Resources

We are here to help you succeed. Check out the information below to stay on top of important degree milestones, find answers to frequently asked questions, and navigate the policies and procedures at the College of Natural Resources and Center for Geospatial Analytics.

Enrollment & Course Registration Dates

General start times for enrollment (registration) are included for each semester in NC State’s academic calendar. Subscribe to the Graduate School’s academic calendar for additional details and deadlines. Students should always check Enrollment Dates in MyPack Portal for specific times and dates.

Graduate Handbook

The Graduate Handbook provides an overview of Graduate School functions and resources, as well as the rules, regulations, and procedures administered by the Graduate School. It is the responsibility of ALL graduate students to know and understand their degree requirements. Students are responsible for the fulfillment of those requirements. We recommend subscribing to the Graduate School’s academic calendar to help keep track of important dates and deadlines.

Center Program Handbooks

The Graduate Certificate in GIS Program Handbook, MGIST Program Handbook and Geospatial Analytics Ph.D. Program Handbook introduce students to the Center for Geospatial Analytics and provide ongoing references for program and university procedures.

Creating a Plan of Work

Students are required to complete a conditional Plan of Work (POW) in consultation with their advisor/advisory committee by the time they have completed half of the credits required for their degree. The final POW submitted to the Graduate School must be approved by two parties:

1) members of the advisory committee for programs with a required thesis, or the academic advisor for professional master’s students, followed by

2) the Director of Graduate Program (DGP). The approved POW is submitted electronically by the DGP to the Graduate School.

For assistance with this process, please review the Plan of Work Powerpoint. Professional master’s students and Graduate Certificate in GIS students can also visit their program websites for more information or consult the program handbook provided during orientation.

Graduation

Students must apply to graduate through MyPack Portal in order to participate in the graduation exercises, have their transcript posted, and receive a diploma. The Graduate School posts deadlines for each semester. However, students should pay attention to program deadlines for applying to graduate, as these will often be earlier than the Graduate School deadline. To learn how to “Apply to Graduate,” see the Graduate School’s informational guide.

Professional Development

The Graduate School at NC State offers a range of signature programs to supplement your degree and sharpen your competitive edge. For more information, visit the Graduate School’s Professional Development page.

Additional information for students about external funding and career planning is available on our internal resources site.

Frequently Asked Questions

Applying to a Program

Visit the How to Apply page for links to application procedures for each of our degree programs.
Graduate Certificate in GIS / MGIST
GRE scores are not required, although you may submit them along with your other application materials.
Ph.D. in Geospatial Analytics
Recent GRE scores (within the past five years) are required. The requirement was waived for students applying for Fall 2021 admission who were unable to take the exam due to COVID-19 restrictions. See the program page for the latest info.
Graduate Certificate in GIS / MGIST

  1. Take 1-2 of the required courses as a non-degree student and do well in them (starting with GIS 510). Earning a B or better (not a B-) shows that you are capable of succeeding in graduate courses. These credits may be able to transfer into the degree program (see “Are transfer credits accepted?” below).
  2. Make sure you have taken the prerequisite courses.
  3. Relevant work experience can offset a lower than expected GPA
  4. Any of the following (if true) will help your case that you are capable of maintaining above a 3.0 GPA in graduate school:
    • Undergraduate degree was many years ago and you have now matured.
    • Poor grades were early in your undergraduate career and/or your major GPA was above a 3.0.
    • You had one bad semester but otherwise maintained a decent GPA.

Students are encouraged to address any of these issues in their personal statement during the application process to help the admissions committee evaluate you completely. Some students who apply for the MGIST may be recommended for the certificate or non-degree status when appropriate.

Ph.D. in Geospatial Analytics
If you received poor grades (below 3.0) as an undergraduate, you are encouraged to take a few relevant graduate-level courses to demonstrate that you can be successful at the graduate level. Strong GRE scores can also strengthen your application. Students are encouraged to address low grades in their personal statement.

Graduate Certificate in GIS
Transfer credits from another institution are not accepted. Up to 6 credit hours can be transferred from courses taken as a non-degree student or undergraduate student at NC State. Certain restrictions apply.

MGIST
Students can typically transfer between 6 and 9 credit hours, with restrictions.

