Mar 01, 2021  
Graduate Catalog 2017-2018 
Graduate Catalog 2017-2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Geoinformatics - MS

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The MS in GeoInformatics program is an interdisciplinary degree that features courses in GeoInformatics, GIScience, and some GIS application areas. It provides an opportunity to train students in aspects of GeoInformatics not covered by our department’s GIS Certificate Program. The MGEOi is a science-based MS program designed to prepare students for management- and advanced research-level employment positions.

As of this writing Hunter’s program is one of only two in the country specializing in GeoInformatics. Our program is designed primarily as a professional degree, filling a market need in a well-paid discipline with an emphasis on technology implementation with an engineering/computer science approach rather than a purely applied use of GIS. Training will include computational aspects of spatial data science such as modeling and programming, remote sensing, visualization, databases, spatial ontologies, spatial statistics, big data, and complexity.  Students will have opportunities to explore links with both Geography and Computer Science faculty at Hunter College and with employers and the tech community in the New York metropolitan area.

Students receiving a Master of Science in GeoInformatics must choose one of two program options: the Thesis Option or Exam Option. The Thesis Option is recommended for students who will subsequently pursue a PhD. For other students, either option is acceptable. The program curriculum and other requirements are outlined in subsequent sections. The MS in GeoInformatics requires completing 33 (the Thesis Option) or 37 (the Exam Option) graduate credits within three semesters of full-time study (part-time study is also permitted). Classes vary in their structure from lecture to computer laboratory classes to seminars. Most classes provide hands-on computer experience.

Students are required to form a committee (discussed below) to review and approve their degree, and must choose courses from three groups:

(1) GeoInformatics and GIS core courses (19 credits);

(2) Elective courses in GeoInformatics and GIS or allied fields (e.g., Geography, Computer Science, Urban Planning, Geology, Economics, etc… 12 credits);

(3a) Thesis Option: Students complete an MS Thesis for which they receive a total of two credits


(3b) Exam Option: Students must pass an exam issued and graded by their committee, submit a research paper that is approved by their committee, and receive 6 credits in course work approved by their committee.

In addition to traditional courses, students will have the opportunity to participate in an active technology and research seminar series, field trips to local private and public sector GIS groups and research sites, as well as contribute to real-world GIS projects through internal and external mentorship programs. In particular, we are working on an internship model with Manhattan Borough President’s Office of New York City.

Admission Requirements

GPA of at least 3.0

GRE exam scores

BA or BS degree

Two letters of recommendation

Personal statement

Students are required to have taken*

An introductory statistics course

Introductory computer science/programming course


* Students will have the opportunity to challenge these requirements if they are able to prove proficiency in statistics and/or computer programming.

Foreign students whose first language is not English must also take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and meet the requirements set  by Hunter College. see Graduate Admissions: General   

Progress Requirements

Students are expected to maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 in order to continue in the program. 


Elective component (Topic tracks) - 12 credits

The curriculum for the elective component is relatively open although the program suggests several specialized tracks for developing expertise in specific areas of GeoInformatics. These tracks are informal designations and students may switch tracks or combine multiple tracks at any time in consultation with the program adviser and relevant faculty. We suggest four topic tracks that would help students focus the program according to their needs: 1) Spatial Data Analytics and GeoVisualization, 2) GeoComputational Modeling and Remote Sensing, 3) Distributed and Web-based GeoComputation, 4) Applied GIS and Management. A track sequence would typically involve taking three to four required courses and complementing them with several electives courses. Exam option students in each track must take two additional 3 credit elective courses from GTECH and GEOG including GIS applications courses (GTECH 785xx).

1. Spatial Data Analytics and GeoVisualization

The Spatial Data Analytics and GeoVisualization track is designed for students who are interested in the analysis and exploration of geospatial information. This track focuses on core computational statistical methods as well as tools and techniques for effectively conveying research findings, in both static and interactive formats. The track includes the six required courses as well as

2. GeoComputational Modeling and Remote Sensing

The GeoComputational Modeling track is designed for students interested in spatial-temporal modeling and algorithm development. Students will acquire expertise in the development of conceptual models, turning them into computational models (i.e., data structures and algorithms), and validating the results of those models. A range of spatial-temporal models will be examined, programmed and applied to real-world problems that often require “big data” solutions.

3. Distributed and Web-based GeoComputation

The Distributed and Web-based GeoComputation track is designed for students interested in GeoWeb services, spatial data infrastructures, cloud computing, location-based services, and Big Geospatial Data. The track focuses on the use and development of these technologies, including OGC[1] web services, map service setups for raster and vector tiles, as well as distributed computing solutions such as MapReduce and Hadoop.

4. Applied GIS and Management

The Applied GIS and Management track provides students with knowledge and skills necessary for taking the GISP (Geographic Information Systems Professional) exam administered by the GIS Certification Institute. The goal of this concentration is to help students fast track into positions in GIS management. As part of their education, they work with and learn from current GIS managers to look beyond the technical realm and understand GIS in a larger institutional context.

Additional requirements

Thesis option (2 credits and a thesis)

Two required courses and completion of a thesis

Thesis approval and expectation

  • Formal approval of a proposal for thesis research is also required. The student’s committee determines whether the proposal is of a breadth, depth, and quality consistent with the expectations for a master’s degree thesis.
  • A thesis of a breadth, depth, and quality consistent with the expectations for a master’s degree thesis prepared in a format conforming with Hunter College guidelines. The student’s committee determines whether the thesis is acceptable.

Exam option (6 credits, exam, and research paper)

  • An additional six credits of GTECH or outside courses.
  • A passing grade on the comprehensive examination conducted by the student’s graduate committee.
  • A research paper of a breadth, depth, and quality consistent with expectations for a master’s degree student prepared in the format of Transactions in GIS or its equivalent.

Credit summary for MS in Geoinformations

Thesis option

Degree components

Core            19
Elective       12 
Thesis           2
Total           33

Exam option

Degree components

Core                                 19
Elective                             12
Exam option:                      6
     six credits
     research paper
 TOTAL                            37


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