MA in Remote Sensing & Geospatial Sciences

Study with renowned faculty in a world-class program.

With an MA in Remote Sensing & Geospatial Sciences, your career options are endless. Private, public, and nonprofit sectors demand professionals with advanced technical skills who can organize and analyze spatial data sets. From governmental planning, defense and transportation departments; to environmental, resource management, and public safety agencies; to consulting firms, research labs, and academia, your skills are in demand. In Boston University’s internationally recognized master’s program, the world’s most respected and influential remote sensing and geospatial faculty will educate you in both the underlying theory and the application of remote sensing, spatial analytical methods, digital cartography, and geographic information systems.

The Remote Sensing & Geospatial Sciences master’s program welcomes students with diverse natural science and social science backgrounds.


Environmental Consulting

Consultants utilize their skills and expertise to provide specialized knowledge for clients who need to solve specific problems. They can work as independent contractors or in large firms and typically work on a variety of projects for both private and public clients. A consultant might assist the EPA in formulating rules for power plant operations, help a rural community government determine how to manage water resources, analyze the impacts of a toxic waste site, develop environmental impact assessments for private firms or help a an energy firm better predict future electricity demand. Our alumni work at consulting firms such as:

Nonprofits and NGOs

Alumni at nonprofit organizations and other nongovernmental organizations work to address environmental and sustainability challenges from the local to the global levels. These organizations aim to fill gaps left by private firms and governments to solve otherwise unmet needs. Our alumni have built careers at some notable organizations such as:


Many of our alumni have found positions working in government at all levels both as researchers and policy makers. Our alumni have shaped environmental policy and helped answer pressing environmental questions with governmental bodies including:


Many of our alumni have gone on to work at both small and large private firms that conduct a wide range of business. Some of these firms provide specialized geospatial, environmental or energy services but many of our alumni have found the skills and knowledge gained in the Department of Earth and Environment to be valuable in private firms that do work in areas as diverse as finance and digital media.

Application checklist:

  • Application
  • Personal Statement
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts (all institutions of higher education you have attended)
  • Test scores (GREs for every applicant, TOEFL scores for international students)

Please visit our master’s programs admissions page for more details on required application materials and testing requirements.

The M.A. in Remote Sensing & Geospatial Sciences comprises eight courses or 32 credits: 3 core courses and 5 elective courses that are chosen in consultation with the student’s advisor.

Core Courses (3 courses)

  • CAS GE 501 Advanced Topics in Remote Sensing
  • CAS GE 505 Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • CAS GE 509 Applied Environmental Statistics or CAS GE 516 Multivariate Analysis for Geographers

Electives (5 courses)

  • CAS GE 502 Field Methods in Remote Sensing
  • CAS GE 503 Micrometeorology: Energy and Mass Transfer at the Earth’s Surface
  • CAS GE 504 Physical Climatology
  • CAS GE 509 Applied Environmental Statistics
  • CAS GE 516 Multivariate Analysis for Geographers
  • CAS GE 529 Modeling and Monitoring Terrestrial Ecosystem Processes
  • CAS GE 585 Ecological Forecasting and Informatics
  • GRS ES 620 Aquatic Optics and Remote Sensing
  • GRS GE 640 Digital Image Processing in Remote Sensing
  • GRS GE 645 Physical Models of Remote Sensing
  • GRS GE 648 Remote Sensing of Vegetation
  • GRS GE 805 Spatial Data Analysis Using GIS
  • GRS GE 840 Advanced Topics in Remote Sensing
  • GRS GE 845 Advanced Topics in Geographic Information Systems
  • MET CS 521 Information Structures with Python
Note: 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 elective requirement. Courses taken to fulfill statistical methods requirement cannot be double counted as an elective (i.e. CAS GE 516).

·      Demonstrate advanced knowledge of theory of remote sensing and GIS including sensor systems, basic radiative transfer, cartographic projections and display, and spatial databases, and of 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 for 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.