MS in Geographic Information Science and Technology

Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

The USC online Master of Science in Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST) programs provide a core foundation in geographic information science (GIS) and spatial sciences, cutting-edge GIS applications, and the resources and facilities of a leading research university.

With training in spatial thinking, geospatial research and problem solving, data collection, analysis, modeling, and visualization techniques, USC GIST students and alumni produce their own GIS applications which improve decision making, communication, and quality of life.

Anyone today with a computer or smart phone is both a consumer and producer of geospatial information. Analyzing “big data” generated by social and economic phenomena requires the ability to utilize spatial science. Geographic information science (GIS) has grown beyond its roots in computer science, geography, mathematics, and surveying. Geospatial technologies is now one of the 21st century’s most important high-growth industries, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Career Options

Individuals with GIS skills and capabilities often have careers in public, private and nonprofit institutions—government, real estate developers, utilities and telecommunications firms—on where to build new roads, buildings, power plants and cable lines, as well as on environmental matters such as where to build a landfill or preserve wetland habitats. GIS professionals also work with police departments to allocate resources in crime-prone areas; public health agencies to locate cancer “hot spots”; transportation planners to unravel rush-hour congestion; and wildlife biologists to map the critical habitats of endangered species. GIS tools like Geographic Information Systems, Global Positioning Systems, Image Processing Systems, and Location-Based Services help business professionals measure spatial attributes, often with reference to specific places, and spatial thinking helps them analyze and understand the data. Expanding geospatial knowledge is important in any discipline in assessing profitability, logistics, and feasibility.