"GIS Major Requirements"

"Geographic Information Science (GIS)" overlaid on photo of satellite above Earth Geographic Information Science Concentration

Geographers have an ongoing concern with the acquisition, manipulation, and representation of spatial data.  The widespread adoption of digital technology coupled with management of very large spatial data sets has led to the development of Geographic Information Science.  Particularly with respect to digital information, the nature of geographical data that vary with scale, time, and spectral characteristics presents unique problems for geographers and environmental scientists.  In our world of massive amounts of information, geographers use remote sensing methods for collecting and integrating geographical data.  They utilize cartography and geographic information systems to uncover spatial patterns and trends, to reconstruct past environmental conditions and to predict future scenarios. The use of such methods requires expertise not covered in human and physical geography concentrations.  Conceptually, the societal, political and ethical implications of geographic information in policy and decision-making are only beginning to be understood; this forms an important component of study in geographic information science.  The dissemination of geographic knowledge at all levels of education forms another important component of this concentration. Geographic information science is closely tied to the fundamental areas of geography--biophysical, human, and environment/society relations.


Students must complete at least 37 and no more than 45 credit hours in Geography with grades of C- or better (23 hours must be upper division). No pass/fail grades are allowed in the major. Transfer students majoring in Geography must complete at least 12 hours of upper-division Geography courses at CU-Boulder. No course may be used to fulfill more than one requirement for the major.

  • GEOG 1001 Environmental Systems: Climate and Vegetation - 4
  • GEOG 1011 Environmental Systems: Landscapes and Water - 4 
  • One of the following human geography courses:
    • GEOG 1962 Geographies of Global Change  - 3
    • GEOG 1972 Environment-Society Geography  - 3
    • GEOG 1982 Global Geographies: Societies, Places, Connections - 3
    • GEOG 1992 Human Geography - 3
    • GEOG 2092 Advanced Introduction to Human Geography - 3
  • GEOG 3023 Statistics and Geographic Data - 4
  • One of the following mapping courses:
    • GEOG 2053 Mapping a Changing World - 3
    • GEOG 3053 Geographic Information Science: Mapping - 4
  • One of the following methods courses:
    • GEOG 4023 Advanced Quantitative Methods for Spatial Data (prereq GEOG 3023) - 4
    • GEOG 4043 Advanced Geovisualization and Web Mapping (prereq GEOG 3053) - 4
    • GEOG 4093 Remote Sensing of the Environment - 4
    • GEOG 4173 Research Seminar - 3
    • GEOG 4722 Field Methods in Human Geography - 3 

Geographic Information Science Concentration

  • GEOG 4103 Geographic Information Science: Spatial Analytics (prereq GEOG 3023 and GEOG 3053)—4
  • Take three electives from the following list:
    • GEOG 4003 Topics in Geographic Skills: Advanced Remote Sensing—4
    • GEOG 4003 Topics in Geographic Skills: Machine Learning & Spatial Data (formerly Spatial Data Science) - 3
    • GEOG 4043 Advanced Geovisualization and Web Mapping (prereq GEOG 3053)—4
    • GEOG 4093 Remote Sensing of the Environment—4
    • GEOG 4110 Special Topics: Advanced Remote Sensing—4
    • GEOG 4203 Geographic Information Science: Spatial Modeling —4
    • GEOG 4303 Geographic Information Science: Spatial Programming—4
    • GEOG 4403 Space Time Analytics - 3
    • GEOG 4503 Geographic Information Science: Project Management—3
    • GEOG 3930 Internship (3), GEOG 4173 Research Seminar (3), and GEOG 4990 Senior Thesis (3) may be applied to the concentration on a case-by-case basis.
  • Take one upper division elective in Human Geography, Environment and Society, or Physical Geography.
  • Take upper and lower division electives within Geography if necessary to reach 37 total credits and 23 upper division credits in the major.