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Duluth Campus

Geographic Information Science B.A.

Geography, Urban, Environmental & Sustain Studies
College of Liberal Arts
  • Program Type: Baccalaureate
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2015
  • Required credits to graduate with this degree: 120
  • Required credits within the major: 55
  • Degree: Bachelor of Arts
The core of the Geographic Information Science major is the study and use of geographic information systems (GIS). Central to this program are the theoretical and applied fundamentals of the collection, management, analysis, and representation of spatial data. The program builds on this core by exploring both traditional and novel methods for geo-visualization and by exploring applications of GIS to environmental, resource, and policy/management issues. Methods include teaching various remote sensing technologies used to collect and classify remotely sensed data, critically discussing the implications of geo-spatial technologies on individuals and society, and demonstrating how geo-spatial technologies are used effectively in urban and regional planning processes. Students also learn about GIS project management and research process, professional ethics, and presentation. The major blends well with other majors such as anthropology, biology, chemistry, computer science, criminology, engineering, environment and sustainability, geography, geology, history, mathematics, political science, sociology, statistics, and urban and regional studies. Students are encouraged to double major. Honors Requirements: Candidates must have a 3.00 overall GPA and a 3.30 in the major. An honors project and paper must be completed in GEOG 4999. Students who wish to have such work considered for honors must complete a departmental form prior to the second semester of their senior year. Completed projects and papers must be approved by the sponsoring faculty member and other members of the department.
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.
Required prerequisites
Introductory Requirement (1 cr)
Transfer students with 24 or more credits and current UMD students who change colleges to CLA are exempt from this requirement. New first-year students with 24 or more PSEO credits may request to be waived from this requirement.
UST 1000 - UMD Seminar (1.0-2.0 cr)
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 or study (either a minor or another major). 2. If students choose to double major in any of the following combinations GIS, GEOG, ES, or URS, they must follow the fall 2012 or later degree requirements for all programs. Following these requirements addresses the overlapping of courses across programs. 3. Students with the GIS major cannot pursue the GIS certificate.
Required Core (37 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)
GEOG 1304 - Human Geography [LE CAT6, LECD CAT06, SOC SCI] (3.0 cr)
or GEOG 2305 - Geography of Cultural Diversity [CDIVERSITY] (3.0 cr)
And all of the following:
GEOG 2552 - Introduction to Maps and Geospatial Information [LE CAT2, LOGIC & QR] (3.0 cr)
GEOG 3532 - Map Design and Geographic Visualization (4.0 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 4585 - Applied Statistics in GIS (4.0 cr)
GIS 3597 - Internship in GIS (3.0-4.0 cr)
GEOG 4612 - Field Techniques (4.0 cr)
Electives (14 cr)
Take 2 courses for a minimum of 8 credits from GIS 3xxx-5xxx. Additional GIS 2xxx-5xxx courses will apply to the 'Other Electives' area. To fulfill this requirement take courses from the 'Other Electives' area to reach a minimum of 14 elective credits across both sub-requirements.
Take 2 or more course(s) totaling 8 or more credit(s) from the following:
· GIS 3xxx-5xxx
· Other Electives
Take 6 or more credit(s) from the following:
· BIOL 5808 - Landscape Ecology: Theory and Application (3.0 cr)
· ES 3xxx
· FORS 3167 - GEOG 3167 Cultural Geography of Iceland (3.0 cr)
· FORS 3205 - GEOG 3205 Mapping in Belize (3.0 cr)
· FORS 3800 - COMM 3800/GEOG 3800 Grassroots Activism in India (4.0 cr)
· GIS 2xxx-5xxx
· CS 1121 - Introduction to Programming in Visual BASIC.NET [LE CAT3, LOGIC & QR] (3.0 cr)
or CS 1141 - Introduction to Programming in C# (3.0 cr)
or CS 2121 - Introduction to Programming in Java [LE CAT3, LOGIC & QR] (3.0 cr)
· CS 3211 - Database System Concepts (4.0 cr)
or CS 4611 - Database Management Systems (4.0 cr)
Advanced Writing Requirement (3 cr)
WRIT 31xx - Adv Writing (3 cr)
 
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UST 1000 - UMD Seminar
Credits: 1.0 -2.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Facilitates the successful transition into college learning and student life at UMD.
