Posted on April 1st, 2014

Free For All – GIS Department Rankings

Are you considering a degree in GIS and/or geography? If so, you found the correct Free For All! When it comes to rankings, I have yet to find one specific to GIS so for now we are left looking at those for entire Geography departments. In addition, undergraduate college rankings are rarely by department (save for business and engineering); so for this article, we will focus on graduate school rankings as a proxy for the overall quality of the Geography curriculum.

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The methodology of any ranking system can be questioned, but in my experience, there is still validity in the exercise. And while the difference between the top ranked school and say the third ranked school is likely minor, it is hard to doubt that those schools ranked in the top position of any list are superior to those ranked on the bottom. With this in mind, most people consider the U.S. National Research Council (US NRC) rankings as the best available for doctoral programs; but you often need a PhD in mathematics just to interpret them! So here is a nice summary of the US NRC rankings put together by geographer Justin Holman.

This ranking system of Geography departments is based on US NRC data as well as three other sources. The nice part of this website is that you can customize the algorithm used to calculate the rankings to match your specific views and needs.

And finally, here is an interesting ranking of GIScience journals that I came across in the hunt for Geography department ranks.

Until my next edition of Free For All, happy hunting for free geospatial goodies!

Brock Adam McCarty
Map Wizard
(720) 470-7988
brock@apollomapping.com

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