Environmental Observation and Informatics


Focal Areas

The 32-credit Environmental Observation and Informatics (EOI) curriculum provides the expertise that the market demands, focusing specifically on three pillars.

1. Remote sensing and integrated technology

Learn the fundamentals of earth observation by interpreting aerial photos and satellite data, then quickly advance to learn and apply new technology such as drones, LiDAR and radar, and cloud computing.

2. Modeling and analysis

Construct scenarios and models of environmental phenomena, natural processes, and human actions to predict and project future outcomes and inform decision making.

3. Innovative leadership

Drive strategic thinking to design and manage the use of observation technologies to advance policy, program direction, and executive decisions.

Details and Timeline

Here’s how the 15-month curriculum program breaks down each semester.

First Summer, In Person at UW-Madison

Kick off the summer with a two-week intensive seminar that includes:

Then switch gears for your technical courses in remote sensing and statistics that give you a solid foundation in using and interpreting environmental data. As a bonus, the summer also includes a multi-day hands-on workshop on working with geospatial data in R offered with the UW-Madison Data Science Hub.

Summer Courses

Bonus Activities

Fall Semester, In Person at UW-Madison

Campus will be buzzing with students in the fall as you dive deeper into the applications and analysis of spatial data. The two technical courses in GIS and remote sensing give you hands-on experience working with local and global conservation organizations, and with cloud computing platforms and open-source applications. Further your effectiveness through professional development in cross-cultural communication, diversity/equity/inclusion/justice, media and outreach training, presentations, and facilitation. Round out your experience with an elective course to focus on the social, economic, or ecological issues relevant to working with geospatial environmental data.

You also have an option of a fall course to focus on the social, economic, or ecological issues relevant to working with geospatial environmental data.

Required Fall Courses

Some Fall Elective Course Options

Bonus activities

Spring Semester, Online

Online learning is at its best when it is through carefully crafted courses. The spring semester has a series of one-credit modules that are frequently updated based on what you need. In addition, you will be a master of earth observation by learning advanced image processing techniques and the emerging technologies. While you can learn from anywhere in the world, if you choose to stay in Madison, you can come to campus weekly to meet with your peers and instructors – the choice is yours.

Spring Courses

Bonus Activities

Second Summer, Distance

The final summer of the program is all about practical hands-on learning. By this time, you will have worked with program staff and a partner organization to develop a project that is just for you. Under the guidance of a faculty advisor and supervision of your host organization, you will execute your plan and set yourself up to enter the workforce with your new skills and credentials.

Summer Course

Read more about student’s work on the Program Advantages page.

View complete enrollment guides with course descriptions:


All courses are taught by UW-Madison faculty and instructional staff who are passionate about this field and excited to bring you into it. Here a few of the core instructors for the EOI curriculum.