Master of Applied Geospatial Information Systems and Technologies

Geospatial @ UCLA's fully online Master of Applied Geospatial Information Systems and Technology (MAGIST) graduate degree program is designed to serve the large number of students and professionals seeking a terminal degree in geographic information systems (GIS), mapping and geographic data science.

Applications for Fall 2021 will be accepted beginning in September 2020.

The curriculum offers coursework that brings academic rigor to topics required for GIS professionals in business, engineering, planning, data and information management, as well as government and non-profit organizations.  With its emphasis upon spatial data analysis and computer programming techniques, the MAGIST program prepares students for professional success in specialized and highly skilled positions within the GIS and geospatial technology industries.

Interested in applying to this program for Fall 2021 or beyond?  Enter your email address below, and we will be in touch as soon as the next application cycle launches.

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Who should apply for the MAGIST program?

The MAGIST program is designed to provide advanced graduate education for students and professionals who possess substantive academic background or work experience in the fields of geographic information systems (GIS) and geospatial technology.  Given that the program approaches GIS from a spatial data science and computer programming perspective, students who have an abiding interest in learning data science research methods within a geospatial context are particularly encouraged to apply.

Successful candidates for admission will typically possess undergraduate-level academic background in GIS (substantial coursework, certificate, major, or minor) or equivalent professional experience.

What is required for admission?

While final admissions requirements are still being determined, the following requirements can serve as a guideline for prospective MAGIST students:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in an appropriate field, plus:
    • an undergraduate or post-baccalaureate certificate, major, or minor in GIS or geospatial technology, OR;
    • at least five quarter courses (or three semester courses) of substantial upper division GIS or geospatial technology coursework, OR;
    • equivalent professional experience in geospatial technology;
  • A cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.2 in upper division courses;
  • A written personal statement detailing relevant academic preparation or work experience that has prepared them for graduate study in GIS (a resume or CV can be used to supplement this statement), and;
  • Two letters of recommendation that emphasize the applicant's level of preparation for graduate study in geospatial technology.
  • Standardized exams including the GRE are NOT required for admission and will not be considered in the application process.

Applications for admission will be accepted on a rolling basis throughout the calendar year.

Is the program offered fully online, and will any campus presence be required?

A key feature of the MAGIST program is its fully online format.  All instruction will be conducted online with primarily asynchronous (i.e., non-live communication) instructional design.  This program structure is designed to accommodate the schedules of working professionals, giving participants the freedom to review course content and complete required activities and coursework at convenient times.  In addition to the program’s asynchronous online courses, students will be afforded regular opportunities to meet with instructors and program leaders.

What coursework is required for completion of the MAGIST degree?

MAGIST students will enroll in up to three four-unit courses per quarter (excluding Summer quarters), for a total of nine courses (36 units). Students will be able to complete the program in nine months (three academic quarters). Most students will begin the MAGIST program in the Fall quarter.

The MAGIST program consists of a set of seven required core courses (four units each) in addition to two required research methods and development courses (four units each). The gateway course to the program, Applied Geospatial Analysis and Visualization, is scheduled to be offered in Fall quarter each year.  After completing the gateway course, students will complete a sequence of required courses that emphasize geospatial analysis and research methods as well as computer programming techniques. A capstone project is the final requirement to complete the MAGIST degree.

How is COVID-19 affecting application for and enrollment in the MAGIST program?

Given that the MAGIST program was designed from its inception to be offered completely online, we anticipate that the MAGIST program will launch on schedule in Fall 2021 and begin accepting applications on schedule in September 2020.  The UCLA Department of Geography has been offering fully online GIS courses since 2013, and our faculty are proceeding with MAGIST course development on schedule despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

How long does it take to complete the MAGIST program?

Students can complete the MAGIST program in as little as one academic year (nine months; three quarters) by taking three courses per quarter for three quarters.  Students enrolled in the MAGIST program are free to enroll in one or more courses per quarter; enrollment in at least one course (four units) is required each quarter unless a student follows the Graduate Division's leave of absence policy.  Students enrolling in two or more courses concurrently (eight units or more) are considered by UCLA and the Graduate Division to be enrolled full-time.

Therefore, completion of the program (disregarding leaves of absence) can range in time from one academic year (three courses per quarter) to three academic years (one course per quarter).

What is the estimated program tuition?

While final approval of tuition and fees is still pending, it is anticipated that tuition will be assessed at a per-unit fee of $1,024 per unit.  Taking into account the required 36 credits, program tuition is estimated to be $36,864.  Miscellaneous campus and student service fees may be assessed in addition to the per-unit tuition.

What is the relationship between MAGIST and the GIS and Geospatial Technology certificate program offered by Geospatial @ UCLA?

Geospatial @ UCLA is proud to offer not only the MAGIST program, but also a five-course fully online certificate program in GIS and Geospatial Technology.  This open-enrollment certificate program is meant for entry-level learners who have little to no formal experience working with GIS methods and technologies.  Students who are interested in MAGIST but do not have substantive GIS experience are encouraged to consider completing the certificate program to satisfy MAGIST admissions requirements.

Since completion of an undergraduate-level certificate or equivalent coursework/experience is required for admission to the MAGIST program (see admissions requirements for details), coursework from prerequisite programs, including Geospatial @ UCLA's certificate program, cannot be applied to the MAGIST course requirements.

Can prior coursework be applied to the MAGIST program?

Courses taken outside the MAGIST program cannot be transferred in to satisfy MAGIST program requirements.  The MAGIST program has a carefully designed and fixed curriculum, and students are required to complete every required course without any substitutions.

Required Courses



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