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Degrees & Programs

Masters Degrees

Master of Science – Spatial Information Science and Engineering

The School offers both a thesis and project option in the Master of Science in Spatial Information Science and Engineering.

The thesis option is the scientific track, typically requiring a strong engineering, computer science, or mathematics undergraduate background. Prospective master’s students with other disciplinary backgrounds are expected to make up the requisite math and engineering courses that would allow them to succeed in an engineering graduate curriculum. The thesis option includes a substantial piece of individual research as a basis for a master’s thesis.

The project option is aimed at students who wish to focus primarily on course work rather than research at the master’s level. The formal coursework is complemented by a one-semester project in which the student must demonstrate that he or she can apply the acquired knowledge for implementing a particular solution.

The degree requirements for the master degrees in Spatial Information Science and Engineering may be found in the Graduate Catalog under Graduate Programs, Certificates and Specializations > Spatial Information Science and Engineering. For requirements supplementing the Graduate Catalog, consult the school’s Graduate Student Guide.

Note: International students should note that the MS and PhD SIE programs are certified as STEM programs (see http://www.ice.gov/sevis and CIP Code 14.3801) potentially allowing a longer post-graduation training stay in the U.S.


Master of Science – Spatial Informatics

The Master of Science in Spatial Informatics is an all course-work degree program of study that is available only through distance learning. Its goal is to serve place-bound students that desire strong theory, computational, analytical, policy and technical foundations in geographic information science and systems. This graduate degree is the online version of the on-campus MS in Spatial Information Science and Engineering degree and accommodates students from wide ranging undergraduate degree backgrounds. Distance students take the same comprehensive graduate course content with the same high-caliber full-time professors as taken by on-campus graduate students.

Students build on foundations in computer science, mathematics, physics, geography, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, engineering and related fields to study spatio-temporal phenomena and design intelligent spatial information systems. The terms “spatial information science and engineering” and “spatial informatics” may be used interchangeably to describe the field of knowledge that builds from and bridges to domains of geographic information science, computer science, cognitive science and engineering.

The UMaine Spatial Informatics graduate program is designed to meet the growing demand in society for graduates with high-level geospatial technology skills and provide a path for women and men from diverse fields to rapidly transition to information system career paths by providing them with foundation graduate level courses in information systems and geographic information science.

The degree requirements for the master degrees in Spatial Informatics may be found in the Graduate Catalog under Graduate Programs, Certificates and Specializations > Spatial Informatics. For requirements supplementing the Graduate Catalog, consult the school’s Graduate Student Guide.

MS Spatial Informatics Brochure (4 pages – pdf)
MS Spatial Informatics 2016/2017 Course Offerings (1 page – pdf)

Note: International students should note that the MS Spatial Informatics program is certified as a STEM program (see http://www.ice.gov/sevis and CIP Code 14.3801).

Ph.D. Degree

Spatial Information Science and Engineering

The Ph.D. degree is the highest of academic degrees. The Ph.D. in Spatial Information Science and Engineering is awarded to those demonstrating outstanding achievement in Spatial Information Science and Engineering scholarship and primarily for demonstrated ability for independent research in the field. The preparation and defense of a thesis embodying the results of an original investigation in a specialized area of Spatial Information Science and Engineering are essential features of the program.

The program for the Ph.D. degree in Spatial Information Science and Engineering carries a minimum residency requirement of two academic years and a minimum of 42 credit hours in formal course work beyond the bachelor’s degree. Students normally hold a Masters degree, typically in engineering, computer science, mathematics, geography with a strong technical and analytical background or cognitive science. However, students with exceptional undergraduate performance may be admitted directly into the PhD program.

A qualifying examination is taken after the student has completed the course requirements and developed a thesis proposal. The examination will be designed to test the student’s area of expertise by evaluating the student’s knowledge related to his or her thesis topic through oral and/or written examination. No foreign language requirement is included in the program. A full oral defense of the dissertation is required upon completion of the student’s work.

The degree requirements for the doctor of philosophy (PhD) in Spatial Information Science and Engineering may be found in the Graduate Catalog under Graduate Programs, Certificates and Specializations > Spatial Information Science and Engineering.  For requirements supplementing the Graduate Catalog, consult the school’s Graduate Student Guide.

Graduate Certificates

The following graduate certificate program may be taken through our regular on-campus course offerings. Many or all of the courses are also available through distance technologies. Formal admission through the graduate school application process is required.

  • Geographic Information Systems For the requirements, consult the Graduate Catalog under Graduate Programs, Certificates and Specializations > Geographic Information Systems (Certificate)