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For specific questions related to the MGIST and GIS Certificate programs, a dedicated FAQ page has been created via GIST Online.

Applying to a Program

How do I apply to one of the degree programs?

You can apply for one of our programs by going to the How To Apply page.

Do I need to take the GRE?

Depending on the degree program, GRE scores may or may not be required, currently the MGIST and GIS Certificate programs do not require GRE scores, however, recent scores (within 5 years) can be submitted along with the other application materials.

Are transfer credits accepted?

For the MGIST program, up to 12 credit hours are allowed to be transferred into the program from another institution. However, these credits must be approved by your advisor and/or the program director and follow all Graduate School requirements for transfer credits:

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

Is there a cost difference between an Online program and on-campus programs?

Yes, Please visit the Cashier’s Office for information regarding these fees.  On-campus tuition and fees vs. Distance Education Tuition and fees. There are cost differences also associated with residency status (in-state vs. out-of-state) as well.

How do I calculate the cost of tuition?

To calculate the cost of tuition, please visit the NCSU Cashier’s Office website.  Tuition is based on the number of credit hours taken in a given semester, as well as your student status (in state vs. out of state, online vs. on-campus).  Total credit hours for the MGIST program is 30 (12 for the certificate).

Registering for Courses

How do I identify my advisor?

Advisors are listed in MyPack Portal under the advisor section in your student center. Students will typically receive an email when they begin the program identifying their advisor. Orientation also provides an opportunity to meet with advisors. Students in PhD programs typically identify their advisor prior to applying and enrolling in the program. NOTE: GIS Certificate students are not assigned a specific advisor.

How do I register for courses?

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

Resources and Tools for Students

What GIS resources are available to me as an NC State student?

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:

  1. Free ESRI Virtual Campus courses — self-paced learning modules on a variety of GIS topics including:
    • How to use ESRI software
    • Core GIS topics such as map projections and coordinate systems, cartographic design, raster data, etc.
    • Learning how to use scripting in a GIS context
  2. GIS Lookup — The NC State Library’s tool for searching for and downloading data for free from the University’s very large geospatial data collection
  3. The Virtual Computing Lab (VCL) which provides easy access to GIS software
  4. ArcGIS 10 Desktop Help
  5. ArcGIS 10 Forums

What is the VCL?

VCL stands for Virtual Computing Lab. NCSU 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. Watch this VCL demonstration video to see how it works.

What is Blackboard Collaborate?

Blackboard Collaborate provides remote desktop sharing with chat and voice interaction for participants with microphones. For example, you can be at home talking to your TA at NCSU and show her exactly what’s happening on your computer or vice versa. Instructors using this tool will provide a link to their session or the name of their session which you can search when you log in to NCSU Blackboard Collaborate here. When you go to participate in a session, you will be prompted to allow your browser to run the Java Web Start Launcher. Watch this video to see how it works.

What is Wolfware?

Wolfware is an NCSU web-based course management system used for some courses at NCSU for delivering online course content. Courses can be found here. From here, the students access their courses’ online content and tools. The tools include discussion forums, video lectures, gradebooks, and other interactive tools. For more information, see here.

What is Moodle?

Moodle is an open source course management system used for some courses at NCSU to deliver online course materials. Some of the components of Moodle that may be used by the instructor are chat, discussion forums, wikis, and announcements. For more information, watch the orientation videos linked here.

What is Jing?

The free version of Jing allows you to capture an image or an (up to) 5 minute video. Then you have the option to save it to disk, copy to clipboard, or best of all put it on the web and get a link to it at This is a great communcation tool for explaining ‘what goes wrong when I try to do it’. Download the software and install it on your desktop. Watch the overview video to see why it’s useful.

Geospatial Data Services

There are many great resources to be found within the Geospatial Data Services webpage via NCSU’s Natural Resource Library.

Information on GIS resources and more Reddit GIS.

What career resources are available?

CGA and the GIST 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 announcement 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 utilize 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.