Missouri State University
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Geospatial Sciences

Department of Geography, Geology and Planning  

For More Information

Missouri State University
901 South National Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65897
Office: 417-836-5800
Fax: 417-836-6006
Email: Geography@missouristate.edu

Career Preparation

A strong demand exists for qualified geospatial scientists. Many geospatial science positions are with governmental agencies, but the demand for mapping in private industry is growing rapidly. Engineering and planning firms, petroleum exploration companies, utilities and transportation companies employ cartographic specialists. Within the federal government, some of the major mapping and charting agencies include the United States Geological Survey, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the Census Bureau and the Central Intelligence Agency. For the past several years, Missouri State University has been an important source of geospatial scientists for a number of major government agencies and private industry.

Academic Program

A career in geospatial science requires an interest in maps and the ability to visualize distance, area, and depth when looking at a drawing or photograph. High school students considering degrees in geospatial sciences should take a college preparatory curriculum. High school course work in earth science, geography, graphic arts, photography, and mathematics is beneficial.  A knowledge of computers is highly beneficial. The Department of Geography, Geology and Planning offers a comprehensive major in Geospatial Sciences for the Bachelor of Science degree. With this major, a minor is not required. The curriculum consists of courses carefully selected in consultation with professionals from private and public sectors. Students who major in this program obtain professional training in the analysis of available source material, map design, photogrammetric compilation, geographic information systems, global positioning systems, remote sensing interpretation, digital image processing and surveying. 

The program is balanced in theory and practical applications. The curriculum option in surveying consists of courses selected in consultation with the Missouri Association of Registered Land Surveyors. Students who select this program take courses that prepare them for admission to the program leading to qualification as registered land surveyors.


Please consult the Missouri State Catalog online at www.missouristate.edu/catalog for specific course information.

Required Courses

  • GRY 100: World Regional Geography or GRY 108: Principles of Sustainability
  • GRY 142: Introductory Physical Geography or GLG 110: Principles of Geology
  • GRY 275: Introduction to Plane Surveying
  • GRY 300: Geography of the United States or GRY 301: Geography of the Ozarks or GRY 305: Selected World Regions
  • GRY 360: Interpretation of Aerial Photography
  • GRY 363: Intro to Geographic Information Science
  • GRY 367: Research Methods in Geography and Planning
  • GRY 470: Field Study in Geography  
  • GRY 498: Placement Seminar
  • GEO 551: Remote Sensing
  • GEO 561: Intermediate Geographic Information Science
  • GEO 562: Internet Geospatial Science
  • GEO 566: Advanced Geographic Information Science
  • GEO 568: Thematic Cartography
  • GEO 572: Introduction to Photogrammetry and LiDAR Technology
  • CSC 121: Introduction to BASIC Programming or CSC 125: Introduction to C++ Programming or CIS 260: Application Development I
  • MTH 181: Trigonometry or MTH 138: Pre-Calculus Mathematics
  • One of the following statistics courses: MTH 340: Statistical Methods, or AGR 330: Statistical Applications in Agriculture, or PSY 200: Psychological Statistical Methods, or QBA 237: Basic Business Statistics, or REC 328: Statistical Applications in Recreation, Sport and Park Administration or SOC 302: Statistics for Social Research
  • An additional 12 hours of GRY/GEO/IDM/MTH/CIS/CSC courses [Note: Students pursuing the Land Surveying option should include the following three courses within this 12-hour block: GRY 375: Advanced Plane Surveying, GRY 377: Legal Aspects of Boundary Surveying, GRY 379: Surveying Computations]


The Department of Geography, Geology and Planning is staffed by 23 full-time faculty members. The faculty members stress excellence in teaching and are active in research designed to maintain their professional expertise. 



The department occupies lecture and laboratory space in Temple Hall. The geospatial science facilities includes two state-of-the-art instructional computer laboratories; one supports the Cartography and Geographic Information Sciences (GIS) courses while the other is used for Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry courses. Both laboratories use Windows-based personal computers that are networked and have high bandwidth access to the Internet. These laboratories use leading edge software for cartography, GIS, Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry. Missouri State University has a campus-wide license with ESRI, so all ESRI software is available to students for course work and projects. In addition to computers and software, the Geospatial Sciences program also has numerous printers, large format plotters, high resolution scanners and Internet Web servers.

The program also supports a GPS base station located on top of Sunvilla Tower on campus. The base station transmits a GPS differential correction signal that covers a 10 kilometer radius from the base station. The base station posts differential correction files on its web site at www.cartproj.missouristate.edu\. The Meyer Library, on the Missouri State campus, includes a separate map library housing a large collection of geospatial source materials, including topographic maps, aerial photography and other types of remote sensing imagery for Missouri and numerous other parts of the world.

Special Opportunities & Services

Students majoring in the geospatial sciences have the opportunity for learning and social activities through membership in the Missouri State student chapter of the American Society of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing and the Epsilon Chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon, the international geography honor society.

Field trips and internships provide opportunities for direct observation and on-the-job learning. Students with advanced skills in geospatial science may be employed by the Missouri State Center for Resource Planning and Management or by individual faculty. A senior seminar provides assistance in preparing placement materials and guidance for the job search.

Sample Schedule

Missouri State is committed to assisting students to graduate in four years--see sample graduation plans for this major.

The following is a sample schedule for this major--your actual schedule will vary.

Freshman Year

First Semester Courses Hours
GEP 101 First-Year Foundations 2
ENG 110 or COM 115: Writing I or Public Speaking 3
CSC 111 or CSC 101 or CIS 101: Intro. to Computing 3 (or 2)
KIN 100 Fitness for Living 2
HST 121 or 122: U.S. History 3
GRY 100 or 108: World Regional Geography or Principles of Sustainability 3
Total Hours 16 (15)
Second Semester Courses Hours
COM 115 or ENG 110: Public Speaking or Writing I 3
PLS 101 American Democracy and Citizenship 3
MTH 181 or 138: Trigonometry or Pre-Calculus Math 3 (or 5)
GRY 142 or GLG 110: Phys. Geog. or Prin. of Geology 4
General Education -- Self Understanding 3
Total Hours 16 (18)


Undergraduate Certificate in Geographic Information Sciences

Missouri State University also offers an Undergraduate Certificate in Geographic Information Sciences (UCGIS). To receive the certificate students must complete 16 credit hours of Geospatial science courses at Missouri State. Students seeking the UCGIS must maintain a 2.75 GPA in the required and optional courses. Students who are awarded the certificate will have completed an in-depth study and proven academic excellence in Geographic Information Sciences coursework. Both current students and continuing education students should consider completion of the certificate in regards to profession preparation and development.

Required Courses

  • GRY 360: Interpretation of Aerial Photography (3 hours)
  • GRY 363: Introduction to Geographic Information Science (4 hours)
  • GEO 551: Remote Sensing (3 hours)
  • GEO 561: Intermediate Geographic Information Science (3 hours)
  • Plus any three additional hours from the following:
    • GEO 562: Internet Geospatial Science (3 hours)
    • GRY 566: Advanced Geographic Information Science (3 hours)
    • GEO 568: Thematic Cartography (3 hours)
    • GEO 572: Introduction to Photogrammetry and LiDAR Technology (3 hours)
    • GEO 573: Geographic Information Science Programming (3 hours)
    • GEO 575: GPS Surveying and Mapping (3 hours)
    • GEO 578: Remote Sensing Digital Image Processing (3 hours)