USC's online GIS graduate programs are taught by world-renowned faculty with spatial science backgrounds spanning environmental science, military operations, business analytics and countless other industry domains. With the full support of one of the leading GIS research institutions, connections to industry experts and extensive multidisciplinary expertise, our GIS programs offer a combination of comprehensive knowledge and program flexibility that few other academic institutions have the capability to offer.

We combine education in fundamental spatial principles with extensive hands-on experience using the latest technologies, leveraging the best GIS, GPS, and remote sensing software to work 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 complex problems of the world.

Learn more about our GIS graduate programs

With five GIS graduate programs, including two master's degrees and three certificate programs, you can map out the best path for your career needs, whether you're only starting the journey into a GIS career or you're an experienced GIS professional interested in senior positions.

Online Master’s in Geographic Information Science and Technology

The online M.S. in GIST is designed for professionals interested in using spatial data to solve complex challenges in fields ranging from public safety to supply chain logistics and more.

Learn more


Online Master's in Human Security and Geospatial Intelligence

The online M.S. in Human Security and Geospatial Intelligence is designed for professionals with an interest in leveraging spatial and temporal data to prepare for and respond to numerous types of incidents, such as natural disasters and terrorist attacks. Graduates will be prepared for senior-level and managerial roles within the geospatial and human security fields.

Learn more


Online Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science and Technology

The online graduate certificate in geographic information science and technology is ideal for professionals who want to enhance their skillset with specific knowledge or for individuals who are just starting to consider GIS careers.

Learn more


Online Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Intelligence

The online graduate certificate in geospatial intelligence provides a foundation for leveraging spatial data in conjunction with social, political and environmental information to make decisions.

Learn more


Online Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Leadership

The online geospatial leadership graduate certificate is specifically designed for experienced GIS professionals who are interested in managerial positions.

Learn more

Hahn Fountain at USC

The University of Southern California (USC) is one of the world’s leading private research universities. Established in 1880, it is also one of the oldest. With a strong tradition of integrating liberal arts and sciences with professional education, USC fosters a vibrant culture of public service and encourages students to cross academic and geographic boundaries in their pursuit of knowledge. In 2018, the Wall Street Journal and Times Higher Education ranked USC 15th among 1,061 public and private universities. Additional distinctions include:

  • Ranked among the Top 25 national universities by U.S. News & World Report 2018
  • Ranked among the Top 5 best colleges for veterans by U.S. News & World Report 2018

USC Spatial Sciences Institute is a founding member of the UNIGIS International Association, which recognizes international standards in geographic information science distance learning programs.


USC Dornsife Spatial Sciences Institute

Hahn Fountain at USC

The ability to understand and make decisions with spatial information is what the USC Dornsife Spatial Sciences Institute is all about. We partner with researchers, businesses, nonprofits, NGOs and other entities to analyze, model and visualize location-based data. As a leading GIS research and academic institution, we have the unique ability to attract talented researchers and educators from a wide range of disciplines and promote collaboration across countless areas of expertise and industry domains.

The Spatial Sciences Institute has received recognition from numerous organizations within the GIS industry, including:

  • The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency — United States Geological Survey Center has designated the USC Dornsife Spatial Sciences Institute as a Center of Academic Excellence in Geospatial Sciences.
  • The Spatial Sciences Institute was the first educational institution member of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association, which supports GIS professionals within their organizations.
  • The Spatial Sciences Institute is a member of the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation, which has accredited the USC Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Intelligence.
  • The Spatial Sciences Institute is an Esri Education Development Center, which encourages students to pursue projects and careers focused on GIS technology development and customization.

Learn more about our GIS graduate programs

"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
Kacey Johnson Pham
M.S. GIST, Class of 2015
GIS Manager at International Medical Corps
US News badge

Ranked Among the Top 25 National Universities and Among the Top 5 Best Universities for Veterans (U.S. News & World Report, 2018)

Western Association of Schools and Colleges logo

Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)

UNIGIS International Association logo

Member of the UNIGIS International Association