Online Master of Science in Cartography & GIS – GIS Development

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Application Requirements:
• Minimum undergraduate or graduate GPA of 3.0
• One introductory course in statistical methods. Students may be admitted with a stats deficiency but will have to take an intro statistics course prior to taking some courses. Equivalent work experience will also be considered
• Two undergraduate level courses in introductory GIS and Cartography


Eight courses. Two tracks.


Full-time enrollment equates to 12 credits both fall and spring. These are followed by the Practicum and Capstone courses in the summer. Though by attending full-time you can graduate in one year, if you’re working full-time, this honestly may not be the track for you. (Mental health and a personal life are not to be trifled with!)

Here is an example of a full-time course load (35-40 hours per week):

1st Semester 2nd Semester 3rd Semster
Geog 378 Geog 575 Geog 777
Geog 572  Geog 576 Geog 778
Geog 574 Geog 579  MS DEGREE!



Part-time enrollment consists of 4 or 8 credits a semester. The Program Director will help you design a course plan right for your needs. Part-time students graduate in two-to-three years. Worried about Federal Financial Aid? No worries! One-course qualifies you as a half-time student.

Here is an example of a part-time course load (12-20 hours per week):

1st Sem. 2nd Sem. 3rd Sem. 4th Sem.
Geog 378 Geog 574 Geog 576 Geog 777
Geog 572  Geog 575 Geog 579 Geog 778



  • Intro to Geocomputing (378)
  • Graphic Design in Cartography (572)
  • Spatial Databases (574)
  • Interactive Cartography & Geovisualization (575)
  • Spatial Web & Mobile Programming (576)
  • GIS & Spatial Analysis (579)
  • Capstone in GIS Development (777)
  • Practicum in GIS Development (778)

Visit our Curriculum page for course descriptions.


Please visit our Financial Information page to learn more about tuition and financial aid for this program.

The Online Master’s Program permits the following credit transfers:
• UW-Madison Undergraduate – Up to 7 credits
• Graduate credits from other institutions or UW-Madison – Up to 7 credits
• UW-Madison University Specials Students – Up to 15 credits
*University special student credits taken as part of the GIS Fundamentals Capstone Certificate and/or the Advanced GIS Capstone Certificate are transferable to this program under this policy.

Per Graduate School policy, any prior coursework must have been rigorous and meet the expectations of a graduate work for the program. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

Visit the Graduate Guide for more detail regarding credit transfers and program requirements.



*Letters of Recommendation should be received by the final deadline.

• First Consideration: May 1
• International Students: May 1
• Final Deadline: July 15

• First Consideration: September 1
• International Students: September 1
• Final Deadline: November 1

• First Consideration: February 1
• International Students: February 1
• Final Deadline: April 1

Required Documents:

Resume – Include relevant work experience, education, professional training in GIS, cartography, or programming skills, and other pertinent information. International students: please provide the breakdown of your TOEFL score so we can determine your reading and writing scores separately from the overall score.

Unofficial Transcripts – From any previously completed undergraduate and graduate degrees. Unofficial (e.g., scanned, downloaded) transcripts are fine at this point. Only after you’re accepted into the program will the Grad School require official copies. (Note: official copies will only needed from your final, degree-granting institution.)

Contact Information for Two Professional or Academic References – You need the following info for each contact: Name, Mailing Address, Email, and Phone. Your contact will automatically be sent an email from the Grad School website when you complete your application.

Download our Statement of Interest template and answer four simple questionsStatement of Interest Template Download:Word Doc || PDF Form

Application Fee – Please have a Visa/Mastercard Credit or Debit Card ready to pay the $75 application fee. International students are assessed an additional small fee, so the cost is closer to $85USD.

International Students – If you are an international degree-seeking applicant, you will be required to prove English proficiency. See the Graduate School Requirements for more information.

Online Application:

Online Graduate School Application.
• Please make sure you select the following program: Cartography & Geographic Information Systems MS – GIS Development.(There are two Cartography & Geographic Information Systems MS Programs. GIS Development is the Online Master’s.)

Application Fee Grants/Waivers:

We are excited that you are considering GIS Professional Programs at UW-Madison! We offer two different application fee grant opportunities for prospective students from underrepresented communities.

  1. The Graduate School offers a limited number of application fee grants for prospective students who participated in selected pipeline programs designed to prepare students for graduate studies or who grew up in a low-income family. These grants are currently available to U.S. citizens, permanent resident applicants, and students with DACA status who can document eligibility. A completed application (including any needed verification) must be submitted at least five business days prior to the earliest application deadline to ensure there is enough time to process the request. More details can be found on the UW-Madison Graduate School Applying for a Fee Grant page.
  2. GISPP also offers a limited number of application fee waivers for prospective students who are from historically underrepresented communities but are not eligible for or are denied a Graduate School application fee grant. Please contact to confirm your eligibility. A request for an application waiver requires submission of the draft letter of interest, CV/resume, and unofficial transcripts for pre-screening by the GIS Professional Programs. Requests for an application waiver must be submitted at least three weeks before the targeted application deadline to allow for processing by GISPP staff.