Program Curriculum for the New Advanced GIS Programs at American Sentinel

American Sentinel University recently announced its new Geospatial Information Systems Graduate Certificate and Master of Geospatial Information Systems programs. They are designed to help people advance in their careers by applying geospatial technologies and practices to workplace challenges.

The Geospatial Information Systems Graduate Certificate is a 15-credit hour program for working professionals with the desire to complement their professional skill set with foundational geospatial competencies.

The Master’s in GIS is a 12-course, 36-credit hour program designed to help individuals who already have some experience in GIS gain the skills and knowledge to strategically support their organizations with geospatial insight, understanding, and applications. There are two options in the Masters program: the course track and the custom project track. The course track offers a more traditional academic structure in which the student investigates through theory and hands-on exercises how to apply GIS in a variety of industries or economic sectors, including government, defense, business, and natural resources.

The project track incorporates an appropriate technically oriented project that addresses and solves a real issue. Most often, the project will be a stepping stone that students can use practically to help their organizations.

But what exactly do the programs cover? The Geospatial Information Systems Graduate Certificate builds core competencies in data, tools and techniques to use GIS data and sources through a series of five 3-credit hour courses:

  • GIS Principles and Practice
  • Geospatial Practicum Using ArcGIS
  • Geospatial Data
  • Developing an Enterprise Level Geospatial Strategy
  • GIS Accuracy, Ethics, and the Law

These core courses help someone who might already use GIS professionally to understand geospatial principles and practices; learn to use popular commercial and open source GIS tools and data sources; understand the primary approaches and strategies used in developing an enterprise level geospatial strategy; apply geospatial data collection, storage, and use across multiple disciplines; comprehend the ethical and legal issues associated with geospatial data; and learn to present geospatial information in a clear and professional manner.

The Master of Geospatial Information Systems curriculum starts with the same five courses that make up the Graduate Certificate program, and so provides the same foundation. (Someone with the Graduate Certificate can, at a later date, enter the Masters program with credit for the already completed work.) The master’s candidate then takes seven additional courses. Both the course and project tracks take Geospatial Project Overview, but then they diverge. The course track candidate selects six of the following electives:

  • Web-Based Applications and Resources for Geospatial Analysis
  • Emerging Topics, Trends, and Technologies in Geospatial Analysis
  • GIS Applications in Health and Human Services
  • GIS Applications in Business
  • GIS Applications in Government
  • GIS Applications in Defense, Intelligences, and Public Safety
  • GIS Applications in Environment and Natural Resources GIS

The courses give the student exposure to a broad set of practical applications of GIS. The project track has two additional required courses — Design and Development of a Geospatial Project and Geospatial Project and Presentation — to support the student’s chosen project. Then the student chooses an additional four electives from the list above. The courses underscore the nature of the new programs: ways to gain a wider and more solid grasp on GIS and its applications and also an understanding of how to use develop a strategic vision for its use throughout an organization.

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