BS in Geographic Information Systems Technology Image

Geographic Information Systems Technology

Bachelor of Science

Gain professional experience with a STEM degree that prepares you for high-tech careers in government, business and non-profit organizations.


This bachelor’s degree program, offered by one of the top 10 geography schools in the nation, gives you the tools to map your own path. Geographic Information Systems Technology (GIST) is on the rise in every industry, so you’ll have career options ranging from app developer to volcanologist.

Arizona’s program stands out from the pack via expert faculty who balance GIST fundamentals with key growth areas, allowing students to gain the experience needed to enter the high-tech workforce. This is achieved by emphasizing cutting-edge coursework in cartography, geo-visualization, web and mobile applications, and open source programming, all of which give you an edge over the competition. We also offer a strong remote sensing science component developed by top research faculty.

This undergraduate program focuses on professional GIS and applied GIS, which are vital for students looking to obtain a job right out of college. You’ll complete applied, project-based coursework and a senior capstone project tailored to you and the professional skills you want to build for your career. Arizona’s GIST programs are based on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Geospatial Technology Competency Model, meaning you’ll have a clear path to your career as soon as you graduate.

The BS-GIST is a 120-credit hour bachelor’s degree program. Students take 14 classes in their major, training in GISystems and technologies, basic programming for GIS, and application of GIST to web and mobile environments.

GIST students will be using ESRI software, which requires a Windows-based computer. Check your computer's ability to run ArcGIS Pro 2.0.

Career Level: Undergraduate
Degree: Bachelor of Science
College: College of Social And Behavioral Sciences

Cost & Eligibility

Per Unit Cost: $525
*Residents of some U.S. Territories may not be eligible. Please see our Eligibility & State Authorization page for more information.

Wondering about the specific classes you can take in this program? See the course descriptions below.

  • GIST 330: Remote Sensing Science - Learn the scientific fundamentals and applications of Remote Sensing. Topics introduce the electromagnetic spectrum and spectral characteristics for Earth observation, platforms and sensors for Remote Sensing, digitalization issues, multispectral and LiDAR image processing and enhancement, land-use and land-cover classifications (LULC), weather analysis, and change detection. The course also emphasizes integration issues and analysis techniques that arise when merging remotely sensed data with Geographic Information Systems.
  • GIST 414: Web-Mobile GIS - Gain an essential understanding of the expanding field of web and mobile-based mapping applications development. You will learn how to build interactive web and mobile apps that use geospatial data in an attractive format. In so doing, you will use popular tools for web-enabled geoprocessing such as ArcGIS for Server, ArcGIS Online (AGOL), WebAppBuilder (WAB), Story Maps, AppStudio, and the Javascript API.
  • GIST 415: Open Source GIS - Develop GIS software in public-domain collaborative software development projects. We will overview common programming languages used like Python, Java, HTML 5 and JavaScript to automate workflows, extend and share open source tools, and create interactive web and mobile GIS interfaces with resources from the open source community such as QGIS.

Click here to view a complete list of GIST courses.

Student taking a UA Online course


Earning your Bachelor of Science in Geographic Information Systems Technology will build core skills, including:

  • applied GIS
  • cartography
  • geo-visualization
  • GIS analysis
  • open source programming
  • real estate research
  • remote sensing

Explore career opportunities that graduates holding a Bachelor of Science in Geographic Information Systems Technology have pursued

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Chris Lukinbeal
In the BS-GIST program, we measure success in student job placement.
Dr. Chris Lukinbeal,GIST Director


Emily Poppen - Student Spotlight

Arizona Online student Emily Poppen is making the desert safer by using geographic information systems technology (GIST) to map cellphone signals in the Tucson Mountains.



GIST Program Overview

The Bachelor of Science in Geographic Information Systems Technology provides a flexibility, versatile coursework that prepares students for careers in an variety of high-tech fields.

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