Ph.D. in Geospatial Analytics
For a student who holds a master’s degree from a university other than NC State, a maximum of 18 hours of relevant graduate credit from the master’s degree may be applied to the Ph.D. program’s 72 hour minimum. If a student completes a master’s degree at NC State and continues for a doctoral degree without a break in time, up to 36 relevant credit hours taken while in master’s status may be applied. If there is a break in time between completing the master’s and beginning the doctorate, the allowance is limited to 18 hours. Either allowance may include 400-level courses taken as an approved part of the master’s degree. Additionally, up to 12 credits at the 500- or 700-level taken in PBS (Post-Baccalaureate Studies) status at NC State may be transferred to a doctoral program with a grade of B or better.

Yes, students currently enrolled in the Graduate GIS Certificate program must apply to the MGIST program. Admission to the Certificate program does not guarantee admission to the MGIST.
Graduate Certificate in GIS / MGIST
Yes, while the credit hour tuition rate is the same between on-campus and online courses, associated fees are significantly lower for online students. There are also cost differences associated with residency status (in-state vs. out-of-state). Learn more about tuition and fees on the Student Services website. Contact the Cashier’s Office for details regarding tuition and fees.

Ph.D. in Geospatial Analytics
This program is exclusively on campus (not online). Students in good standing receive an assistantship that covers their tuition and health insurance for up to four years. Students are responsible for covering required fees.

Graduate Certificate in GIS / MGIST
Visit the Student Services website. Tuition is based on the number of credit hours taken in a given semester, as well as your residency status (in-state vs. out-of-state, online vs. on-campus). A total of 12 credit hours are required for the Graduate Certificate in GIS and 33 for the MGIST.

Ph.D. in Geospatial Analytics
This program is exclusively on campus (not online). Students in good standing receive an assistantship that covers their tuition and health insurance for up to four years. Students are responsible for covering required fees.

Graduate Certificate in GIS / MGIST / Ph.D. in Geospatial Analytics
Yes! Our programs have a strong track record of admitting both active duty and veteran military students. Individuals affiliated with the military are encouraged to contact the NC State Veteran’s Education to discuss options for obtaining your degree from NC State. An expedited 18-month master’s program may also be available for certain military individuals under benefit time constraints. Please contact us for more details and qualifications.
Graduate Certificate in GIS / MGIST
The Graduate School requires TOEFL scores of at least 80 on the internet-based version. Please review the Graduate School Handbook for English proficiency and visa requirements. International students enrolled in the distance education program are not eligible for a student visa to study in the US. Please be aware that if you currently live outside the US and begin the online program you will be taking classes from your home country.

Ph.D. in Geospatial Analytics
International students are required to provide TOEFL (minimum of 18 on each section and 80 overall), IELTS (minimum of 6.5 on each section), or Duolingo English scores (minimum of 110 overall) unless they are citizens of one of these countries or have completed at least one year of full-time study at an accredited university in the U.S.

Graduate Certificate in GIS / MGIST
Applications are reviewed beginning around our application deadlines (April 15 and Oct 15). Applicants can expect to receive a decision within a couple of weeks of the application deadline (typically April 1 – May 1 and Oct 1 – Nov 1).

Ph.D. in Geospatial Analytics
Applications are reviewed after the application deadline (February 1) and most decisions are made by March 1. Some students may be placed on a waiting list as we await confirmation of funding from external sources.

Academic Policies: Graduate Certificate

No, there are no on-campus expectations.
No, per Graduate School policy, undergraduate students who wish to enroll in graduate level courses (500 and above) may transfer only 6 credit hours (B or better) into the Certificate program for courses not taken as part of their undergraduate requirements (core or elective). This can usually be confirmed if the GIS course(s) is listed as a ‘99-non-degree course’ in the degree audit). Therefore, to receive the GIS Certificate, current NC State undergraduates can take only 6 credit hours of 500-level GIS courses before graduation. Upon graduation, the student must apply to the Graduate Certificate in GIS program through the Graduate School to complete the remaining courses. The same course restrictions apply.
The time to completion depends on your individual situation and whether you are a full-time (9 credit hours), half-time (5 credit hours), or part-time student. In general, for students who are also working full- or part-time, we recommend starting with one course per semester and increasing to two once you are confident you can fit the workload into your schedule. Students who are working full-time often find one course per semester is enough. Some full-time students take 3 courses per semester.

