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Duluth Campus

Geographic Information Science B.S.

Geography & Philosophy
College of Liberal Arts
  • Program Type: Baccalaureate
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2019
  • Required credits to graduate with this degree: 120
  • Required credits within the major: 56 to 57
  • Degree: Bachelor of Science
Because of the growing awareness across disciplines of the strategic value of Geographic Information Science (GIS), particularly through its ability to understand better the complexity of economic, environmental and social systems, the US Department of Labor identifies GIS as one of nine “high growth industries”. For example, GIS has been instrumental to emergency managers in the face of natural hazards, who utilize it to determine how communities can best mitigate such disasters. Urban planners utilize GIS to optimize existing systems and services, while forecasting where they will be most needed in the future based on emerging population and growth trends. Remote sensing allows land managers to monitor environmental changes via satellite and drone technologies, and inform adaptation strategies for industry and communities alike. Spatial analysis provides epidemiologists with the tools necessary to track and forecast the spread of diseases, helping health care officials limit their impact. In each of these cases, GIS professionals use geospatial technologies to create sustainable solutions to environmental, economic, and societal problems. The mission of the GIS BS program at UMD is to train future GIS professional by providing theoretical and practical instruction, modeling and mentoring, and real-world professional experiences, guided by the GIS&T body of knowledge and the GISP code of ethics. Students learn both the basic and the latest methods to collect, manage, analyze and visualize data, including scripting methods for web-delivery of geographical information and automation of geo-processes. And they learn how to put these methods into action through application classes, community-based research projects and internships. The GIS program is assessed annually by students, faculty and GIS professionals conjointly, to ensure it remains relevant and keeps in touch with the fast-paced evolution of the field. The major interweaves well with disciplines such as environment, sustainability and geography, computer science, statistics, mathematics, history, political science, anthropology, sociology, criminology, geology, biology, chemistry and engineering. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of GIS applications, students are encouraged to double major.
Program Delivery
This program is available:
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Admission Requirements
For information about University of Minnesota admission requirements, visit the Office of Admissions website.
General Requirements
The Board of Regents, on recommendation of the faculty, grants degrees from the University of Minnesota. Requirements for an undergraduate degree from University of Minnesota Duluth include the following:
  1. Students must meet all course and credit requirements of the departments and colleges or schools in which they are enrolled including an advanced writing course. Students seeking two degrees must fulfill the requirements of both degrees. However, two degrees cannot be awarded for the same major.
  2. Students must complete all requirements of the Liberal Education Program.
  3. Students must complete a minimum of 120 semester credits.
  4. At least 30 of the last 60 degree credits earned immediately before graduation must be awarded by UMD.
  5. Students must complete at least half of their courses at the 3xxx-level and higher at UMD. Study-abroad credits earned through courses taught by UM faculty and at institutions with which UMD has international exchange programs may be used to fulfill this requirement.
  6. If a minor is required, students must take at least three upper division credits in their minor field from UMD.
  7. The minimum cumulative UM GPA required for graduation will be 2.00 and will include only University of Minnesota coursework. A minimum UM GPA of 2.00 is required in each UMD undergraduate major and minor. No academic unit may impose higher grade point standards to graduate.
  8. Diploma, transcripts, and certification will be withheld until all financial obligations to the University have been met.
Program Requirements
1) A second field of study (either a minor, another major or dual degree). 2) Study abroad is encouraged for all students and the department makes every effort to facilitate such experiences.
Supporting Core (21 cr)
GEOG 1205 - Our Globalizing World [SOC SCI, GLOBAL PER] (3.0 cr)
GEOG 1414 - Physical Geography [LE CAT4, NAT SCI, SUSTAIN] (4.0 cr)
or GEOL 1110 - Geology and Earth Systems [LE CAT4, NAT SCI, SUSTAIN] (4.0 cr)
MATH 1290 - Calculus for the Natural Sciences [LE CAT2, LOGIC & QR] (5.0 cr)
or MATH 1296 - Calculus I [LE CAT2, LOGIC & QR] (5.0 cr)
GIS 2552 - Mapping Our World [LOGIC & QR] (3.0 cr)
ES 4612 - Field Techniques and Research Design (3.0 cr)
STAT 2411 - Statistical Methods [LE CAT, LOGIC & QR] (3.0 cr)
GIS Core (24 - 25 cr)
GIS 3563 - Geographic Information Science I: Theory and Analysis (4.0 cr)
GIS 3564 - Geographic Information Science II: Applied GIS (4.0 cr)
GIS 3580 - Earth Imagery (4.0 cr)
GIS 4533 - Distributed Geographic Information Services: Mobile and Web Based Solutions (4.0 cr)
or GIS 4586 - Geoprocessing with Python (4.0 cr)
GIS 4585 - Applied Statistics in GIS (4.0 cr)
or GIS 5581 - Digital Image Processing and Analysis (4.0 cr)
GIS 3597 - Internship in GIS (3.0-4.0 cr)
GIS 4909 - Professional Preparedness (1.0 cr)
GIS Electives (8 cr)
Courses that satisfy the Supporting Core or GIS Core cannot also apply within the GIS Electives; however additional courses taken in either core may apply as GIS Electives.
