University of Minnesota
Master of Geographic Information Science

Master of Geographic Information Science

Funding & Awards

Student Assistantship and Internship Opportunities

Although our program is unable to provide guaranteed funding in the form of graduate assistantships, MGIS students are eligible to apply for posted opportunities. Our program is fortunate to be part of a major research institution with many internal funding opportunities in addition to being located in the Twin Cities metropolitan region that has many private, government, non-profit and community organizations seeking students to assist them with a variety of GIS projects.

Many students have been successful attaining on-campus graduate assistantships (e.g., research and teaching assistantships) supported through grants that often include tuition waivers or off-campus GIS-related internships and students jobs in the Twin Cities area. For example, many students have gained funding through the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA); the Center employs nearly 100 students per year and these positions are posted on the Graduate Assistants Job Posting Site.

International students must work at a University job during their first year in the program by U.S. government rules. After the first year, they need to contact International Student and Scholar Services of the Office of International Programs to determine the work options available to them. Please note that international students who receive a Form I-20 (F-1) or DS-2019 (J-1) based on admission to this program will be required to maintain full time enrollment (6-14 credits per semester) and will be subject to the rules and regulations that pertain to the F-1 or J-1 student visa status.

On-campus Opportunities

Postings for "Graduate Assistantships" can be found on the Graduate Assistant Employment page, but these positions are competitive and often only extend for a single semester. For additional funding information, visit the Graduate School's Funding & Tuition page.

Off-campus Opportunities

Off-campus funding opportunities generally come in the form of student positions at local, state, federal government agencies, non-profit groups, and private sector companies. Also, keep in mind that there are often non-paid opportunities that may prove worthwhile from the perspective of gaining valuable practical experience.

Internship/Research Opportunities

Current postings set to us by local agencies and organizations are available to MGIS students via the MGIS student listserv. Some internship programs established by professional organizations, private industry and government agencies are listed below:

Scholarships and Awards

There are a variety of awards and scholarships for which MGIS students can apply to help support research related to plan B projects, fund internships, or travel to conferences or workshops among other activities. These awards range from local awards specific to the state of Minnesota to national and international awards.

Local Awards

MN GIS/LIS Consortium Award

This award was established in 2000 by the College of Liberal Arts, the University of Minnesota, and the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium to recognize outstanding academic and professional achievement in the field of GIS by undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Minnesota.

Award recipients:

2014: Rebecca Barney (Undergrad) and Meredith Taylor Long
2013: Jameson Bupp (Undergrad) and Kris Johnson
2012: Kate Geraets (Undergrad) and Matthew Taraldsen
2011: Garrett Bing (Undergrad) and Jessica Campbell
2010: Colin Lee (Undergrad) and Margaret Voth
2009: Nicholas Entinger (Undergrad) and Jacob Galzki
2008: Jeremy Moore (Undergrad) and Len Kne
2007: Jason Menard
2006: Jessica Fendos
2005: Mike Engels
2004: Kevin Horne and Matthew Vavra
2003: Jessica Deegan and Sanjay Rane
2002: Marcelle Caturia
2001: Amy Jeu
2000: Mitch Day


Guidelines will be announced each Spring term. The winner will go on to compete in the Masters level paper competition at the MN GIS/LIS Consortium Annual meeting in early October.

MN GITA Chapter Scholarship for Advanced Applications and Research

The Minnesota Chapter of the Geospatial Information and Technology Association (GITA) has established a scholarship award open to students who are currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate Geospatial Studies program at a Minnesota University or College. Announcement of the award usually appears in the fall. A call for applicants will be posted to the MGIS students listserv.

National and International Awards

There are a number of national and international awards available to students pursuing degrees in Geographic Information Science.

Other Scholarships, Fellowships, and Awards

The following links are just a few of the possible grants that may be applicable to students in the MGIS program. These include awards successfully acquired by MGIS students.


Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education

US Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF)