Student on iPad looking at geospatial mapping.

Geographic Information Science (GIS) Track

Geospatial technology can be applied in numerous fields, and it is increasingly sought-after in current and emerging careers within the digital technology era.

This track concentrates on the skills, technologies, and practices necessary to become a successful creator and analyst in the use of geographic data. Students in the GIS track will acquire a robust knowledge of cutting-edge geospatial technology and the efficient use thereof. They will also gain familiarity with contextual applications to help meet increasing workplace demands and to foster geospatial decision making.

A Hands-On Learning Experience

An integration of academic apprenticeship and professional services, GeoSpatial Services is a Saint Mary's project center, allowing Saint Mary's students the opportunity to not only learn on the job but to act as a consultant while gaining important individual consulting skills.

Career Options

Students who possess a degree in the GIS track will be prepared for professional careers in fields such as land surveying, cartography, and engineering. 

High School Preparation

High school coursework that will support a student in his or her pursuit of a degree in the GIS track includes experience in Mathematics, Statistics, or Geography.

Enhance Your Experience

Students who major in the GIS track oftentimes pursue a minor or double major in mathematics or the sciences.

Geographic Information Science Minor

A geographic information science minor is offered at Saint Mary's, focusing on the cutting-edge technologies and practices that are necessary to create and analyze geographic data for decision-making in diverse career fields.

Degree Requirements

A. Computer Science Core

CS101 Computer Science Fundamentals (3 cr.)

This course provides a foundation in computing and algorithmic principles. Students are introduced to the basic conceptual building blocks of computer hardware and software systems. The tools and principles of algorithmic problem solving and systems design are explored. In the second half of the semester, students gain experience with simple programming challenges.  

CS110 Computer Science I: Introduction to Programming (3 cr.)

This course introduces students to the practice of software development. Students learn the fundamentals of programming, algorithm development, and basic design principles.

CS210 Computer Science II: Advanced Programming and Data Structures (3 cr.)

This course is a continuation of CS110. CS210 expands on the programming techniques covered in CS110, adding discussion of recursion and data structures such as lists, stacks, queues, balanced trees, graphs and heaps. Specific algorithms that use these structures efficiently and general algorithm techniques and their analysis are also covered.

CS220 Discrete Mathematics (3 cr.)

This course provides the theoretical foundation of modern computer hardware and software. It provides that foundation in the form of mathematical tools and concepts geared toward computer science applications. Topics covered include: logic and set theory; functions and relations; simple algorithm analysis; and an introduction to graph theory.

CS255 Database Design (3 cr.)

A study of fundamental database management systems. Course topics include: data modeling, database design and structured query language (SQL), transaction management, data integrity and security. Object-relational mapping techniques and technologies will also be covered.

CS300 Networking (3 cr.)

This course examines computer networks and data communication.  Topics include: telecommunications history; transmission media; transmission characteristics; error detection and correction; local and wide area networking applications; standard network models; industry standards; protocols; network management; wireless and mobile networks; network security.

CS307 Introduction to Cybersecurity (3 cr.)

This course provides an overview of modern security concepts. Topics covered will include security terminology, risk management, security policy and strategy, security awareness, cryptography, operating system security, network security, physical security and digital forensics. The course will contain a lab component where students will investigate current hardware and software tools for vulnerability analysis and penetration testing.

B. All of the following:

GIS305 GIS Methods (3 cr.)

This course introduces the concepts of spatial data creation, editing, and analysis using GIS software.  Emphasis is placed on spatial concepts and understanding and utilizing standard operation procedures.  Topics covered include coordinate systems, topological editing, metadata, overlay analysis, and cartography.  Technical proficiency is a primary objective of the course reinforced by significant practical exercises utilizing GIS software.

GIS308 Internet Mapping (3 cr.)

This course introduces students to effective use of the Internet as a medium to publish map data.  It examines the basic implementation details associated with serving spatial data and GIS capabilities over the Internet.  Students are introduced to Internet mapping software as well as the particulars of designing and operating an effective map publishing/customization environment.

GIS332 Programming Principles (3 cr.)

This course covers foundational programming skills.  Examples of programming topics covered included form controls, altering and enhancing properties at run time, variables, decision making, looping, and connecting Visual Basic applications to Microsoft Access databases.

GIS342 Database Design and Administration (3 cr.)

This course follows a logical progression through basic data and database concepts into design theories, creation, and implementation of an enterprise spatial database.  The course explores the role of various tabular structures, from simple flat files to the relational geodatabase.

GIS356 Spatial Data Methodology (3 cr.)

This field and laboratory course introduces methods basic to the collection of data in a manner suitable for spatial analysis.  Topics include basic orienteering, land navigation, total station and topographical surveying, use of global positioning systems (GPS) and mobile GPS, and preparation of data for conversion to a digital format.

GIS370 Advanced GIS and Image Analysis (3 cr.)

This course promotes exploration and utilization of advanced functionality of GIS technology.  Substantial effort is directed toward developing proficiency in understanding data at complex levels with an emphasis on advanced raster and spatial analysis.  The course covers advanced GIS analysis, image analysis techniques, and geospatial topic-specific areas of study.

GIS490/491 GIS Capstone Project (3-6 cr.)

This course provides the student an opportunity to complete a large GIS project which can either be for an organization or the student's project.  

C. Six Credits of Computer Science electives or Internship