GEOG 1414 - Physical Geography (LE CAT4, NAT SCI, SUSTAIN)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Earth-sun relations, maps and globes, and major factors of the natural environment, including water resources, landforms, weather and climate, natural vegetation, and soils. (3 hrs lect, 2 hrs lab)
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
Comprehensive survey of Earth's composition, structure, and dynamics to develop an understanding of internal processes, plate tectonics, and surface processes as a framework for geological history and development of life.
GEOG 1304 - Human Geography (LE CAT6, LECD CAT06, SOC SCI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Ecological basis of human existence. Human population patterns and cultural diffusion. Agricultural geography. Political geography. Geography of language, religion, and ethnic groups. Effects of urbanization; economic geography.
GEOG 2305 - Geography of Cultural Diversity (CDIVERSITY)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Culture is ubiquitous as it is ambiguous in social science research. Cultural geography overlaps into all other sub disciplines, along with current approaches, issues and debates in contemporary research. It defies any clear, satisfying definition. Consequently, the numerous philosophical, theoretical, methodological and ethical issues pertaining to the investigation and representation of culture in academia will be the focus. prereq: credit will not be granted if already received for GEOG 2405
GEOG 2552 - Introduction to Maps and Geospatial Information (LE CAT2, LOGIC & QR)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
This course will define a map and consider maps as tools for communication. Students will explore the effects of scale, projection, cartographic symbolization and generalization on the mapping process and resulting digital databases. Students will be introduced to spatial data models, types of spatial data and representation, and will study alternative or non-tradition map representations provided by GIS and Remote Sensing.
GEOG 3532 - Map Design and Geographic Visualization
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Thematic mapping of qualitative and quantitative data. Data measurement levels and their relationships to geographic phenomena and map symbols. Appropriate treatment (both statistical and representational) of map data. Designing and creating maps using computers. (2 hrs lect, 4 hrs lab) prereq: 2552 or instructor consent; Stat 1411 recommended
GIS 3563 - Geographic Information Science I: Theory and Analysis
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Prerequisites: credit will not be granted if already received for GEOG 3564 or 4563 and 4564.
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Emphasizes the concepts needed to use GIS effectively for manipulating, querying, analyzing and visualizing spatial data. This course will provide an introduction to and basic skills with industry standard GIS software in a wide variety of applications in both the natural and social sciences. The course will cover basic data modeling, data manipulation, and 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.
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
This course provides more hands-on skills with industry standard GIS software in a wide variety of applications in both the natural and social sciences. The course will cover the design aspects of application, as well as organizational and institutional aspects of applied GIScience. Lastly, the courses will consider ethics and geospatial information and a code of ethics for geospatial professionals. prereq: 3563; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOG 3564 or 4563 and 4564.
GIS 3580 - Earth Imagery
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall
This course is a selective overview of the methods used for imaging the Earth, it's atmosphere, and it's subsurface. The main objective is to expose students to some of the common methods of Earth Imaging and provide them with a hands-on experience. This course introduces airphotos, satellite imaging, and Digital Elevation Models (DEMs). By the end of the course students will be able to comfortably analyze airphotos, Landsat and other satellite data, and create and analyze DEMs. prereq: 2552; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOG 3580
GIS 4585 - Applied Statistics in GIS
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
The aim of this course is to provide 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. Many of the 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 date that varies in space, and methods specific to spatial analysis will be introduced. Through the theoretical background will be discussed, the class will focus more on application that on theory, through a problem solving approach. We will use a variety of software, mostly ArcGIS, QGIS and MS Excel. prereq: 3563; and STAT 1411 preferred; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOG 3585 or GIS 3585; no grad credit.
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
GEOG 4612 - Field Techniques
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Spring
Geographic survey of physical and cultural aspects of selected urban and rural landscapes, including basic methods of observation, measurement, recording, analysis, and presentation of field data. Chiefly field training. prereq: Minimum 60 credits or grad student or instructor consent
BIOL 5808 - Landscape Ecology: Theory and Application
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Key issues in landscape ecology including scale, measuring landscape patterns, mechanisms shaping landscapes, implications of landscape patterns on plant and animal populations, communities, and ecosystems, and implementing landscape principles for natural resource management. prereq: 2801, 2802 or WRS or IBS Grad student
FORS 3167 - GEOG 3167 Cultural Geography of Iceland
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02252
Prerequisites: Admission to an approved study abroad program requires consent from the International Education Office.
