USC Dornsife Spatial Sciences Institute

GIS Graduate Programs Online

Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST) touches all our lives, and the field will only become more important as we generate an ever-growing volume of spatial information. From online mapping software to connected electronic devices to smarter cities, we will soon be creating hundreds of petabytes-worth of spatial data in real time.

The University of Southern California’s accelerated, online GIS graduate programs are unique in higher education. Designed and taught by world-renowned faculty, a USC GIS education offers a multidisciplinary framework for understanding and applying spatial information to modern business, government, military and organizational challenges. We offer two master’s programs, which can be completed in 20 months and four online GIS certificates that can be completed in as little as eight months.

We combine education in research and theory with extensive hands-on experience using the latest data sourcing techniques, leveraging the best GIS software and working with spatial data in a real-world context. Graduates will be able to go beyond basic analysis of GIS data; they will be adept at developing solutions for some of the industry’s most complex problems.

Simply put, we provide a comprehensive, sophisticated GIS education that you can’t get anywhere else.


Learn More About USC’s Online GIS Graduate Programs

Both master’s programs as well as the graduate certificates in GIST and geospatial intelligence offer options for individuals of all backgrounds, from career changers to industry veterans. The geospatial leadership graduate certificate is specifically designed for experienced GIS professionals who are interested in managerial positions. If you have questions about any of our graduate GIS programs, contact an enrollment advisor.

GIS Career Outlook

Professionals with the vision and insight to address major global challenges and make innovative breakthroughs with GIS are in high-demand across numerous industries. In addition to commanding rising salaries, GIS professionals develop research and technologies that are critical to government and military operations, some of the most popular software platforms in the world and humanitarian projects of every size.

Learn more about GIS careers >

Why Choose USC for Your Online GIS Graduate Program

USC’s online GIS graduate students are part of the Trojan community. This means they not only receive an education from a top-ranked private university, they benefit from a combination of professional networking, academic rigor and personal attention that few, if any, other GIS graduate programs have the ability to offer. Our other advantages include:

  • Individual and small group meetings, allowing you to build close professional relationships with your peers and USC faculty
  • Accelerated 20-month master’s in GIST, a 20-month master’s in human security and geospatial intelligence and four 8-month GIS online graduate certificates
  • Multiple opportunities to design, develop and execute your own GIS projects, providing real-world experience using GIS for challenges you want to solve
  • Hands-on experience with the leading GIS software and technologies
  • Access to on-campus lectures that you can attend in-person, virtually or on demand via our course delivery system, DEN@Dornsife. Learn more about our award-winning platform.

Request a Brochure

To learn more about the University of Southern California's online GIS Graduate Programs and download a free brochure. If you have any additional questions, please call 877-650-9054 to speak to an enrollment advisor.

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"The best part about my experience at USC is that through the help of GIST professors, I have a great job as a significant contributor to critical humanitarian mapping projects, while also having a paleontological and geological-based thesis project that is completely different. It is the best of both worlds for me — geoscience and helping to save lives."

– Kacey Johnson Pham, M.S. in GIST, Class of 2015, GIS Manager at International Medical Corps

Read the rest of Kacey’s story

According to the 2017 URISA Salary Survey, the median salary for professionals working in a GIS role was $70,857 in 2017, a 15% increase from 2010. GIS professionals benefit from high career mobility, with advancement options across the gamut of organizations operating at local, state, national or international scale.

Ranked among the Top 25 National Universities and among the Top 10 Best Universities for Veterans
(U.S. News & World Report, 2023)

Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

Member of the UNIGIS International Association

The M.S. in Human Security and Geospatial Intelligence and Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Intelligence are accredited by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF)

The Office for the Director of National Intelligence has designated the University of Southern California as an Intelligence Community Center for Academic Excellence (IC CAE).