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Choose the Track That Fits Your Goals

The Master of Science program requires the student to complete a 15-credit track in GIS/Cartography, Regional Planning, or Environmental Planning. Each track includes two required courses and a list of options.


Students in this track will gain expertise in geographic data management, map production, and geospatial analysis. Broaden your knowledge by taking courses in map and photograph interpretation, remote sensing, and field techniques in geography and planning. You'll also master the art and science of GIS, with courses in technical issues and applications development.

This program can strengthen your GIS and cartography credentials for leadership positions or help you build a new skill set to increase your professional options.

Regional Planning

Acquire the theoretical, practical, and policy knowledge necessary to become a regional planner. As a student in this track, you'll choose from a number of geography-centered studies: population, urban, trade and transportation, political, social, and settlement. You can then study the many different areas that impact regional planning: design, law, policy, theory, economy, environment, and plan implementation.

Environmental Planning

Students in this track attain the theoretical, practical, and policy knowledge necessary to become an environmental planner. You'll select courses that focus on the environment, choosing classes that you are the most passionate about such as conservation, climatology, physiography, law, and policy. You can also gain valuable field skills by taking courses in remote sensing, GIS, and field techniques.

Imagine Your Future

IUP’s Department of Anthropology, Geospatial and Earth Sciences offers graduate programs leading to the degree of Master of Science in geographical sciences and planning. The MS program is designed to prepare students for a variety of careers as geographers in business, government, research, environmental, and planning organizations or for entry to a doctoral program at another university. Emphasis is placed upon developing professional competence in the tools, substance, methodology, and geographic theories.

Graduates of the program are employed by the state and federal government, city, county, and regional planning commissions, private consultant and engineering firms, business and industry, and colleges and universities. Knowledge of environmental processes, the organization and operation of the planning field, and geographic information systems is of value to the graduate in the job search.


With an MS in Geography, you can pursue leadership positions in:

  • Cartography
  • Community and economic development
  • Conservation
  • Energy development
  • Engineering firms
  • Environmental compliance
  • Facilities management
  • Geographic information systems
  • Land use analysis
  • Municipal/urban (city or county) planning (with regional, state, and federal agencies)
  • Social science education
  • Transportation

Path to Higher Degrees

With an MS in Geography, you can pursue higher degrees such as:

  • PhD in Geography

Classes and Requirements

All graduate degree programs require a minimum of 33 hours of credit for the thesis option or at least 39 hours for the non-thesis option. Nine of these hours constitute the core program. These include three core courses: GEOG 610, GEOG 612, and GEOG 614. Graduate students have the option to incorporate an internship as part of the MS program, up to six credits.

For students selecting the non-thesis option, a portfolio is a nongraded graduation requirement. A three-person faculty committee will evaluate the portfolio, which will include at least three of the student's best pieces of work and written reflective analysis. The portfolio is submitted by the end of the first week of the semester the student is scheduled to graduate.

Full Academic Catalog Listing

The course catalog is the official reference for all our degree and course offerings. Check it out for a full listing of the classes available and requirements for this degree.

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Graduate Geography Studies Faculty

The Anthropology, Geospatial and Earth Sciences Department is made up of 13 full-time professors (eight in geography and five in regional planning), who have all earned their doctorates from highly respected universities. They bring a broad range of experience and expertise, always challenging and encouraging students to get truly involved in their work. They strive to know their students well and promote a friendly atmosphere within the department.

  • Our professors' first priority is teaching. While they consult with organizations in the public and private sectors and/or conduct research and publish papers and books with leading academic presses and journals, their primary focus is making sure their graduate students are getting the support they need.
  • All graduate students work with an advisor from the Anthropology, Geospatial and Earth Sciences faculty.
  • Our professors work with graduate students to connect them with internship opportunities most suited to your career path.

Geographic Information Science (GIS) and Geospatial Techniques Certificate

The Department of Anthropology, Geospatial and Earth Sciences offers a program of study leading to a Certificate in Geographic Information Science and Geospatial Techniques. This 18-credit program provides instruction on the concepts of geographic information sciences and the technical and applied aspects of geographic information systems and other geospatial technologies, such as remote sensing, global positioning systems, and spatial databases.

