2017-2018 Academic Catalog 
    Jul 20, 2024  
2017-2018 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Bachelor of Arts/Master of Science in Geographic Information Science, BA/MS


The Master of Science in GIScience (GIS ADP) is offered by the Graduate School of Geography at Clark University. The GIS ADP curriculum is designed to enhance spatial analytic skills through courses that integrate geospatial and time-series theory with practical application methods. This degree provides the essential skills in four main areas: Geospatial Modelling, Conservation GIS, Land Change, and Programming (R and Python).

Departmental Eligibility Requirements

Students majoring in geography, global environmental studies, earth system science, economics, international development and social change, or environmental science and policy can apply to the accelerated B.A./M.S. program in Geographic Information Science. Students interested in enrolling in the GISc master’s program should enroll in and complete GEOG 190 - Introduction to Geographic Information Science   and IDCE 388 - Advanced Vector GIS    prior to their senior year.

A GPA of 3.6 (aggregate of sophomore and junior year Clark GPA) is required for entry into this program and must be maintained for the senior year. Additionally, students must complete two semesters of Honors Thesis and successfully defend an Honors Thesis in their senior year. In some circumstances students may opt to enroll in the honors program for the spring semester of the junior year and fall semester of the senior year.

Students are required to meet with the GISc Accelerated Degree Program advisor as a formal part of the admissions process. This meeting is intended to assist prospective students in assessing the appropriateness of the degree to their professional aspirations. The student applies to the MS program by completing the Online Application no later than May 1 of the junior year. Please note that application deadlines differ for students who are graduating off cycle (either a semester early or late) or who have advanced standing; such students should contact Graduate Admissions for alternative dates.

Program of Study

The MS degree in Geographic Information Science requires the completion of 10 graduate courses. Two courses are taken during the senior year and two are completed during the summer between the senior year and the ADP year. Three of the 10 credits are devoted to the completion of a master’s research project. The course of study breakdown is as follows:

Senior Year:

GEOG 397 - Advanced Raster GIS    (prerequisites GEOG 190 - Introduction to Geographic Information Science  and IDCE 388 - Advanced Vector GIS  )  GEOG 293 - Introduction to Remote Sensing  

Students must complete two semesters of honors thesis and successfully defend an honors thesis in their senior year, in some circumstances students may opt to enroll in the honors program for the spring semester of the junior year and fall semester of the senior year.

Candidates for the ADP program are also required to develop a Master’s thesis project proposal, with a signed statement of support from a faculty sponsor who will act as the MS thesis advisor.

Summer between senior year and Graduate /Fifth Year:

GEOG 398 MS GIS Summer Internship  This internship is focused on database development for the Master’s thesis. The student will work in the GIS field either as a paid or unpaid intern at least 20 hours per week Typically, this course internship is completed off-campus and requires frequent communication with the student’s advisor. Details of the mechanism for this communication must be included in the master’s thesis project proposal. By August 1 a letter from the internship supervisor/advisor must be sent to the MS GIS program director showing that the student satisfactorily completed the internship in order to receive credit.

Graduate/Fifth Year:

GEOG 399 MS Thesis ADP: Directed Research (Fall Semester)

GEOG 399 MS Thesis ADP: Directed Research with Advisor (Spring Semester )

Six graduate courses (three per semester)

In April of the fifth year the student will be required to give an oral presentation of the findings of the Master’s research thesis. By May 1st a first draft of the entire thesis must be completed and submitted to the thesis advisor. By the end of the spring semester the student must submit to the M.S. Thesis committee a Master’s thesis of publication quality certified by the student’s thesis committee.

Summer following Graduate/Fifth Year:

GEOG 399 MS Thesis: Directed Research - a one-credit directed research where the student is fully engaged in final stages of the Master’s thesis preparation. This includes an oral defense conducted (plans to defend the thesis) by July 15, (committee includes thesis advisor, two readers) and the submission of a final approved PDF of the MS thesis to the department by August 1. The diploma is awarded in August following the fifth year.

Details regarding timelines and the thesis can be found in the “Clark Geography MS GIScience Program Guideline and Timeline for Completion Document” available in the department.

Please Note: Of the six courses not associated with the Master’s thesis and internship (taken during the senior and Graduate/Fifth years), a minimum of four must be directly associated with Geographic Information Science and two may be electives associated with the application area of specific interest to the student.

Students in this program may take longer than the fifth year to complete the culminating requirement. Students must register as a non-resident if they do not complete the requirements in time for August degree conferral. Students have up to one year of non-residency status (fall and spring) to complete all requirements for the master’s degree.


Students will pay a one-time program fee of $1,000 in the first semester of graduate study. Due to of the very heavy costs associated with hardware and software licensing in the GIS and Image Processing area, students in the Geography GIS program pay a $500 lab fee in both fall and spring semesters.  Students also pay a $15 activity fee in the fall and spring semesters as well as a one-time enrollment fee of $100.  Students are responsible for paying for housing, food, books, and other personal items.

Students in the Accelerated Degree Program are allowed one year of non-residency status after the fifth year if there are mitigating circumstances where a student is unable to complete the 5th year at the designated time. A meeting of the student’s committee and the program advisor would be required to determine qualifying for non-residency. Please note there is a $200 fee (per semester) associated with the non-residency status registration.

Program Advisor

Students are required to meet with the designated degree advisor and have them sign the Accelerated Degree Program Advisor Form.  The signed form confirms the student and program advisor have discussed the requirements of the program.  This form is also available on the Graduate Admissions website. 

The designated program advisor is:

Professor John Rogan
School of Geography
Jefferson Academic Center, Room 104

Any students considering applying to the Accelerated Degree Program should read and understand the Accelerated Degree Program Policies and Procedures.