College of Arts and Sciences

Master of Science in GIScience and Geoenvironment


The Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Geographic Information Sciences, (EAGIS) , offers a Master of Science in GIScience and Geoenvironment, a post-baccalaureate certificate in GIS Analysis, and a post-baccalaureate certificate in Community Development and Planning. The primary areas of faculty and graduate research include:


  • Land Use Planning
  • Transportation
  • Spatial analysis
  • Environmental GIS applications
  • Social GIS applications
  • Remote sensing
  • GIS visualization
  • Cartography
  • River science and geomorphology


Program Description

The Master of Science in GIScience and Geoenvironment focuses on training in GIScience, to deepen students’ understanding of core GIScience theories and ideas, to strengthen their ability in applying and developing GIScience methods for various environmental and social applications, to grow their skills in using and manipulating GIS tools, including its software and data, and to build up students' experiences and capabilities in designing, implementing and managing GIS projects. Progressive training is available at the introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels. 

The requirements are highly flexible, allowing students to arrange a program of study which serves as a basis for further graduate study or to prepare students for positions in industry, business, or government.


Distinctive Features

The department has a low student-to-faculty ratio, which allows students to receive one-on-one attention and access to faculty members. The employment outlook for graduates with training in GIS, remote sensing and other geospatial technologies is very positive. The US Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics lists GIS, Cartography and Photogrammetry among the top 20 occupations  with the highest percent chance of employment between 2018 to 2028. Additionally a 2012 study commissioned by Google identifies the rapid growth in demand for geospatial services and projects that the growth will continue.  GIScience is a strength of the department and graduate students have a consistent track record of transferring the technical and analytical skills learned in the program into successful career opportunities.


Financial Assistance

Our department offers multiple graduate assistantships to accepted students providing tuition waivers and monthly stipends in return for work under the supervision of faculty mentors or in the WIU GIS Center where students can build strong portfolios working on real-world GIS projects. All degree-seeking domestic and international students can apply for assistantships. Multiple scholarships are also available to geography graduate students.



The department maintains the Meteorology Laboratory and two Geographic Information and Spatial Science laboratories. The department also houses a GIS Center, which serves as the GIS management center (spatial data creation and repository) for McDonough County, the City of Macomb and Western Illinois University.


Contact Information

For specific program questions, contact Dr. Samuel Thompson, Department Chairperson, Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Geographic Information Sciences (EAGIS), Western Illinois University, 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL 61455, (309) 298-1648,,,

For admissions process and general program information, contact the School of Graduate Studies, Western Illinois University, 1 University Circle, Macomb, IL 61455, (309) 298-1806,,


Admission Information

WIU graduate school homepage (application forms available here)

Graduate catalog

Graduate assistantship information

Graduate assistantship application


International Admission Information

International Graduate Admissions

International student guide