Major in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

The geographic information systems (GIS) major is designed to prepare students for careers in the geospatial industry that require an understanding of spatial processes and related technical skills.

The major combines breadth and depth in the natural sciences, equips students with knowledge of business principles, and develops their skills in communications, quantitative methods, and computer applications.

The program is aligned with the Geographic Information Science & Technology (GIST) Body of Knowledge (BoK) established by the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) as well as established DACUMs (Developing a Curriculum) for Geospatial Technologies, as supported by the Department of Labor occupational designations. A required internship, senior research methods course, and senior research seminar utilize facilities and expertise from local municipalities, and other organizations, several of which have employed graduates from Elmhurst University with a background provided by the department.

Students will take required coursework in a variety of areas to develop their spatial skill sets and hone their technical skills making them appropriate for entry-level positions as GIS technicians or graduate study, as distinctly defined by the U.S. Department of Labor and the Geospatial Technology Competency Model in 2010. It is crucial that students work closely with their academic advisor as early as possible upon entering the program to establish a planned schedule of coursework. Transfer students with an interest in applied geospatial technologies will undoubtedly satisfy several major requirements upon transfer, but should consult with their academic advisor upon acceptance to the University.

Core Curriculum

Required of all students in major (seven and one-half (7.50) credits required):

  • GEO 207 Fundamentals of GIS
  • GEO 309 Introduction to Spatial Analysis
  • GEO 468 Internship (.50 credit; P/NP only)
  • GEO 470 Research Methods in Geography (.50 credit)
  • GEO 471 Senior Research Capstone (.50 credit)

Two of:

  • GEO 302 Urban Applications of GIS
  • GEO 400 Advanced Spatial Analysis
  • GEO 411 Urban Geography
  • GEO 412 Political Geography
  • GEO 413 Economic Geography
  • GEO 452 Special Topics in Geography and GIS

One of:

  • GEO 102 Earth Systems or
    GEO 105 Atmospheric Science
  • CS 220 Computer Science I
  • ENV 100 Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • URB 210 Cities

Plus, the Required Quantitative Coursework:

  • MTH 345 Elementary Statistics or
    MTH 346 Statistics for the Sciences

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