The Certificate in Geographic Information Science and Geospatial Techniques is designed for those who already have an undergraduate degree from an accredited university and who are interested in increasing their knowledge base and skills in GIS to take advantage of opportunities in the job market. Students enrolled in the certificate program who become interested in pursuing a graduate degree in the department will be permitted to apply the maximum number of certificate credits allowed by the IUP School of Graduate Studies and Research toward a master of science degree. Students who complete the certificate will have exposure to and grasp the nature of 1) the basis and logic of map projections and geographic coordinate systems; 2) geographic information systems hardware and software; 3) the basis and logic of various spatial data models and structures; 4) techniques for the assessment, planning, and development of spatial databases; 5) appropriate and accepted methods of spatial data analysis; and 6) representation of spatial and non-spatial data through maps and other techniques.

Full Academic Catalog Listing

The course catalog is the official reference for all our degree and course offerings. Check it out for a full listing of the classes available and requirements for this degree.

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Geospatial Intelligence Analysis Certificate, Graduate Level

Prepare for a Career as a Geospatial Intelligence Analyst/Manager for Federal Intelligence Agencies

Through this comprehensive certificate program in geospatial intelligence, you'll become well qualified for a career as a geospatial analyst or manager for agencies such as the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), along with private sector contractors.

With this certificate, you can gain credentials to become an analyst who assists policy makers in critical decisions, informs those in federal intelligence agencies, contributes to critical military operations, and aids first responders in emergencies.

Gain GeoIntelligence Credentials that Meet United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation Standards

The processes you will learn and apply throughout this program will meet intelligence tradecraft standards and will meet the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation requirements for accredited programs. The 21-credit, graduate-level, Geospatial Intelligence Analysis Certificate program is accredited by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF).

You'll get the geospatial background employers want as you study spatial data acquisition, processing, analysis, and reporting while following geospatial intelligence tradecraft protocols.

Analyze Geospatial and Imagery Data to Produce Actionable Intelligence

This certificate prepares you to utilize and analyze imagery, imagery intelligence, and geospatial information to describe, assess, and visually depict physical features and geographically referenced activities on the Earth's surface for intelligence purposes.

You'll learn the context, geographic information science, and geo intelligence tradecraft techniques to be well-qualified to work in professional positions as a geospatial intelligence analyst for federal intelligence agencies or private intelligence contractors.

Full Academic Catalog Listing

The course catalog is the official reference for all our degree and course offerings. Check it out for a full listing of the classes available and requirements for this degree.

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Examples of Theses and Portfolios

Wesley Burkett, MS Geography/Regional Planning, 2011, Thesis

  • The Development of a Post-Industrial Commercial Core in Bair County, Pennsylvania, 1954–2002, and the Change in Retail Concentration

Aaron Burkle, MS Geography/Regional Planning, 2010, Thesis

  • Immigration and Ethnic Neighborhoods in Altoona, Pennsylvania

Sara Fortnam, MS GIS and Cartography Track, 2009, Thesis

  • The Identification of Archaeological Remains via Quickbird Imagery: A Case Study on Cyprus

Nicholas Holdzkom, MA Geography, 2011, Thesis

  • From Production to Consumption: Gentrification, Preservation, and the Uneven (Re)development of Pittsburgh's South Side

Amy Salsgiver, MA Geography, 2011, Thesis

  • Surviving Rural Pennsylvania: The Use of Social Networks in Livelihood Strategies

Amber Snavley, MS Geography/Environmental Planning, 2011, Thesis

  • The Spatial Variation in Dog Fighting Cases in the United States, 2000–2010

Student Organization

Gamma Theta Upsilon, Gamma Omega Alpha Chapter

Gamma Theta Upsilon membership is earned through superior scholarship; it is an honor and a professional distinction. The IUP GTU chapter, in conjunction with the Department of Anthropology, Geospatial and Earth Sciences, sponsors speakers, campus activities, field trips, and social events. Members also have the opportunity to participate in volunteer activities. GTU provides a network where you can become better acquainted with other geography students and can meet and talk with geography faculty members. As a GTU member, you can improve your expertise in the field of geography by learning things not normally dealt with in the classroom.