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall, Spring & Summer
Taught in Iceland this course explores the changing cultural & political geography of Iceland and its relationship to the complex processes of globalization, regional politics and local economies. It examines the history of Iceland as a Viking settlement, a colony of Denmark, and an independent nation with a focus on the political and economic connection between Iceland and other places have influenced the country. Students will examine Iceland's position as part of the European Economic Community but not of the common currency or the European Union, contributed to the 2008 economic crisis and the responses to that crisis. Student will consider how geographic context, national culture and political economy impact the cultural geography of Iceland and is designed to give an intercultural experience with contemporary economic and political issues through a geographic perspective. Students will apply geographic theories of cultural difference, political economy, and resistance to develop an understanding of the multiple sites and scales of Icelandic identity, culture and politics. prereq: Admission to an approved study abroad program requires consent from the International Education Office.
FORS 3205 - GEOG 3205 Mapping in Belize
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02084 - GEOG 3205/FORS 3205
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Summer
Study abroad course; taught on site in Belize. Novice mappers to the geospatially proficient students will be exposed to a meaningful field experience and lab practicum where field data and satellite imagery will be combined to render valuable information about the Maya Gold landscape. Students will utilize Global Positioning System (GPS) and remote sensing techniques to create informative and cartographically derived outputs; a map. Through this international experience, students will be exposed to a unique cultural experience where they will learn what is important to Mayan culture by observing the dynamics of this landscape. Time spent in Belize will expose each student to the eclectic mingling of Mestizo, Mopan and Kekchi Maya, Garifuna, Creoles, Lebanese, East Indian and Chinese peoples. prereq: Admission to an approved study abroad program requires consent from the International Education Office.
FORS 3800 - COMM 3800/GEOG 3800 Grassroots Activism in India
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02244 - FORS 3800/COMM 3800/GEOG 3800
Prerequisites: Minimum 2.5 GPA, minimum 30 credits, instructor consent. Admission to an approved study abroad program requires consent from the International Education Office.
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Summer
Taught in Bangalore, India where students will examine the process of social change in Bangalore and witness firsthand how disempowered groups such as tribal communities and religious minorities are advocating for their social and economic rights. Bangalore has grown tremendously in the last 10 years, as the city has become the center of India's technology economy; however, the benefits of this growth have not been equally distributed. Students will examine the causes of disenfranchisement (including gender, caste, and colonialism) as well as how city has changed as a result of globalization and the liberalization of the Indian economy. This course has three goals: (1) Students understand the notions of community employment as theorized by scholars such as Paulo Freire, M.K. Gandhi, R.J. Ambedkar, as well as more contemporary Indian thinkers; (2) Students visit and learn about the cultural and historical forces that have shaped India, and (3) Students interact firsthand with activists and disenfranchised communities involved in struggles for human rights/empowerment. prereq: Minimum 2.5 GPA, minimum 30 credits, instructor consent. Admission to an approved study abroad program requires consent from the International Education Office.
CS 1121 - Introduction to Programming in Visual BASIC.NET (LE CAT3, LOGIC & QR)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 01394 - FMIS 2225/CS 1121
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Introduction to programming in the modern Visual BASIC language. Projects are developed in a .NET environment using the Visual Studio. Includes GUI interface development and expert-driven Windows programming. Major topics include variables, datatype, arithmetic expressions, control structures, arrays and database file processing. For students with no prior programming experience. prereq: 1 yr high school algebra or instructor consent
CS 1141 - Introduction to Programming in C#
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Introduction to programming in the C# (read as C sharp) programming language. C# is a simple, object-oriented programming language based on C++. This course will cover data representation, operators, expressions, control structures, arrays and programming with C#. Requires implementation of significant programming projects. prereq: 1 year high school algebra or instructor consent
CS 2121 - Introduction to Programming in Java (LE CAT3, LOGIC & QR)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Introduction to the Java language including data types, variables, operators and expressions, control structures and arrays. Design and implementation of graphical user interface Java applets for web-based applications. prereq: 3 yrs high school math, or instructor consent
CS 3211 - Database System Concepts
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
Design and use of database management systems. Emphasis on the relational data model, SQL, integrity constraints, relational database design, file structures, indexing, query processing, and optimization. Oracle-based laboratory work. prereq: FMIS 3201 or FMIS 2201 or SBE 1101, 2511 or instructor consent, a grade of C- or better is required in all prerequisite courses
CS 4611 - Database Management Systems
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Study of database management fundamentals focusing on the relational data model. Topics include database organization, file organization, query processing, concurrency control, recovery, data integrity, optimization and view implementation. prereq: 2511, 2521 or instructor consent; a grade of C- or better is required in all prerequisite courses