MS in Remote Sensing & Geospatial Sciences

NOTE: In academic year 2020–2021, the Department of Earth & Environment recoded all courses from ES and GE to EE.

The master’s in Remote Sensing & Geospatial Sciences (RS & GS) is designed for students with diverse natural science and social science backgrounds who desire specialized training in the use of remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) in environmental and natural resource analysis and management. The curriculum is designed to train students in both the underlying theory and application of remote sensing (e.g., image processing), spatial analytical methods (e.g., spatial statistics), and digital cartography and geographic information systems. Students are trained for careers in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors where there is high demand for professionals with advanced technical skills who can organize and analyze spatial data sets. Applicants to the RS & GS program are expected to have basic competency in calculus and statistics. Candidates who do not have the required quantitative skills may be admitted, but they will be required to do independent work or additional coursework to acquire the necessary background. Students should consult the Program Director to ascertain if they have the required background.

Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge of theory of remote sensing and GIS—including sensor systems, basic radiative transfer, cartographic projections and display, and spatial databases—and/or fundamental concepts in geospatial analysis and modeling techniques.
  • Quantitatively analyze data to evaluate scientific hypotheses and arguments in remote sensing and geographic information science.
  • Communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing, advanced concepts in remote sensing and geographic information systems.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the broader impacts and applications of remote sensing and GIS for natural sciences, social sciences, and society at large.
  • Apply a range of geospatial analysis techniques, using remote sensing and GIS tools, toward solving quantitative problems in one or more core disciplinary areas such as geography, ecology, environmental sciences, biogeosciences, urban planning, or natural resources management.

Course Requirements

At least 32 credits (typically 8 courses) must be completed as follows:

Core Courses

  • CAS EE 501 Advanced Topics in Remote Sensing
  • CAS EE 505 Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • CAS EE 509 Applied Environmental Statistics or CAS EE 516 Multivariate Analysis for Geographers or GRS MA 614 Statistical Methods*


Five electives selected in consultation with advisor. With the prior approval of an advisor, students in the program may select graduate-level (500 and higher) courses beyond the approved list of electives to fulfill the electives requirement. Suggested courses can be found on the department website.

*Courses taken to fulfill statistical methods requirements cannot be double counted as electives.

Language Requirement

There is no foreign language requirement for this degree.