Last Friday, the Center community joined Associate Director of Professional Education Eric Money in welcoming over two dozen new students to the professional master’s program in Geospatial Information Science & Technology (MGIST) at their all-day on-campus orientation. The MGIST program admits a new cohort of students every Fall and Spring semester. This Fall marks the largest cohort yet, with 32 new students enrolled.
Enrollees represented traditional students newly graduated from their undergrad programs as well as working professionals looking to expand their skillsets and career opportunities. Some at orientation shared that they were returning to school after military service, and others reported that earning the Center’s Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Information Science convinced them to keep going for the degree.
“I took the GIS certificate and fell in love with GIS,” one student explained.
When asked what drew them to the program at NC State, students at orientation emphasized the affordability of the in-state tuition and the attractiveness of online learning. Now entering its seventh year of being offered at the Center, the MGIST degree can be earned entirely online, with two on-campus experiences that root students in the university community: orientation at the start of the program and a professional showcase in their last semester.
“We’ve taken great care to teach the theory, applications, and backend development of GIS technology [as part of the MGIST program],” notes Dr. Money, “and integrate professional development as well.” In their final semester, each student undertakes a service-learning project with a community partner as part of their capstone experience, creating a GIS-based solution for a real-world need with the technical skills they have developed over the course of the program. The showcase, and an accompanying online portfolio, then provides a venue for highlighting that project and demonstrating the valuable communication skills that students have honed.
The Center’s MGIST program was the first GIS program to become a professional science master’s degree recognized by the National Professional Science Master’s Association. At any one time, the Center is home to approximately 300 post-baccalaureate students earning Master’s or Ph.D. degrees, the MGIST degree, or GIS Certificate. Yesterday afternoon, the Center hosted an orientation for an additional 32 new students entering the GIS Certificate program, which can also be completed entirely online.
Welcome to the new group of GIS learners joining us this Fall!
For more information about the Center’s online programs, visit online.geospatial.ncsu.edu.