Study at the birthplace of American cartography! The UW–Madison Non-Thesis Master of Science in Cartography and GIS is a condensed and immersive program in the renowned Science Hall.

Is this program right for you?

The Non-thesis Master of Science in Cartography and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from the University of Wisconsin–Madison is a new program offering you a Geographic Information Systems master’s degree at an accelerated pace. You can complete our program in as few as 2 semesters, twice as short as our traditional master’s offering. Plus, instead of a thesis, you complete a culminating, project-based practicum course, integrating everything you’ve learned in the program with professional problems.


Our multidisciplinary program provides you a variety of professional software development skills applicable in a variety of fields, including geography, engineering, data journalism, health care, and more. Our curriculum also allows you to pursue a mixture of different learning paths through courses in visualization, cartography, spatial analysis, and development.


The Cartography and GIS Accelerated/Non-thesis Master’s program is offered on-campus through UW–Madison’s Department of Geography. You will be able to access on-campus resources, collaborate directly with faculty and staff, and enjoy guest speakers. Our highly interactive program also includes options to complete hands-on group and community engagement projects, and ample networking opportunities.


In one year you will go from GIS novice to GIS expert. Learn to use GIS and visualization tools to identify and solve real-world spatial programs—and advance your career.


What you Learn

  • Understand and utilize GIS and visualization tools to identify and help solve real-world spatial problems
  • Use proprietary, open-source, and scripted tools to achieve two of the following: conduct spatial analysis, manage large spatial datasets, create compelling visualizations, and develop web-based GIS tools
  • Visualize and communicate complex geospatial problems and solutions
  • Gain experience in Visualization, Cartography, Spatial Analysis, and Development
  • Build lifelong relationships with leaders in the GIS field

Where & How you learn


  • Face-to-Face


  • Complete 30-32 graduate level credits in 3 semesters
  • Attend classes on-campus from world renowned Department of Geography professors with a long tradition of excellence in the field
  • In lieu of a traditional thesis, you complete a GIS Practicum (online), a project-based, professional development course that integrates your classroom knowledge with industry problems and processes

Apply Now

All applicants must:

  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher learning
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • One course in quantitative methods or statistics
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores, if applicable
    • TOEFL- 92 for internet based test (IBT) and 580 for paper test
    • IELTS- 7.0

Apply now or visit program website.


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