial technologies
Contemporary geographic sciences and planning for community development necessitate the use and understanding of geospatial technologies, including Geographic Information Systems (GIS), in both applied projects and research-based applications. Graduates should understand and be able to apply geospatial technologies to solve geographic problems. Upon completion of the degree, graduates will:
  • Efficiently use ESRI ArcGIS, ERDAS Imagine, ENVI/IDL, QGIS, and/or other applications related to geospatial technology to obtain, organize, visualize, and/or analyze geographic data from multiple sources;
  • Successfully apply geospatial technology to reach qualitative and/or quantitative solutions for geographic inquiry or community development, including navigating issues inherent with merging and analyzing data from different sources; and
  • Effectively communicate about geospatial data and technology using oral and visual methods, including presentation of map products that follow established cartographic principles.

Professional Development
Our graduate program provides a critical step in professional development for those entering professions or seeking to enhance their existing knowledge base and opportunities. We prepare students to make a difference in communities and agencies through effective problem-solving and communication. Upon completion of the degree, graduates will:
  • Conduct oneself and create work in a way that demonstrates the level competency, skill, and ethical behavior required of professional employment;
  • Present and defend a project with the purpose of generating new knowledge, or solving a problem or challenge within their profession or area of interest;
  • Present your work to general and professional audiences, articulating sustained, coherent explanations summarizing your project; and
  • Effectively communicate complex ideas and analysis through written, oral, and visual communication.

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