Funding & Policies


Tuition rate information can be found via One Stop. Your tuition rate depends on your residential status and if you are a part- or full-time student. The MGIS program is designed to be completed in two years as a full-time student.

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.


Due to the professional nature of the MGIS program, there is no guaranteed funding available in the form of graduate teaching or research assistantships that can be applied for in advance as part of the admissions process. Unless students have independent or employer support, they are expected to find their own source of funding. Therefore, if you require guaranteed funding in the form of a graduate assistantship to attend our program, then ours may not be a good fit for you. 

However, once admitted to the MGIS program, students are eligible to seek on- and off-campus funding from various sources depending on citizenship and visa status. Students admitted to our program have an 85-90% success rate in securing some type of graduate assistantship or other kinds of funding (e.g., successful applications for fellowship funding). Additional financing information is available through the Graduate School.

If you are an international student who is able to find funding, keep in mind that you must work at a University job during your first year in the program by US government rules. After the first year, you need to contact International Student and Scholar Services of the Office of International Programs to determine the work options available to you. For example, there are opportunities for international students to participate in summer internships depending on certain requirements.

See more resources for GIS jobs and careers.

Student Assistantship & 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.

On-campus Opportunities

Many students have been successful attaining on-campus graduate assistantships (e.g., research and teaching assistantships) supported through grants that often include tuition waivers and health care benefits. For example, many students have secured on-campus funding through the Polar Geospatial Center, U-Spatial, Minnesota Population Center, Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA). These positions are posted by the Office of Human Resources Graduate Assistant Employment page. Keep in mind that these positions are competitive and some only extend for a single semester. See additional funding information through the Graduate School.

Off-campus Opportunities

Off-campus funding opportunities generally come in the form of GIS-related internships and  student positions at local, state, and federal government agencies; non-profit groups; and private sector companies. Keep in mind that there are often unpaid opportunities that may prove worthwhile from the perspective of gaining valuable practical experience; students also have the option of earning academic credit for their internship experience.

Internship & Research Opportunities

Current postings sent 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 & Awards

There are a variety of awards and scholarships for which MGIS students can apply to help support research related to independent 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 Student Scholar Award

This award is given by 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. The call for applicants happens in the spring semester.


Guidelines will be announced each spring term and available on the application form. The graduate UMN winner will go on to compete in the graduate level paper competition at the MN GIS/LIS Consortium annual meeting in early fall.

Award recipients:

  • 2023: Peter Mitchell (undergrad) and Luke Zaruba
  • 2022: Alexander Edstrom (undergrad) and Taylor Andersen-Beaver
  • 2021: Audrey Hyke (undergrad) and Lucas Rosen
  • 2020: Cole Anderson (undergrad) and Travis Ormsby
  • 2019: Alysha Alloway and Lauren Strug
  • 2018: Wing Yi Wong (undergrad) and Kathy Dooley
  • 2017: Coleman Shepard (undergrad) and Kevin Ehrman-Solberg
  • 2016: Jacob Arndt (undergrad) and Tobias Fimpel
  • ​2015: Joseph Krenzelok (undergrad) and Jennifer Reinke
  • 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

Other Scholarships, Fellowships, & 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.