Take 2 or more course(s) totaling 8 or more credit(s) from the following:
· GIS 2xxx - 5xxx
Advanced Writing Requirement (3 cr)
WRIT 31xx - Adv Writing (3 cr)
 
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· Geographic Information Science B.S.
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GEOG 1205 - Our Globalizing World (SOC SCI, GLOBAL PER)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
This course analyzes the relationship between the environment, economic development, culture, and politics by examining human geography in the context of global regions. This course introduces core concepts in human geography such as space, place, and scale, and globalization, and applies those concepts to understand the diversity of our globalizing world. Topics from the impact of climate change, to colonialism, the geography of agriculture, urbanization, geopolitics, and ethnic and national identities are explored.
GEOG 1414 - Physical Geography (LE CAT4, NAT SCI, SUSTAIN)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Fall, Spring & Summer
The environment is highly dynamic and is continually modified by human and environmental processes. This course examines these processes to better understand how the Earth's landscapes were formed and how they are currently being transformed. Specifically, students will understand the fundamental processes that govern the physical environment including Earth-sun relations, water resources, landforms, weather and climate, natural vegetation, and soils.
GEOL 1110 - Geology and Earth Systems (LE CAT4, NAT SCI, SUSTAIN)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Earth systems science is an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the processes operating within?and the interactions between?the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. In this course we investigate the changing nature of the Earth; its composition, architecture, and antiquity; the internal and external processes that shape it through time; cycles of energy and matter; the development of life and impact of human activity; and both local environmental issues and global change.
MATH 1290 - Calculus for the Natural Sciences (LE CAT2, LOGIC & QR)
Credits: 5.0 [max 5.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01420 - Math1290/1296/1596
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Differential and integral calculus needed for modeling in earth and life sciences. Computational software. Not intended for students in mathematics, engineering, or physical sciences. prereq: Math ACT 27 or higher or a grade of at least C- in Math 1250 or department consent
MATH 1296 - Calculus I (LE CAT2, LOGIC & QR)
Credits: 5.0 [max 5.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01420 - Math1290/1296/1596
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
First part of a standard introduction to calculus of functions of a single variable. Limits, continuity, derivatives, integrals, and their applications. prereq: Math ACT 27 or higher or a grade of at least C- in Math 1250 or department consent
GIS 2552 - Mapping Our World (LOGIC & QR)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02628 - GIS 2552/GEOG 2552
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
This course starts with the definition of what a map is and considers maps as tools for communication. Students are led to explore the effects of scale, projection, cartographic symbolization and generalization on the mapping process and resulting digital databases. Students are introduced to spatial data models, types of spatial data and representation, and study alternative or non-tradition map representations provided by GIS and Remote Sensing. The course includes hands-on map activities; map reading/interpretation, map use, and map production where students will use their laptops to create online web mapping services.
ES 4612 - Field Techniques and Research Design
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02629 - ES 4612/GEOG 4612
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
This course is an introduction to qualitative research methods in environmental sustainability, and is designed to equip students to plan, analyze, and present original research. Students will follow the complete research design process, including funding and grant proposals internal review board applications, and how to use these leverage employment and graduate school applications. Specifically, students will learn to collect data through interviews, focus groups, textual analysis, and participant observation; how to analyze data through these techniques; and how to prepare sound scientific arguments based on these analyses. Based on the collection of data throughout the semester students will produce original research that will be presented to the public. no grad credit
STAT 2411 - Statistical Methods (LE CAT, LOGIC & QR)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Graphical and numerical descriptions of data, elementary probability, sampling distributions, estimations, confidence intervals, one-sample and two-sample t-test. prereq: Math ACT 24 or higher or a grade of at least C- in Math 1005 or higher or department approval
GIS 3563 - Geographic Information Science I: Theory and Analysis
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
GIS 3563 emphasizes the concepts needed to use GIS effectively for acquiring, editing, querying, analyzing and visualizing spatial data. This course is an introduction to GIS and trains basic skills with industry standard GIS software in a wide variety of applications in both the natural and social sciences. The course covers basic data modeling, data manipulation, analytical methods and implications of geospatial technologies on society. prereq: credit will not be granted if already received for GEOG 3564 or 4563 and 4564 or GIS4565.
