UMM to offer new degree in environmental geographic information science

Beginning in fall 2020, the University of Maine at Machias will be the only public university in Maine to offer a four-year degree program in geographic information systems (GIS).

The bachelor’s degree in environmental geographic information science replaces UMM’s major in environmental studies.

The curriculum will point students toward more specific career paths within the field of environmental GIS, says program director Tora Johnson. Three concentrations will allow students to focus on a specific sector of the geospatial workforce, where employment opportunities range from conservation and community planning to land surveying and data analysis.

Two of those concentrations will be offered as fully online degree pathways: community applications, which will incorporate community studies and social sciences; and spatial data sciences, which will incorporate quantitative analysis and programming skills.

A third concentration in ecological applications, incorporating field-based courses in biology and ecology, will require on-campus attendance for a minimum of three semesters.

As part of a 4+1 program partnership with the University of Maine, environmental GIS students also will have the opportunity to take graduate-level coursework online and complete a master’s degree in spatial informatics in one year.

Johnson has directed UMM’s GIS Laboratory and Service Center since 2004, teaching courses for a GIS minor and certificate program. Her students have completed a number of service-oriented mapping projects, including assessments of flood resilience and climate vulnerability for Washington County.

“Our GIS program is already widely known for hands-on, practical training and linking students to internship and job opportunities,” she says. “We’re thrilled to expand this program for our students, and to address a growing need for qualified workers in the field.”

For more information about the new program, visit