Cartography Master's Degree Programs

Cartographers gather data to create digital maps of cities, landscapes and topography. Learn about degree options and classes available in these programs along with typical job duties. Schools offering Culture & Media Studies degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Are the Requirements for a Master's Degree Program in Cartography?

Admissions requirements for the master's degree in cartography include a bachelor's degree. A degree in cartography or a related field - such as geology or geographic information systems - is not required, but you typically need to earn additional credits if your degree is in a different field. Some schools require that you've completed some geography, math and statistical courses at the undergraduate level.

You can find a few online master's degree programs in geographic information systems (GIS) that allow you to specialize in cartography. On-campus programs may issue degrees in geography with a cartography emphasis. Master's degree programs take 2-3 years to complete and focus on geography, cartography and GIS courses. You will also need to write and defend a thesis. Research is another component of the degree program that allows you to examine topics and issues in cartography and explore possible solutions.

Prerequisites Bachelor's degree is required; most schools require previously completed courses in related areas of study
Common Courses Mapping, interpretation, photogrammetry, cartography, graphic design
Learning Environment Traditional classroom and distance learning degree options are available
Possible Careers Topographer, surveyor, cartographer, planner
Median Salary (2018)$64,430 (for cartographers and photogrammetrists)*
Job Outlook (2016-26)19% growth (for all cartographers and photogrammetrists)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Courses Will I Take?

Cartography professionals use math and computers to make and design maps of roads, mountains, cities or landscapes. Some master's level cartography topics you might cover include:

  • Mapping with GPS
  • Remote sensing and photogrammetry
  • Using graphic design in cartography
  • Web-based mapping
  • Digital cartography
  • Thematic cartography
  • Trends in cartography
  • Vector methods in GIS
  • Map interpretation

How Do Online Programs Work?

Schools that offer online programs will provide you with the opportunity to work with modern tools and technology used in the GIS and cartography field. Your lectures may be delivered through an online learning platform such as Blackboard, and you'll correspond with classmates and instructors via discussion forums. Some programs allow you to create and share an online portfolio of your coursework. There may be some in-person requirements, such as presenting a research project at a professional conference.

What Can I Do With This Degree?

With a master's degree in cartography, you can work as a planner and help decide where to place roads and put up buildings. You can also enter GIS at the state or local level, keeping track of an area's roads, topography and water supply. You could become a cartographer and create digital maps that include road changes. Becoming a surveyor is another option, which involves analyzing the boundaries between different communities and checking lands reserved for building projects.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • University of Denver

    Campus Locations:

    • Colorado: Denver
  • University of Akron Main Campus

    Campus Locations:

    • Ohio: Akron
  • The University of Texas at Dallas

    Campus Locations:

    • Texas: Richardson
  • Salem State University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Salem
  • Michigan Technological University

    Campus Locations:

    • Michigan: Houghton
  • CUNY Lehman College

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: Bronx
  • Stanford University

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Stanford
  • Harvard University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Cambridge
  • University of Pennsylvania

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
  • Duke University

    Campus Locations:

    • North Carolina: Durham