GIS 3564 - Geographic Information Science II: Applied GIS
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
GIS 3564 follows 3563 and provides more hands-on skills with industry standard GIS software in a wide variety of applications in both the natural and social sciences. It covers more advanced analytical methods for both raster and vector data. Lastly, the course questions ethics regarding geospatial information and introduces the code of ethics for GIS professionals. prereq: 3563; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOG 3564 or 4563 and 4564 or GIS4565.
GIS 3580 - Earth Imagery
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
his course is a selective overview of the methods used for imaging the Earth and its atmosphere. The objective is to expose students to the common methods of Earth imaging and provide them with hands-on experiences in exploring these rich datasets. This course introduces aerial photographs, satellite imaging (active and passive forms), and Digital Elevation Models (DEMs). By the end of the course students will be able to comfortably analyze mulitspectral Earth imagery, handle a LiDAR point cloud, and create a variety of informative outputs from an image. prereq: 2552; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOG 3580
GIS 4533 - Distributed Geographic Information Services: Mobile and Web Based Solutions
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
There are currently over 1 million GIS users world-wide producing nearly 15,000 maps daily. The vast majority of these users utilize the internet and mobile devices to collect, manage, process and store the geospatial data necessary to create and distribute these maps. As such, GIS is shifting from a system where the focus lies almost entirely on the data itself, to a geographic information service where the focus lies on the distribution of spatial content to stakeholders and end users via the internet. The aim of this course is to expose students to the practical and theoretical applications of distributed geographic information services including web and mobile apps, virtual and physical servers, APIs, and scripting languages (Javascript, CSS, HTML5, SVG). Labs and a group semester project will focus on a distributed GIS for a stakeholder within the region. Software used will vary, but may include ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Pro, or open-source software. pre-req: GIS 3563 or instructor consent; credit will not be granted if already received for GIS 3533
GIS 4586 - Geoprocessing with Python
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Python has become the main scripting language used for geoprocessing. In this class, building on previous GIS experience, students learn how to automate geoprocessing workflows with Python and how to turn their code into tools and add-ins for the main commercial and open-source GIS software systems. prereq: 3563 and 3564 or 4565 preferred
GIS 4585 - Applied Statistics in GIS
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
This course provides GIS students, or students in related fields or interested in spatial data analysis, with little to no previous statistical knowledge, with the basic skills needed to question and analyze data and reach valuable conclusions. Methods covered in this course are commonly used in various fields of social or environmental studies, in economy and management, in sciences and engineering: statistics are a linqua franca that is often a key element of interdisciplinary work. However, there will be an emphasis on the specificity of data that varies in space, and methods specific to spatial analysis will be introduced. The class focus more on application that on theory, through a game dynamic. We may use a variety of software, mostly ArcGIS, QGIS and MS Excel. prereq: 3563 and 3564 or 4565, STAT 1411 preferred; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOG 3585 or GIS 3585; no grad credit.
GIS 5581 - Digital Image Processing and Analysis
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Spring Even Year
This advanced remote sensing course focuses on theories and applications of digital image processing and provides students with knowledge and skills of advance digital image processing and a variety of analyitical techniques. Topics include image display and visualization, methods for geometric and radiometric corrections, image enhancement, image classification, change detection, and Principal Component Analysis (PCA). prereq: 3580 or instructor consent; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOG 4580 or GEOG 5581
GIS 3597 - Internship in GIS
Credits: 3.0 -4.0 [max 8.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Scheduled assignments with direct supervision in public agencies or relevant private firms. prereq: GIS major with minimum 60 credits and instructor consent
GIS 4909 - Professional Preparedness
Credits: 1.0 [max 1.0]
Grading Basis: S-N only
Typically offered: Every Spring
This course is intended for GIS seniors graduating in the spring or the following fall. This is a seminar/workshop course where a group of graduating students work together and under the guidance of their instructor to assess and self-reflect on where they stand as early career GIS professionals. Courses activities include tests, discussion, construction of portfolios and mock job interviews. The course grade is satisfactory/non-satisfactory, based on participation. pre-req: GIS major, minimum 90 credits, no grad credit