Students present in class

If you want to become a geographical spatial analyst, a master’s degree in applied Geographic Information Science (GIS) is a great fit.

Among the essential components of our program are theory, research methods, and application development.

What You Will Learn

To ensure you are getting the most out of the program, you will gain practical experience from internships and field research, which are integrated into the curriculum.

The curriculum includes intensive studies in:

  • cartography
  • remote sensing
  • GIS

What It’s Like to Pursue a Master’s Degree in Applied GIS at Ball State

To be competitive in the job market, you need to have as much expertise about the field as you can.

That’s why in our program you’ll get experience in both emphases we offer: applied atmospheric science and applied geographic information science. Applied atmospheric emphasis students will have the opportunity to learn about geographic information science and vice-versa.

Cross training will provide you with a solid background in:

  • remote sensing
  • geographic information systems (GIS)
  • advanced cartography
  • climatology and meteorology

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. A teaching space within allows professors and students to work hands-on with research applications of computerized geographical analysis.

Our equipment, which is approved by the Environmental Research Institute and the Earth Resources Data Analysis, is updated every three years and includes:

  • 43 Dell Precision workstations
  • two large Calcomp digitizers
  • a high-end projection system
  • film recorder
  • printers
  • flatbed color scanner for data input

Whether it’s working on an in-class project such as mapmaking or monitoring storms or helping professors with their research, you will get lots of hands-on experience here.

Some projects students have been involved in include:

  • Midwestern drought causes and impacts
  • how society copes with hazardous weather events (e.g., ice storms)
  • curriculum development and methods of learning
  • cartography

Program Requirements

Completing this program will earn you a master of science in geography with a focus in applied atmospheric science.

This degree requires 30 credits, including the thesis research requirement. Coursework is flexible and is designed to fit your research interests.


Total to Graduate: 30

  • Required Courses: 9
  • Electives: 15
  • Thesis: 6


A few of the classes you will take include:

  • GEOG 610 History of Geographic Thought
  • GEOG 615 Research Methods in Geography
  • GEOG 618 Quantitative Methods in Geography
  • GEOG 630 Special Topics in Advanced Cartography
  • GEOG 635 Special Topics in Remote Sensing

For a complete list of all courses and their descriptions, please see our Graduate Catalog.

View Catalog

What Can You Do with a Degree in Applied GIS?

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

With this new wave of technology, you may find yourself in a variety of jobs, including:

Paying for Your Education

Department Graduate Assistantships

A graduate assistantship is an excellent opportunity to gain meaningful professional experience while helping cover the costs of your degree. Learn more.

Ready to Apply?

Are you interested in pursuing this degree? Review our admissions criteria and apply.

More Information

If you would like to learn more about this program or about Ball State Graduate School in general, please complete our online form to request more information. Or if you’d like to speak with someone in our department directly by phone or email, please contact us.