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Information on Master’s Degree Programs in Cartography

Majors Overview November 12, 2015

This article talks about master’s degree programs in Cartography and their educational requirements, coursework, career choices, and continuing education choices.

Master’s Programs in Cartography

Cartography is a combination of practices from technology and science aimed at creating maps of the surface of the earth. Cartography programs at the master’s level are typically offered as a Master of Science (M.S.) in Geography with a specialization in GIS and Cartography.

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold an undergraduate degree in a related area. Analyzing, managing and communicating environmental information about the earth using computer cartography and satellite technology is in the program. Coursework includes spatial analysis, geography, computer science and cartography, with extra focus on advanced topics such as the compilation and analysis of visualization, visual data, and modeling.

Schools offer research opportunities in GIS and cartography, including land use and cover, map communication, GIS modeling, and remote sensing. A comprehensive exam or thesis project typically marks the culmination of research.

Educational Requirements

Admission criteria typically require incoming students to hold a bachelor’s degree in cartography or geography, or satisfy prerequisite requirements for admission to the program. Programs also require the submission of letters of recommendation, graduate test scores, and a statement of intent.


Advanced geography courses in GIS, cartography, and spatial technology are available to graduate cartography students. Core coursework may cover topic areas such as:

•Professionalism in cartography and GIS
•Quantitative methods
•Map projections
•GIS analysis
•Remote sensing
•Cartography principles
•Computer-aided drafting

Career Choices

Graduates gain advanced technical skills that help them to gather, analyze, represent and manage geospatial information. Program graduates can seek technical careers in private corporations and government agencies, in addition to entry-level teaching jobs in educational institutions. They may choose from possible job titles such as:

•Geographic information specialist
•Remote sensing specialist

Continuing Education Choices

A doctorate in geography may be available to Cartography and GIS master’s degree holders who seek continuing education. Graduates from Ph.D. programs in GIS gain the advanced professional preparation necessary for pursuing senior-level professional and tenure teaching careers in the field.

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