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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.

View detailed program information

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 program's core courses below.

  • GIST 214: Introduction to Map Science - Cover the basics of foundational scientific principles and analytic tools to understand maps and cartographic practices. Widely-used geospatial technologies are an extension of these principles and practices but they cannot be fully understood, successfully deployed, or their data outputs analyzed without a basic understanding of map science principles and practices.

  • GIST 314: Cartographic Design and Production - Explore the use of cartography as a fundamental tool of geography through principles of design, perception, statistics, and communication. This course will introduce you to cartographic design and production principles, a fundamental skill in GIST. Laboratory exercises give students additional experience with ArcGIS software.

  • GIST 330: Introduction to Remote Sensing - Learn the scientific fundamentals and applications of Remote Sensing. Topics introduce the electromagnetic spectrum and spectral characteristics for Earth observation, multispectral and LiDAR image processing and enhancement and land-use and land-cover classifications (LULC).. The course also emphasizes integration issues and analysis techniques that arise when merging remotely sensed data with Geographic Information Systems.

  • GIST 417: Geographic Information Systems - This course serves as an introduction to the application of GIS and related technologies for both the natural and social sciences. Throughout the course you will explore conceptual issues in GIS database design and development, analysis, and display.

  • GIST 418: Introduction to Spatial Analysis & Modeling - Gain an essential understanding of the concepts and techniques used in spatial analysis and modeling.  This is a survey course which will introduce you to a wide array of techniques including: Point Pattern Analysis, Spatial Autocorrelation, Tests of Association, Regression, Fuzzy Logic Approach, and Cellular Automata.

  • GIST 420: Advanced GIS - Examine various areas of advanced GIS applications such as dynamic segmentation, surface modeling, spatial statistics, and network modeling. The use of high performance workstations will be emphasized.

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:

  • ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS Online
  • data science
  • data visualization
  • geoprocessing
  • GIS analysis
  • python programming
  • quality assurance and control
  • remote sensing
  • web mapping

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

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Tune in to the GIST podcast for conversations with alumni and specialists in the geospatial industry across the state of Arizona and beyond.

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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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