Geographic Information Science

How do we track the spread of contagious diseases? Can we use satellites to create a more accurate model of air pollution? How can geographic-based data from social media help us respond to natural disasters faster and more efficiently? If these are the types of questions that make you more curious about our planet—and if you enjoy using software and technology and thinking about where things happen—then UB's geographic information science program is designed for you.

What will I learn?

As a geographic information science (GIS) major, you'll learn how to study and produce maps, and how to collect, process and interpret geospatial information (which is simply data associated with a specific location). You'll typically take foundational classes in subjects like maps and geography (with a bit of math and computer science), then move on to electives based on your specific interests. Of course, you’ll also get hands-on training in software and technology used by potential employers while you study problems related to the environment, health, cities and other topics.

What can I do outside of class?

It's a big world out there, and we want you to experience it.

At UB, you can do an internship to build your professional network while getting valuable experience. Students can work with UB faculty on research projects, which is another great way to build relationships and gain new skills.

Of course, UB also has hundreds of student clubs where you can make friends and have fun. We host events throughout the year, where you can meet well-known guest lecturers and explore common interests. And if you love to travel, we encourage you to study abroad. 

Student Clubs
Study Abroad

What can I do with a geographic information science degree?

As a GIS graduate, you might find yourself developing new geospatial technology for the government. You may be transforming photographs into three-dimensional models for a tech company. Or, like one of our grads, perhaps you'll work for Amazon to help design a satellite system that can provide high-speed Internet to underserved communities worldwide. Regardless of what you decide, one thing is clear: UB grads have choices.

This degree provides opportunities for a career with a government agency (including federal agencies, state organizations and local planning offices), a university, a nonprofit organization, or a business (such as a consulting company or real estate developer).

Popular career choices include:

  • GIS analyst.
  • Cartographer.
  • Geospatial data scientist.
  • GIS software engineer.
  • Computer analyst.
  • Crime analyst.
  • Demographer.
  • Ecologist.
  • Environmental scientist.
  • Geomorphologist.
  • Health care analyst.
  • Market research analyst.
  • Meteorologist.
  • Natural resource manager.
  • Urban and transportation planner.

Who will I learn from?

Modeling the environment. Remote sensing. Human interactions. These are just a few of the areas that our faculty typically specialize in.

Our faculty members are respected scholars and researchers who have received support from the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation, as well as other government agencies and companies. In addition, they have been named SUNY Distinguished Professor and earned the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities. They have been quoted in "Forbes," "New York Magazine" and other leading media outlets.

But perhaps most importantly for you, our faculty members are teachers and mentors who bring real-world experience to the classroom and are here to help guide you along your path.