Interested in solving problems using the digital connections between places, people, and behavior?

Our geographic information science program is an excellent choice if you are interested in solving social and environmental problems using advanced spatial information technology. As one of our students, you’ll learn about topics as wide-ranging as natural resources, environmental science, transportation, emergency management, social science, and planning.

Students with this type of degree are in high demand by employers in a variety of industries.

What are Geographic Information Systems?

Geographic Information Systems, commonly referred to as GIS, are computer systems that acquire, manipulate, analyze, and map spatial (or geographic) data. A GIS connects a map and a database that allows powerful analysis of information related to physical spaces. By studying GIScience, you’ll understand how these systems work. This will ultimately let you use technology to have a substantial impact on society.

What You Will Learn

In the GIS curriculum, you will learn how to visualize information in ways that reveal relationships, patterns, and trends by using computer software for:

  • practical skills and software relevant to jobs in GIScience
  • underlying theory and concepts that inform the best use of GIS technology and data
  • project management skills from start to finish: time management, data preparation, analysis, visualization, and final reporting
  • communication skills, which will improve during immersive projects with peers and clients – this includes practice communicating the possibilities and outcomes of GIS analysis in plain language with non-experts

What It’s Like to Study Geographic Information Science at Ball State

Our curriculum includes several opportunities for real-world, experiential learning:

  • You’ll need to complete an internship (professional experience).
  • Several courses include immersive pieces in which you’ll work with clients on real-world projects.

Our faculty’s expertise spans three core areas of GIScience:

  • GIS
  • remote sensing (analysis of imagery acquired by satellites or aircraft), and
  • cartography and visualization 

You’ll receive individual attention from your professors, and you’ll work in a collaborative environment with your classmates.

All of our courses are taught directly by our faculty and not graduate assistants.

Our program blends instruction on the technical skills to perform GIS analysis, along with the higher-level conceptual background to make sure their training remains relevant as technology evolves.

Our GIS lab is a state-of-the-art facility running high-end workstation class machines. This lab services all the GIS needs on campus and has been expanded to add a teaching room, including an instructor station with projector and student workstations. The expansion has allowed the lab to facilitate teaching and research applications of computerized geographical analysis.

Our equipment, which is approved by the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) and the Earth Resources Data Analysis System (ERDAS), is updated every three years and includes:

  • 43 Lenovo ThinkStation S30 computers
  • Two Epson projectors with BrightLink
  • HP Z2600 42-inch Large Format Color Plotter
  • HP Color LaserJet 5550dn Small Format Color Laser Printer
  • Ricoh Small Format Black and White Laser Printer
  • Mustek flatbed color scanner

Major Requirements

Completing our program will earn you a bachelor of arts or bachelor of science in geography with a concentration in geographic information science.

This program requires 51 to 54 credits of study on top of the University Core Curriculum. You’ll take core courses for all geography majors and several that are unique to your concentration.


Total to Graduate: 120

  • Core Major Courses: 15
  • Concentration Courses: 36-39
  • University Core Courses: 66-69


A few of the classes you will take include:

  • GEOG 433-434 Cartography and Visualization of Spatial Data 1-2
  • GEOG 436 Introduction to Remote Sensing
  • GEOG 438 Advanced GIS Analysis
  • GEOG 445 GIS Applications Design and Development
  • GEOG 448 GIS System Design
  • For a complete list of all courses and their descriptions, please see our Course Catalog.

View Catalog

What Can You Do with a Degree in Geographic Information Science?

Geographic information science (GIS) is a multibillion-dollar industry employing people worldwide. Many public and private organizations use geographic information processing and mapping systems worldwide and college graduates with these skills are in great demand.

With this new wave of technology, you can pursue a variety of jobs, including:

Paying for Your Education

Apply to Ball State

Admission to Ball State is selective, and we carefully evaluate all applications on an individual basis. Applying is easy. Use our convenient, comprehensive, and secure online application.

Apply Now


One of the best ways to understand why Ball State stands out is to come see it for yourself. You can schedule a visit through our Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Make sure to tell them you’re interested in our program. Or if you’d like to speak with someone in our department directly by phone or email, please contact us.

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