Feb 28, 2024  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog This is not the most recent catalog version; be sure you are viewing the appropriate catalog year.

Geospatial Information Science and Technology [BS]

GIST empowers students with geospatial information technologies for high in-demand professional careers that are among the fastest growing of all sectors of the economy (e.g., environmental management and science, engineering & design, geo-intelligence & homeland security, facility and asset management, marketing and location-based services, telecommunications, transportation, etc.). The GIST Major is a 124-credit hour bachelor degree program, including 39 credits of required core courses and 23-26 credits of a specialized, marketable and student-chosen concentration (Program Website). Students in the GIS minor are required to take 15 credits of GIST course work.


Practical skills needed to successfully apply GIST to your major area of expertise, including: Basic and Advanced GIS Theory; Spatial Analysis and Spatial Statistics; Databases, such as Access, MySQL, Oracle Spatial, PostgreSQL, and ArcSDE; GIS Programming using VB.Net, ArcObjects, Javascript, PHP, Python, etc.; Aerial Photograph Interpretation; Remote Sensing of the Environment; Global Positioning Systems; GIS Project Management; Environmental Assessment; and Research Methods.


The skills of GIST professionals are needed in federal agencies such as the Bureau of Land Management, National Imagery and Mapping Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA); GIS for K-12 Educators; as well as with municipal agencies, and private engineering, planning and technology firms.  Many GIST majors will secure both paid and unpaid internships, which often lead to full-time employment.

Career applications of GIST skills include: Business GIS | Cartography | Crime Analysis | Energy Utilities | Engineering | Environmental Management | Forestry | Geospatial-Intelligence | Military | National Defense | Public Health | Remote Sensing

This is a designated STEM program (see OPT Extension).

Department Information

Geography & Geology 140D Strong Hall, 734.487.0218

Christine Clark, PhD, Department Head

Advisor Information

Yichun Xie, PhD, 140G Strong Hall, 734.487.7588

William Welsh, PhD, 140N Strong Hall, 734.487.7586

Hugh Semple, PhD, 140O Strong Hall, 734.487.8169

Xining Yang, PhD, 140C Strong Hall, 734.487.8486

General Education Requirements:

For specific requirements, see General Education  or view the General Education Worksheet [PDF] .  

Major Requirements: 62-65 hours

Concentration: 23-26 hours

Choose one of the following concentrations.

Urban and Regional Planning: 23-25 hours

Choose 23-25 credit hours from the list of restrictive electives below. At least one course must be at the 400-level.

Minor Requirement:

This major does not require a minor.

Program Total:

Students must earn a minimum total of 120 credits at the 100-level or above.

Critical Graduation Information

Each undergraduate student will be responsible for fulfilling the requirements (or their equivalents) of the Eastern Michigan University catalog in force at the time of their initial registration at a college or university or a subsequent catalog, including the one in effect at the time of their graduation.

In the event an undergraduate student does not complete the degree requirements within seven years of the date of their original registration at a college or university, the student may be required to have their credits re-evaluated by the academic department(s) of their major/minor in keeping with catalog requirements in force during the year of their graduation.

Minimum requirements for all bachelor’s degrees awarded by Eastern Michigan University

Some majors and minors require more than the minimum in one or more of the areas below; students are urged to consult this catalog for the requirements of their particular programs.

  • Earn a minimum total of 120 credit hours at the 100-level and above.
    • Courses numbered below 100 are not counted toward this degree requirement.
    • At most, eight credit hours of physical education (PEGN) activity courses are counted toward this requirement.
  • Meet the requirements of the General Education program (see information below), including completing a Writing Intensive (GEWI) course in the student’s major.
  • Earn a minimum of 60 credits from a four-year college or university; courses taken at community colleges cannot be used to meet this requirement (Some formal program-to-program articulation agreements modify this requirement. See specific agreements for details).
  • Earn a minimum of 30 credits from courses taken at EMU.
  • Complete 10 of the last 30 hours for the degree from courses taken at EMU.
  • Have a minimum of 30 unique credit hours in their major and 20 unique credit hours in their minor for a total of at least 50 unique credit hours between them. Some majors that require 50 or more hours themselves do not require a minor. A double major automatically satisfies the need for a minor unless one of the two majors requires a specific minor. Students should check the requirements of the selected major in the undergraduate catalog to see if a minor is required. 
  • Earn no more than 60 credit hours in one subject area (prefix). Credits over the 60 maximum will not be counted toward the minimum of 120 credits required for a bachelor’s degree.
  • Earn the minimum number of credits in 300-level and above courses in each major and minor as specified below - these credits must be earned in distinct courses; that is, no course can be used to fulfill this requirement in more than one major or minor.
    • Earn a minimum of 6 credits in 300-level or higher courses at EMU in each minor
    • Earn a minimum of 9 credits in 300-level or higher courses at EMU in each major that requires a minor.
    • Earn a minimum of 15 credits in 300-level or higher courses at EMU in each major that does not require a minor
  • Transfer credit will be awarded for courses taken at colleges and universities that are accredited by one of the recognized regional accrediting bodies only if the courses are college-level (equated to 100-level or above at EMU) and the student earned a “C” (or 2.0 on a 4 point scale) or better. Transfer credit may be awarded on a case-by-case basis for college-level courses in which a “C” (2.0) or better was earned at institutions outside the U.S. or at non-accredited U.S. institutions; individual departments/schools conduct the internal review of such courses within EMU, and additional documentation may be required. Please note: EMU awards only credit for transferred courses; grades are not used to calculate an EMU GPA.
  • Earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 in courses taken at EMU to graduate. In addition, a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 must be reached in each major and minor. Only courses a student takes at EMU and those applied to their major or minor are used to calculate their major and minor cumulative GPAs. (Note: some programs may require a higher GPA - check with your program advisor.)

General Education Requirements - EMU’s General Education Program requires students to choose from a menu of approved courses in several different areas; do not assume that other courses in the same department or similar names will fulfill these requirements. A detailed description of General Education requirements is available in the General Education  section of the catalog.

Students who transferred to EMU may have modified general education requirements based on Michigan Transfer Agreement (MTA) or articulation agreements; consult your academic advisor for additional information.