Typical times to completion are:

  • Full-time student = 1 year (2 semesters)
  • Half-time student = 1.5 years (3 semesters)
  • Part-time student = 2–2.5 years (4–5 semesters)
The majority of our students are self-funded; however, a limited number of teaching assistant opportunities may be available to students once they have completed one semester in the program. These opportunities typically require 10 hrs/week of work and pay a small semester stipend. Eligibility is determined in consultation with the specific instructors and program director.
Students in the Certificate program are generally self-supported. Financial aid eligibility is determined by the Financial Aid Office. We encourage you to contact your financial aid advisor in the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid. A limited amount of grant funding is also available to students enrolled in Distance Education degrees. Criteria for funding is based on academic merit, demonstrated financial need, and enrollment in multiple Distance Education courses per semester. For additional information, please visit NC State’s Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid website, or call (919) 515-2421. NC State also offers a monthly payment plan.

A number of external scholarships may be available to students that meet certain qualifications. Some opportunities include:

Academic Policies: MGIST

Yes, MGIST students are required to come to NC State’s campus in Raleigh for two events:

  • A day-long orientation in December (for new Spring students) or August (for new Fall students)
  • A half-day Digital Symposium (where students present their capstone projects) and celebration coinciding with graduation for students completing the program

Virtual options will be made available when necessary (such as during the COVID-19 pandemic).

NOTE: We will make every effort to accommodate students with significant exceptions that cannot attend these events. However, we feel these experiences add an invaluable networking opportunity for our students and provide them with additional tools to be successful in our programs.

No, the MGIST is a non-thesis degree program. Instead of a research-based thesis, students are required to complete a semester-long capstone project with a community partner.
A Professional Science Master’s, or PSM, is affiliated with the National Professional Science Master’s Association. PSMs are unique in their design of curriculums that integrate professional skills development to prepare students for professional careers in the field of study. The MGIST program was the first GIS program in the country to be recognized as a PSM.
We highly recommend having the following coursework or work experience before entering the MGIST program. While these are recommended, they are not required. Applicants should highlight these skills in their personal statement.

  • 1 semester introductory statistics (or work equivalent)
  • 1 semester programming, e.g., Python, Java, etc. (or work equivalent)
  • 1 semester GIS (or work equivalent)

The time to completion depends on your individual situation and whether you are a full-time (9 credit hours), half-time (5 credit hours), or part-time student. The average time to completion is 2.5 years. In general, for students that are also working full- or part-time, we recommend starting with one course per semester and increasing to two once you are confident you can fit the workload into your schedule. Students who are working full-time often find one course per semester is enough. Some full-time students take 3 courses per semester.

Typical times to completion are:

  • Full-time student = 2 years (4 semesters)
  • Half-time student = 3 years (6 semesters)
  • Part-time student = 3.5–4 years (7–8 semesters)

NOTE: Students entering the MGIST program on active military benefits can qualify for an expedited 18-month program to meet military requirements. Military applicants should consult with the program director prior to applying and enrolling.

The majority of our students are self-funded; however, a limited number of teaching assistant opportunities may be available to students once they have completed one semester in the program. These opportunities typically require 10 hrs/week of work and pay a small semester stipend. Eligibility is determined in consultation with the specific instructors and program director.
Students in the MGIST program are generally self-supported. Financial aid eligibility is determined by the Financial Aid Office. We encourage you to contact your financial aid advisor in the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid. A limited amount of grant funding is also available to students enrolled in Distance Education degrees. Criteria for funding is based on academic merit, demonstrated financial need, and enrollment in multiple Distance Education courses per semester. For additional information, please visit NC State’s Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid website, or call (919) 515-2421. NC State also offers a monthly payment plan.

A number of external scholarships may be available to students that meet certain qualifications. Some opportunities include:

Advising is an important part of our programs. Advisors are an important link between the student, the program, and the Graduate School; they are there to help with any academic issues. Our GIST advising team members serve primarily as academic advisors, helping with course selection, tracking academic progress, approving Plans of Work, and addressing other academic issues. The Director of Graduate Programs is also always available to assist advisors and students with any issues or to answer any questions.

