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Advance your career with the Master of Arts in Applied Professional Studies, Data Visualization and Interpretation program and develop a specific set of skills focused on the presentation of convincing information.

Data visualization is the graphical representation of information and data. Pictures and visualizations of any kind have a more powerful impact on an audience than written words. By using visuals like charts, graphs, and maps, interpreting data becomes easier to see and understand trends, outliers, and patterns in data.

As an advancing professional in the corporate or public sector, you will need to give presentations about "stuff". Often times the information you present includes data. There are data scientists who collect data, social scientists who analyze the data and make sense of it. In this concentration, you will learn to selectively take the information provided by the data and social scientists, and learn how to best convey that data visually.

A director of sales presents sales figures in the form of a basic spreadsheet. Visualizing data is more convincing than the numbers. An effective presenter conveys information faster, and understands various ways to do it, and which options are better than others.

A finance manager presents information using a pie chart, and then highlights a slice of the pie using a circle. The example is a small detail that doesn’t offend the audience, but can cause confusion and static, which may delay the acceptance of information.

Data visualization gives you the tools to conceptually understand the undergirding of the kinds of data you want to represent so you can know the best way to convey that data.

Some of the best examples in the field of data visualization and interpretation are geographers. For example, a popular tool created by geographers are maps. Maps have been a dependable resource for relaying information effectively through color, trees, lines, and text. Move into the modern era and we have the GIS (Global Information Systems) tool specifically used by geographers. It is one of the most powerful data analysis tools that exists, but also one of the most powerful tools for visualizing all forms of data. Geographers are really in the position to know the most about data which is why Geographers teach most of our classes.

Overall, this program is about giving you the tools to learn how to use information effectively in any presentation you will give.
That is Data Visualization and Interpretation.


Develop advanced in-demand skills to meet immediate workplace needs. An Applied Professional Studies degree focuses on industry specific skills that employers are looking for today while combining real-world application. We designed the MAPS program for the working professionals - offering a flexible format, online courses, and affordable opportunity to achieve your professional and personal goals that align with potential for career advancement and upskilling needs.

  1. Demonstrate a knowledge of a variety of design and research approaches
  2. Describe the main goals of data visualization in a way that demonstrates general understanding
  3. Utilize the different technologies associated with data mining, data visualization, text analytics and data graphics
  4. Translate data into clear, actionable insights
  5. Present information clearly, logically, and critically, to support decision making.


MAPS 730  Data Visualization Concepts (required) Explores data visualization including opportunities for critiquing representations of data, techniques used in analysis packages and best practices for data visualization to different audiences. 

MAPS 731  Data Visualization and Communication; Tableau (required OR maps 732 OR 733) Create and distributes interactive and shareable visual analytics using Tableau.

MAPS 732  The Essentials of R for Professionals (required OR maps 732 OR 733) Analyses and describes generic programming language concepts as they are implemented in R. Creates plots, tables and charts to visualize analysis results.

MAPS 733  The Essentials of SPSS for Professionals (required OR maps 732 OR 733) Uses SPSS to summarize and display large amounts information using visual analytics.

MAPS 660  Introduction to GIS (this course only offered face-to-face on campus) Explores spatial analysis using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology including data acquisition, integration, and editing.  Applies GIS technologies to environmental management and urban planning. Not open to those with credit in GEOG 460.

MAPS 634  Ethics and Data Technology  Distinguishes the emerging moral conflicts with data collection and presentation, identifies the relevant ethical features, and develops strategies and policies for avoiding these conflicts.

MAPS 584  Modeling Landscape Ecology  Analyses landscape ecology from the perspective of its close alignment with the understanding of scale, the causes of landscape pattern, and the interactions of spatial pattern with ecological processes.  Uses metric tools and spatial model techniques to explain real world phenomena. Not open to those with credit in GEOG 384.

MAPS 507  Survey Methods  Explores survey research including data collection and data analysis. Not open to those with credit in SOCA 307.

MAPS 739  Special Topics in Data Visualization and Interpretation 
Provides an in depth study of new and/or special-interest subject areas within the discipline.  Course may be repeated with a different topic for a maximum of 6 credits.

MAPS 799  Independent Study Provides an opportunity to work on an independent research study or project under the supervision of a faculty member.

Course Schedule


MAPS 507
Survey Methods
Fall – Full Semester

MAPS 523
Institutional Racism in America
Fall – Full Semester

MAPS 660
Introduction to GIS Analysis*
Fall – Full Semester
*Face-to-Face only

MAPS 701
Applied Research for Professionals
Fall – Second 7 weeks

MAPS 702
Professional Ethics
Fall – First 7 weeks

MAPS 710
The Global City
Fall – First 7 weeks

MAPS 720
Foundations of Public Service
Fall – Second 7 weeks (odd)

MAPS 799
Independent Study          


MAPS 507
Survey Methods
Spring – Full Semester

MAPS 512
Global Warming Policy and Governance
Spring – Second 7 weeks (even)

MAPS 517
Strategic Decision Making
Spring – Full Semester (odd)

MAPS 523
Institutional Racism in America
Spring – Full Semester

MAPS 584
Modeling Landscape Ecology
Spring – Full Semester (even)

MAPS 700
Formal Organization
Spring-Full Semester       

MAPS 703
Professional Communication
Spring – First 7 weeks

MAPS 721
Public Policy
Spring – Second 7 weeks (even)

MAPS 722
Social Justice and Public ServiceMAPS 730
Data Visualization Concepts
Spring – First 7 weeks (odd)           

MAPS 739
Special Topics in Data Visualization & Interpretation        
Spring – Second 7 weeks

MAPS 799
Independent Study


MAPS 606
Advanced Program Evaluation
Summer – Second 7 weeks

MAPS 634
Ethics and Data Technology
Summer – First 7 weeks (even)

MAPS 705
Summer – 12 weeks (starting 2020)

MAPS 729
Special Topics in Public Service  
Summer – First 7 weeks

MAPS 731
Data Visualization and Communication;                   Tableau
Summer- First 4 weeks (odd)

MAPS 732
The Essentials of R for Professionals
Summer – Second 4 weeks (odd)

MAPS 733
The Essentials of SPSS for Professionals
Summer – Third 4 weeks (odd)

MAPS 799
Independent Study          

Admission applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. Applicants are required to have an undergraduate degree with a cumulative GPA of 2.75, or if the applicants has a graduate degree the GPA requirement is waived. Applicants are also required to submit all undergraduate and graduate transcripts, a current resume/CV, and two letters of recommendation, preferably one from a current supervisor if employed. 

For applicants who do not meet the admission criteria, admission with probationary status may be granted after taking into consideration the applicant’s special qualifications and circumstances. Students admitted on probation will be on probation for their first 9 semester credits. A student who is admitted on probation is required to attain a minimum GPA of 3.00 on the first 9 credits hours of course work completed at UW-Parkside. Students who do not meet the above requirement will be dropped from the program.

Applicants are not required to take the GRE or MAT assessment for admission to the program.

International students from non-English-speaking countries must demonstrate proficiency in English.

Official TOEFL scores must meet or exceed the below requirements:

  • Paper-based: a minimum score of 525
  • Computer-based: a minimum score of 197
  • Internet-based: a minimum score of 71

Official IELTS scores that meet or exceed the below requirements:

  • A minimum score of 6.0

For students from English-speaking countries, no English Proficiency Examination Scores are required.



Submit letters of recommendation and resume by email to: admdocs@uwp.edu

NOTE: Transcripts may not be sent by the applicant; they must be sent directly from the institution.



Denise Olstinske  |  262-595-2162  | denise.olstinske@uwp.edu

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