Master of Advanced Study in Geographic Information Systems

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Student Handbook

The Master of Advanced Study in Geographic Information Systems program is a comprehensive professional degree that balances work in the theoretical aspects of GIS, as well as the technical side and application of the discipline. Our students use cutting-edge technology, with a focus on building invaluable problem-solving skills, to prepare for work on real-world GIS projects.

The Phoenix metropolitan area is home to a booming job market for talented employees with GIS skills. Our Master of Advanced Study in Geographic Information Systems program prepares students for careers in private and public industry where employees with these skill sets are needed for a wide range of positions, such as software developers, GIS analysts, mapping engineers, real estate researchers and more!

Our program places the focus on location – the heart of geography and GIS. From that foundation, you will learn advanced modeling solutions in GIS and Earth-observing, as well as how to integrate computer science, statistics and geography to address a multitude of questions.

Small class sizes ensure quality attention from the faculty and classes are held in the evening during the week, allowing flexibility for the working professional. Our comprehensive program is achievable in just one year – giving you the opportunity to quickly gain career-impacting skills for a growing industry.

International students: The MAS-GIS is a STEM Designated Degree; graduates are eligible to apply for 3 years' employment in the US under the OPT program.

Note: This program may lead to a professional licensure or certification. For more information, visit:

1 year to degree
6 dedicated faculty members
6:1 student-to-faculty ratio

Degree Overview

Our program of study focuses on the hands-on use of geographic information systems to prepare students for real-world application in private and public sectors. The program includes a total of 30-hours of coursework, including an internship and capstone project.

How to apply

The application process for this degree program is completed through ASU Graduate Education. Prospective students will be required to submit a statement of interest, letters of support, and university transcripts. Detailed instructions

Learn more about our financial support options

Esri’s relationship with Arizona State University goes back a number of years, and many of the individuals we’ve hired as a result are still with Esri today. Graduates from the MAS-GIS program have found rewarding careers within our product engineering, professional services and consulting, business development, and technical support teams.

Nick Kelch, Esri


Our program of study focuses on the hands-on use of geographic information systems to prepare students for real-world application in private and public sectors. The coursework for this program has been streamlined to maximize learning opportunities within the one-year program.

A minimum of 30 hours is required.

Core courses24
Total credit hours30

Courses and electives

Students in our program will learn geographic information systems from the basics to the advanced skills of programming custom applications, providing students with a skill-set that makes them adept and prepared for a career utilizing GIS technologies.

CourseTitleAbout the classCredits
GIS 601Introduction to Geographic Information Systems

Introduces the fundamentals of geographic information systems (GIS). Topics include data structures and key functions, characteristics of spatial data, ways to interact with and display spatial data, and working with tools including ArcGIS and ArcGIS Pro.

GIS 602Intermediate GIS

Focuses on spatial data handling, an introduction to database design, fundamentals of spatial analysis and modeling, visualization and spatial problem solving.

GIS 603Spatial Statistics and Modeling

This course focuses on statistical techniques and tools used in the analysis of spatial data and location intelligence. Topics covered include an introduction to spatial analysis methods, as well as the use of spatial analysis to understand relationships and to support problems solving and decision making.

GIS 604Implementation in the Corporate and Public Sectors

Covers GIS project management with a practical focus on implementing and applying GIS in the private and public sectors. Specifically this course reviews the acquisition, planning, and development of a GIS project covering the Request for Proposal (RFP) and scoping stage of a project life cycle.

GIS 605GIS Project Planning and Implementation

Implementation of the project proposed in GIS 604. Specifically, this course focuses on implementing a GIS project based on a project proposal, identifying and gathering data, assessing data quality, and performing spatial analysis culminating in project recommendations.

GIS 606GIS Project Presentation

This course focuses on creating a technical report and presentation of the work completed in the previous two classes, specifically on writing a technical report, providing and responding to peer reviews, developing project presentations, including printed maps and charts, and presenting work to technical and non-technical audiences.

GIS 610Programming the GIS Environment

Learn the programming techniques that allow for customizing, extending and automating desktop GIS software. Topics covered include relational databases, (enterprise) geodatabases, SQL, and SQL server. The course focuses primarily on using the Python programming language for the Esri GIS desktop environments.

GIS 630GIS Technologies

This course focuses on defining data needs based on project requirements, data collection strategies and technologies, effective data organization, and quality evaluation. Topics include primary GIS data collection, understanding and documenting workflows, integrating data into a geodatabase and creating metadata. A variety of software applications are used including ArcGIS Online, Collector and Bad Elf GPS.

GIS 640GIS and Business

Uses of GIS in business using tools such as ArcGIS Online, ESRI Business Analyst, ArcGIS Insights, story maps, and other applications. Topics covered include site suitability, working with demographic data, location intelligence, business analytics and data driven decision-making.

GIS 650GIS for the Internet

Learn programming techniques that allow for customizing, extending and automating GIS software for web applications, covering a variety of web technologies and principles. Topics include ArcGIS Server, ArcGIS Online, JavaScript, HTML, CSS, as well as programming Esri applications with JavaScript and webGIS special topics.

CourseTitleAbout the classCredits
GIS 684GIS Internship

This course focuses on gaining applied GIS experience in business, government, non-profit, educational or other professional organizations.

CourseTitleAbout the classCredits
GIS 693GIS CapstonHands-on capstone course focuses on the completion of an individual applied project and report that build on the skills and methods learned in the required courses and through additional research. The course includes proposing a project, designing project methods, implementing the project according to the project plan and presenting project results.3.0

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