The primary ways you will interact with your advisor include:

  • Email discussions
  • Face-to-face meetings (if possible)
  • Telephone
  • Online chat (such as Google Hangouts, Skype, Zoom, etc.)

Students are encouraged to reach out to the GIST advising team and their specific advisor using the means most comfortable to them. Don’t hesitate to ask your advisor if they have a preferred method of communication. At least once a semester, your advisor will contact you, typically via email, to inform you of semester deadlines and registration. This is generally a good time to consult with your advisor if you have any questions.

Advising Holds
Students receive an automatic advising hold in MyPack Portal prior to the opening of each semester’s registration period (mid-March for Fall registration and mid-October for Spring registration). All students will receive an email from the program and/or advisor informing them of the process for removing the advising hold each semester.

MGIST Advisors
MGIST students are assigned an academic advisor just prior to orientation for the program. The name of the advisor will be communicated via email and will appear in MyPack Portal. Students will also have a chance to meet their advisor in person during orientation.

Online Learning Environment (Graduate Certificate & MGIST)

Generally, no. All of the software you will need for your projects and coursework will be made available to you either through personal download to your computer or via NC State’s Virtual Computing Laboratory.
The majority of our online courses are taught asynchronously, meaning online students interact with the course materials at different times (within limits specified by the instructors). For example, course materials may be posted at the beginning of a week and students will have that week to accomplish certain tasks on their own time.
Synchronous learning means that students are meeting live at a specified time.
A “flipped” course refers to a course that has taken a majority of its original “on-campus” material and delivers it primarily online. Often these courses may maintain a synchronous meeting for discussion.
There are several types of online courses you may encounter during your time at NC State. The majority of our courses use Moodle, Panopto, and Zoom to deliver course content. Students will use interactive discussion forums, take online quizzes and exams, upload homeworks and other assignments, and watch recorded lectures (often voice-over-Powerpoint, audio only, screencasting, and live room capture) via these interfaces.

Registering for Courses

Graduate Certificate in GIS
Certificate students are not assigned a specific advisor. The Director of the certificate program serves as the general advisor for all certificate students.

MGIST
Advisors are listed in MyPack Portal under the advisor section in your student center. MGIST students will typically receive an email when they begin the program identifying their advisor; orientation also provides an opportunity to meet with advisors.

Ph.D. in Geospatial Analytics
Students in the Ph.D. program will identify their advisor prior to applying and enrolling in the program.

Students register for courses via MyPack Portal. Students should consult with their advisor and the enrollment guide for more information.

Finding and Using Important Tools

Enrolling as a student at NC State gives you access to a number of useful resources that can enrich your GIS education. On the course start date, your course instructor will give you instructions for accessing the required software for the class. These include:

VCL stands for Virtual Computing Lab. The NC State VCL provides a remote access service that allows you to reserve a computer with a desired set of applications for yourself, and remotely access it over the Internet. This gives you free access to useful applications such as ArcGIS, PythonWin, Matlab, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and many others.
Wolfware houses all of your courses in one place. Students can access their courses’ online content and tools, including discussion forums, video lectures, gradebooks, and other interactive features, including access to a course Moodle site.
Moodle is an open source course management system used for courses at NC State to deliver online course materials. Instructors can use Moodle to create chats, discussion forums, wikis, and announcements. For more information, log in to the student guide.
There are many great resources to be found within the Geospatial Data Services webpage through NC State’s Natural Resources Library. You can also find information on GIS resources and more at Reddit GIS.
The Center for Geospatial Analytics’ programs offer several ways to network and receive career advice and job announcements:

  • Email listserv: all students are automatically added to an email listserv for general announcements; this includes job and internship announcements that we receive directly from employers.
  • Career Dashboard: our GIST Online programs have a dedicated hub for job search information with links to professional organizations, GIS specific job sites, and more.
  • LinkedIn: current students and alumni of the NC State GIS programs are invited to join our LinkedIn Networking Group.

Students can also use the services of NC State’s Career Development Center. All students also have access to ePack, the online repository of jobs and internships for NC State students.

 

Additional information about college-wide resources, including links to printing and student study spaces, is available through the College of Natural Resources:

Visit CNR Student Resources

Additional information about policies and procedures at the Center for Geospatial Analytics is available at our Internal Resources site:

Visit CGA Internal Resources