Geographical Perspectives Blog Ranks UCSB Geography Number One in GIS-Related Graduate Studies


Justin Holman is the author of justinholman.com, a blog titled “Geographical Perspectives: A geographer’s thoughts on business, real estate, and education.” Holman has a PhD in Geography, specializing in Geographic Information Science, and has nearly 20 years of experience in geospatial research and software development.

Since 2012, Holman has produced his own rankings of graduate Geography programs in the U.S., mainly because, as he puts it, “The only available basis for developing rankings of graduate geography programs (that I’m aware of – please comment if you can suggest another good source) comes from the U.S. National Research Council’s survey of doctoral programs. Unfortunately, because these rankings were produced by academic types who are masters of creating difficult-to-understand prose for publication in peer review journals, you almost need a PhD to interpret their rankings. So, I’ve tried to clarify these rankings by simply aggregating them together to form a single ranking” (source).

Holman’s 2012 rankings placed UCSB Geography at #9, with Boston University, the University of Colorado, the University of Maryland College Park, UCLA, and Penn State University taking the top 5 spots, respectively. In 2013, Holman used what he called “updated methodology” to produce a new list, and, this time around, UCSB was #1, followed by Colorado, Penn State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin, respectively.

This year, Holman decided to produce a set of rankings for students interested specifically in GIS-related graduate studies: “Note that these rankings are meant to highlight outstanding GIS programs within geography departments. So, while there may be other graduate programs that produce outstanding GIS-practitioners, scientists, programmers, etc., I have focused on programs that are led and taught by academic geographers.” UCSB is #1 on Holman’s 2014 list of the top 10 graduate GIS programs, followed, in descending order, by Ohio State, Penn State, Arizona State, Michigan State, Buffalo, Wisconsin, Illinois, Clark, and South Carolina (source).

Editor’s note: Many thanks to Geography major Brittany Gale for bringing this material to the attention of the Department.

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Justin Holman is CEO of Aftermarket Analytics, a web technology company specializing in advanced decision analytics for the Automotive Aftermarket. He also teaches Statistics in the Hasan School of Business at Colorado State University – Pueblo. Previously, he worked as Chief Operating Officer at BioMedware where he led research projects for the National Cancer Institute, Managing Consultant at MapInfo where he devised real estate strategies for The Home Depot, Darden Restaurants and other retailers, Vice President of Software Development at LogicTools, now part of IBM’s Supply Chain Application group, and Research Scientist at the US Geological Survey where he analyzed the relationship between climate and wildfire in the Western US (justinholman.com/about/)