Earn your bachelor's and master's degrees in 5 years

The combined degree program offers motivated undergraduate students the opportunity to complete their bachelor and master’s degree requirements at an accelerated rate of five years. As part of the University of Iowa’s Undergraduate-to-Graduate (U2G) program, participants will graduate with both a bachelor’s degree in geography, and a Master of Science in Geoinformatics. While typically earning the MS degree in geoinformatics requires two years of study beyond the bachelor’s degree, the combined degree program allows students to cross-credit up to 12 semester hours of coursework and complete the MS requirements in just one year.

The combined degree program is well-suited for geography majors that have a particular interest in geographic information science (GIS), informatics, and statistics. The program is highly recommended for Geography students on the GIS track, as well as geography students on the environmental studies and health and society tracks pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree.

Participants in the combined degree program will graduate with advanced training in geoinformatics and be equipped with the specialized knowledge and skills needed to succeed in this rapidly growing and diversifying field.

Program outcomes

Driven by an increasing need for locational intelligence and a large, growing volume of publicly accessible geographic data, the GIS industry is expected to grow by 29% over the next decade, much faster than the average occupation (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook). Graduates of the U2G program will develop technical skills such as spatial analysis, statistics, computer programming, and database management for geographic data, and gain valuable experience applying these geospatial techniques to real-world problems. Students in the combined degree program will gain an understanding of:

  • Advanced techniques for spatial analysis
  • Advanced problem solving strategies using geospatial techniques
  • Cutting-edge geospatial technologies
  • Advanced principles of information science or computer programming
  • Collaborative project management  

Graduates will be prepared to enter a variety of career fields in the private or public sector. Potential career fields include economics, health, climate change, environmental management, and urban planning.

Admission requirements

Applicants to the U2G combined degree program should apply for admission to the program during the second semester of their third year as an undergraduate. Requirements for admission are:

  • Completion of 80 semester hours of undergraduate work
  • Grade-point average (GPA) of 3.25
  • Transfer students need to have completed 30 semester hours at the University of Iowa
  • Successful completion of GEOG: 1050 Foundations of GIS
  • Submission of online application to the Graduate College
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose
  • Curriculum vitale
  • Official GRE and, if applicable TOEFL (international students) scores

Applications will be reviewed by the Geoinformatics Admissions Committee, and will require support from the applicant’s undergraduate advisor in the Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences. Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in coursework applied to their MS in Geoinformatics.

The U2G Combined Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Program is recommended for Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science students in Geography’s Geographic Information Science (GIS) track, and Bachelor of Science students in Geography’s Environmental Studies and Health & Society tracks. Undergraduates enrolled in these programs will have the sufficient background in information science and statistics to successfully complete the requirements for the combined degree program.

Program information

Students enrolled in this program will be assessed at the undergraduate tuition rate for their blended year (i.e., first and second semesters of their senior year) and at the graduate rate for the final year of study. Students are eligible for a graduate assistantship once they complete their undergraduate degree and matriculate to graduate-only status.

Twelve semester hours of credit earned after admission to the U2G degree program will be cross-credited. This will be credit earned in the student’s fourth year of undergraduate school.

Students will take the standard final examination administered to all MS in Geoinformatics, during the last semester of their fifth year.

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