Last Friday, the Center for Geospatial Analytics joined Associate Director of Professional Education Eric Money in welcoming over thirty new students to the professional master’s program in Geospatial Information Science and 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 39 new students enrolled, breaking last Fall’s record of 32.
Enrollees represent traditional students newly graduated from their undergrad programs as well as working professionals looking to expand their skillsets and career opportunities. Some return to school after military service, and others report 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 last year.
When asked what drew them to the program at NC State, students at orientation emphasize the affordability of the in-state tuition and the attractiveness of online learning. 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. Projects completed during the Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters ranged from tracking elephants, vultures, and mosquitoes over large landscapes to working for social justice and affordable housing. The professional showcase, and an accompanying online portfolio, provides a venue for highlighting that project and demonstrating the valuable communication skills that students have honed.
The center’s MGIST program was one of the earliest nationally recognized Professional Science Master’s Degree programs in GIS when it launched in Spring 2010. At any one time, the Center for Geospatial Analytics is home to approximately 300 post-baccalaureate students earning Master’s or Ph.D. degrees, the MGIST degree, or GIS Certificate.
Welcome to the new group of GIS learners joining us this Fall!
For more information about the center’s programs, visit geospatial.ncsu.edu/academics.