Applications open for Clark MS in GIS for Development and Environment


Clark University's Master of Science in Geographic Information Science for Development and Environment (GISDE) is a joint program between the Graduate School of Geography (GSG) and the International Development, Community, and Environment Department (IDCE).

The GSG typically enrolls over 50 Ph.D., 60 M.S., and 120 B.A. students, and is consistently rated by the US National Research Council as a top 10 Geography program.

IDCE is a unique center of translational research whose faculty and students work to address some of the world's most pressing social, political and economic challenges. Clark's GISDE program accepts both GIS novices and people with prior GIS experience. The program is STEM approved, which allows international students to work in the United States via OPT for up to three years after graduation.     

Established in 1996, the GISDE Program is one of the first masters-level GIS programs in the world. In this unique program, students draw upon Clark's unique history and strength in the Geographic Information Sciences, developing expertise in geospatial technologies, remote sensing, and advanced spatial analysis. Clark faculty in Geographic Information Science have broad research interests including biodiversity conservation, land change, forest monitoring, fire dynamics, software design, system development, decision science, human health, environmental justice, international development, climate change and food security. Students draw upon this expertise to address global challenges such as hunger, poverty, refugees, migration, and community development.

Clark University has been active in the development of Geographic Information Science since its formative period in the early 1980's. In 1987, Professor Ronald Eastman released the first desktop GIS software specifically designed for a microcomputer platform. The IDRISI GIS and Image Processing System, now part of the larger TerrSet Geospatial Monitoring and Modeling System, is widely distributed across the globe and is supported by the Clark Labs research center. 


GISDE's curriculum is designed to be pedagogically structured yet flexible, and creates many opportunities for students to build a solid foundation of geospatial theories and skills while specializing in areas that will help them meet their professional and academic objectives.  The program currently offers three tracks - ResearchPractitioner and Portfolio. The required 12 graduate course units include five core courses, seven electives and is designed to be completed in just two years full-time.


Sample courses include: Introduction to GIS, Advanced Raster GIS, Advanced Vector GIS, Computer Programming for GIS, Web Mapping & Open Source GIS, Social Applications of GIS, Wildlife Conservation GIS, GIS & Map Comparison, GIS for International Development, Landscape Ecology, Introduction to Remote Sensing, Advanced Remote Sensing, Remote Sensing of Global Environmental Change.


Recent GISDE graduates now hold positions such as:

-          Cartographer,  Library of Congress

-          Center Lead, NASA DEVELOP Program

-          Geo Data Scientist,

-          Geospatial Specialist, National Agriculture Library

-          GIS Analyst , American Red Cross

-          GIS Manager, Conservation International

-          GIS Programmer/Research Associate, West Virginia University

-          GIS Research Specialist, University of Illinois

-          GIS Specialist II,  CDM Smith

-          GIS Specialist, Center for Geographic Analysis, Harvard University

-          GIS Specialist, Industrial Economics

-          Imagery Specialist, Mapbox

-          Program Officer, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, United Nations

-          Research Analyst, McKinsey & Company

-          Research Editor, National Geographic

-          Support Analyst and Product Engineer, ESRI


Each year, the GISDE program awards a large number of scholarships to incoming students and also offers exciting opportunities for research and teaching assistantships.


For more information please contact the GISDE Program Coordinator,

Dr. Jie Tian


Phone: (508) 793-7527