The Department of Geography and Geographic Information Science (GGIS) at the University of Illinois offers a graduate program leading to both the Master's and Ph.D. degrees with specialization in Geographic Information Science (GIScience). The program emphasizes how digital geographic information is created, analyzed and used in examining economic, ecological, physical and social phenomena at a variety of spatial scales. Students can specialize in: (1) GIScience methods and theory in areas such as: geographic information systems, dynamic modeling, remote sensing, interregional modeling and spatial analysis; or (2) the application of GIScience methods in health, urban, physical, or environmental geography. For application information, contact:
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Department of Geography and Geographic Information Science
Computing Applications Building
605 East Springfield Avenue
Champaign, Illinois 61820
Revolutionary changes are taking place in how we process, analyze and model geographic information. The Geographic Information Science program examines the nature of digital geographic information, the tools and methods for analyzing and modeling such information, and the value of geographic information for understanding economic, environmental and social transformations at the local, regional, national and global scales. We emphasize methodological training in GIScience as the foundation for using geographic information to understand these changes and for developing innovative new tools to analyze and explore geographic information in the decades to come. Students also gain a critical awareness of the roles of geographic information and GIScience in society and the strengths and limitations of GIScience tools and technologies.
GIScience methods and development
The Department of Geographyand Geographic Information Science has two state-of-the-art laboratories for teaching and research in GIScience. The teaching laboratory consists of 30- networked workstations equipped with a wide variety of software for GIS, image processing, air photo interpretation, and spatial/statistical analysis. The second computer laboratory is devoted to student and faculty research projects and course projects. This lab contains 14-networked computers connected to the main departmental computer network and equipped with a common suite of GIScience software. In addition to the two laboratories, students have access to an array of input/output devices, including a large-format, color plotter. Campus-wide facilities include the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, a world-class facility for supercomputing.
CyberGIS Center for Advanced Digital and Spatial Studies, is internationally-renowned for research in GIScience. It's mission is to empower advanced digital and spatial studies through innovation of CyberGIS technologies and applications. Founded and run by Dr. Shaowen Wang, and housed in GGIS and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, the center addresses diverse GIScience challenges including: computationally intensive spatial analysis and modelling, cyberGIS, cyberinfrastructure-based geospatial problem solving environments, computing and data-intensive applications and sciences, and high performance and collaborative GIS.
Global Environmental Analysis and Remote Sensing Laboratory The Global Environmenatl Analysis and Remote Sensing (GEARS) Laboratory, run by Professor Jonathan Greenberg, examines the impacts of climate change and land use/land cover on vegetated ecosystems using remote sensing data. The lab's research ranges across scales from individual pland to the globe, across many terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and utilizes state-of-the-art remote sensing imagery including hyperspectral, hyperspatial, mulittemporal thermal, and Lidar data.
Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL)
is a state-of-the-art facility for urban and regional systems analysis. Formed as a joint venture between the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the University of Illinois, the laboratory has developed complex urban and regional analytical models to provide policy-makers with the capability of making informed decisions. A longstanding focus is the development of regional econometric input-output models. Such models have been completed for several Midwestern states and metropolitan areas and for regional economies across the globe, including regions in Indonesia, Austria, Japan, and Brazil. Many graduate students are funded to work on these projects and acquire hands-on experience with urban and regional models and applications.
Applicants to the GIScience program are expected to have completed: 1) a course in GIS or cartography; 2) an introductory statistics course.
Students must meet all GGIS requirements for the Master's degree including GEOG 471 (Recent Trends in Geographic Thought), and GEOG 491 (Research in Geography). In addition, students must take GEOG 379 (Principles of Geographic Information Systems) and at least three additional courses from the GIScience core. With permission of the faculty advisor, students may substitute GIScience-related courses offered in other departments. GIScience students are strongly encouraged to pursue the Thesis option for the Master's.
For admission to the doctoral program in GIScience, a completed Master's degree with thesis is required. Students must meet all Departmental requirements for the Ph.D. degree including GEOG 471 (Recent Trends in Geographic Thought), and GEOG 491 (Research in Geography), or their equivalents. The GIScience program also requires GEOG 479 (Advanced GIS), or GEOG 480 (Priciples of GIS), or the equivalent, and additional graduate coursework in one or more specialized areas of GIScience, including at least one 500-level course. Students are encouraged to take GIScience-related courses in fields such as computer science, agricultural economics, econometrics and atmospheric sciences.