Skip to main content

Geospatial Science

Essential skills for a changing world.
Geospatial science is a rapidly growing discipline with applications in government agencies, businesses, and non-profit organizations.

Majors and Minors

Geographic Information Science

Geographic Information Science
Climatology and Meteorology


Math/Science Scholarships: 
Compete for two full-tuition per year Math/Science scholarships.

Courses and fieldwork in the Carthage Geospatial Science Department emphasize critical thinking and problem solving, preparing graduates with essential skills for analyzing today’s global challenges: environmental change, water resources, energy supplies, and shortages, population growth and shifts, hunger, disease, and regional conflicts.

Programs offered

The Geospatial Science Department at Carthage offers majors in Geoscience and Geographic Information Science, and minors in Geoscience, Geographic Information Science, and Climatology and Meteorology.


Geospatial scientists study the world we live in and on. The discipline focuses on spatial analysis — studying the processes that determine where and how people interact with their environment. At Carthage, the geoscience curriculum will prepare you to address global challenges ranging from climate change and sustainability to environmental hazards and biodiversity. In geoscience courses, you will learn how to collect and analyze data from the field, in the lab, and from online sources.

The foundation for understanding problems is a thorough knowledge of the Earth’s structure, landforms, hydrology, and patterns of climates, vegetation, and soils. You will develop the analytical and statistical skills to interpret data and construct models and maps. We encourage our students to combine classroom study with internships, community service, and independent research.

Geographic Information Science

In Geographic Information Science (GIS), you will learn to use software, web-based geospatial applications, and database management systems, developing skills for cartographic representation, spatial analysis, and geovisualization. GIS students use many tools, including mapping and statistical software, remote sensing, and global positioning systems. In addition to weekly hands-on labs, students in higher-level GIS classes routinely engage in service-learning projects partnered with local, regional, and national organizations, government agencies, and businesses.

Click on any image above to learn more/view larger; use arrows or arrow keys to navigate left and right

Internships and professional development

The Geospatial Science Department has a network of alumni and faculty contacts, and we will help you find internships, jobs, and educational development opportunities that will give you real-world experience and enhance your skills. In the summer of 2016, current students engaged in:

  • An NSF-funded study of energy transfers in thunderstorms.
  • A SeaGrant internship.
  • Two students working full-time on a NASA-funded remote sensing and forestry project.
  • A GIS internship with the Kenosha Water Utility.
  • Educating hikers on the Appalachian Trail in New England.

Capstone experience

All Carthage students must complete a senior thesis to graduate. As part of this capstone experience, students develop and conduct original or applied research in their junior and senior years. Some projects have been presented at national venues such as Posters on the Hill, the National Conference of Undergraduate Research, and the annual conference of the Association of American Geographers, as well as on campus at the College’s annual Celebration of Scholars event.


J-Term is a month-long period of intense study, with opportunities to take courses on campus and to travel. The Geospatial Science Department offers courses every J-Term. Recent on-campus offerings include The Science of Global Climate Change and The Fate of Our Most Precious Resource: Water. Recent off-campus study tours include study tours to China, Japan, the Himalayas, Nicaragua, Hawaii, Belize, Iceland, and the Grand Canyon.

“As a transfer student who came into Carthage as a junior, I found the Geospatial Science faculty to be very welcoming. They were always available to meet to answer questions or give advice. Additionally, the curriculum provided me with an excellent learning experience through a variety of challenging courses. The GIS minor specifically prepared me well to begin my career right out of school.”
— Kevin Steltzriede ’15

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2021), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • Beyond the campus boundaries, dinosaur fossils are prepared at the Carthage Institute of Paleontolgoy in Kenosha. A lengthy pterodactyl flight away, Finca Esperanza serves as a base camp for J-Term medical and water quality missions to Nicaragua. 

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit The Aspire Center.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors, and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from marketing to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $25,000 up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about Intellectual Foundations.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked in the Top 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …


Explore in Video