Master of Science in Geospatial Technologies

Program Overview

The Urban Studies Program offers a Master of Science in Geospatial Technologies degree. Admission is open during autumn quarter only and will be comprised of a 20 student cohort.  The degree will provide advanced training in GIS, training students to use and apply geospatial hardware, software, and data in urban and environmental planning scenarios.  It will also prepare students to become leaders in the management and utilization of geospatial technologies within the job market -- public, private, and not-for-profit sectors.  It will also offer training in the development and deployment of location-based mobile applications and management of web-based geospatial data. This program will maintain a theoretical/critical focus on the application of these technologies to urban and environmental problem solving. 

Recieve email updates, announcements, and news by subscribing to the "uwtgeospatial" email list serve here.
General inquires can be emailed to


Program Design

The forty credit program is one year (4 consecutive quarters, Aut/Win/Spr/Sum) and consists of the following courses:

Quarter Course Credits
Autumn Introduction to Geospatial Technology 5
Autumn GIS Customization and Automation 5
Winter Web-based GIS 5
Winter Mobile Geospatial Application Development 5
Spring Urban Planning Applications 5
Spring Environmental Planning Applications 5
Spring Practicum I: Planning and Design 5
Summer Practicum II: Implementation 5
  Total Credits 40

This is a non-thesis MS program.  The last two courses will focus on a practicum/capstone project which will be designed with the approval of a faculty member and completed as the final degree program requirement. To complete this degree a student must complete a total of eight courses at UW Tacoma.  Each course will be five credits for a total of forty credits in the program.  Courses cannot be substituted or taken at any other institution.



Completion of a one year GIS certification program or one year experience working with GIS.  Equivalent coursework or experience will be considered upon request.  Students currently enrolled in the Urban Studies GIS Certificate Program may apply, but all prerequisites must be completed before the start of the program in September.


Student Learning Outcomes

1)  Understand the increasingly central role that geospatial technologies play in the governance of contemporary lived and environmental spaces.
2)  Be proficient in the automation and customization of geospatial technologies such as GIS, web-based data services, locative mobile devices, and mobile & handheld geospatial sensors.
3)  Recognize appropriate uses and limitation of geospatial technologies in urban and environmental planning scenarios.
4)  Be equipped to carry out an independent geospatial project through all stages of conceptualization, planning, design, and implementation.
5)  Geo-visualization and representation of modeling results.

Admission Requirements

The University of Washington Graduate School and the Urban Studies Program require:

  • A baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the U.S. or its equivalent from a foreign institution.
  • An overall grade-point average of 3.0 calculated from the applicant's final 90 graded quarter credits or 60 graded semester credits.
  • Admission into this program does not require a Graduate Records Exam (GRE).
Application package will include:
  • UW Graduate School Application & payment of application fee
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose:  2 page double-spaced maximum (including previous experience with or in GIS)
  • Resume/CV
  • Unofficial transcript from the college/university where undergraduate degree granted*

*The Graduate School verifies where your bachelor degree was earned. After you are offered and accept and admission offer, you will be required to mail an official, hard-copy transcript from the institution that granted the bachelor's degree to the University of Washington Graduate Enrollment Management Services for verification. If you are a UW alumnus, the Graduate School verifies your official transcript on your behalf and official transcripts do not need to be mailed. Do not mail official transcripts until prompted by the Graduate School (after admission is offered).

Application Procedures & Deadlines

Autumn 2015 early application deadline is January 15, 2015; secondary application deadline is March 15, 2015.

The UW Graduate School and MS in Geospatial Technologies application can be found online at 
Each application to the graduate school requires a non-refundable $85 application fee. 

Step 1:  Create a "new applicant profile"

Step 2: Complete UW Graduate School online application

  • Complete the Application for Admission to the UW Graduate School online.  You may log in as often as you like to update your application.  Once you are finished with your application, you may submit the $85 fee using a credit card. Once the fee is submitted, you will not have access to make any changes.

Step 3:  Submit supplemental application materials via the UW Graduate School online application. 

  • Upload Statement of Purpose:  2 page double-spaced maximum (including previous experience in GIS)
  • Upload current resume/CV
  • Upload one transcript from each post-secondary school you have attended. The Graduate School in Seattle will require an official transcript for degree verification after you have        accepted an offer of admission.  Please do not mail official transcripts to Tacoma and don't send official copies to the Graduate School until after you have received an offer of admission.  If the bachelor degree is in progress, send the most recent transcript available from that college/university.  If you list additional classes that you have taken (post-graduate courses), you must also provide the Graduate School with official transcripts to support this work after you have been accepted.
  • Two letters of recommendation are required.  You provide the recommender's name, e-mail address and phone number, then our system will send an e-form to your recommender. 
  • Please check your application file frequently to make sure your recommendations have been received.


Graduate students take 40 credits to earn this degree. Tuition may change annually, and the current rates for 2014-15 are posted below (excludes books, tech or lab fees, room & board, transportation, and personal expenses).




7 - 18 credits



6 credits



5 credits



4 credits



3 credits



2 credits (minimum)



Tuition for MS Geospatial Technologies falls under UW Graduate Tier II


Financial Aid

For information about aid eligibility, contact the UW Tacoma Financial Aid Office at, telephone 253.692.4374.


International students

Applicants with international baccalaureate degree or higher

January 15, 2015  (for Autumn quarter 2015 start) is the final date for applicants with international baccalaureate degrees or higher to apply to the MS in Geospatial Technologies.

Your international transcript must include:

  • Degree statement, including date of graduation and title of academic degree awarded
  • All coursework with grades 
  • The record must be submitted in the original language along with a certified English translation

For application review you may provide copies if they meet the criteria outlined above.

If you are admitted to the MSGT program and choose to attend, then the UW Graduate School will require you to submit official International Academic Credentials.  For additional information on this requirement, refer to the UW Graduate School website.


English language proficiency

The UW Graduate School requires proof of English language proficiency as outlined in Graduate School Memoranda #8.


Instructional Faculty

Matt Kelley

Ali Modarres

Britta Ricker
Jim Thatcher
All Urban Studies faculty