About the GIS Degree Program
The Associate of Science Geographic Information Systems is a fast-track GIS degree program that prepares students to transfer into a four-year degree program in geographic information systems (GIS) or for entry-level positions as GIS technicians and users. The online GIS degree program helps students build a strong foundation in cartography, GIS software, and GIS concepts and techniques.
Organizations around the world use geographic information systems, including those in the geography, archaeology, cartography, land surveying, public utility management, natural resource management and urban planning disciplines and in many other fields and industries. Earning a GIS degree online will prepare you for this rapidly growing field.
Our rigorous curriculum covers a breadth of issues in GIS. Here are a few of the A.S. GIS degree program’s key courses:
- Introduction to GIS (GIS211): Provides an overview of GIS theories and concepts, including basic cartographic principles, map scales, coordinate systems and projections, as well as practical experience applying these concepts using GIS software.
- Introduction to Geodatabases (GIS215): Provides an introduction the geodatabase format and design data concepts. Also covers various data models that can be utilized for geodatabase design. Students create new personal geodatabases in which students learn to import and export existing datasets and also study real-world case studies that utilize geodatabase technology.
- Introduction to GIS Business Applications (GIS230): Serves as an introduction to the utilization of GIS within business environments including an overview of business data and geodemographics.
Program Learning Outcomes
Graduates of the A.S. Geographic Information Systems program will be able to:
- Design maps to communicate information about spatial patterns.
- Interpret information from maps and other visual presentations of abstract geographic information.
- Acquire GIS data from a variety of sources.
- Utilize GIS software to store and manage spatial data.
- Design and implement GIS solutions for problems in a variety of fields.
TAKE THE NEXT STEP TOWARD SUCCESS
Students graduating with the A.S. Geographic Information Systems degree complete 30 credit hours of general education courses and 30 credit hours of courses in the major. Students may not use PHI320 to fulfill their general education requirements since it is required in the major.
Students residing in the state of Arkansas should refer to their General Education requirements.
Students residing in the state of Minnesota should refer to the State Regulatory section of the catalog for specific information regarding their general education requirements.
Career and Industry News
Successful Students and Alumni
GIS Alum Helps Oil Industry
How can an online GIS degree benefit the multi-trillion-dollar oil industry? Just ask American Sentinel’s Geographic Information Systems graduate Kurtis Poettker, who manages a team of five GIS developers for an oilfield map supplier. As he looks back on his road to becoming an integral part of a major company, Poettcker is thankful he went back to school. “I have definitely been able to apply lessons learned in my courses to my job,” he says. >> Read full story
Job Outlook for GIS-Related Industries
The job outlook for the industry is positive, with surveyors, cartographers, photogrammetrists and surveying technicians holding about 147,000 jobs in 2008 (mainly in the architectural, engineering and related services industry). In addition, due to increased demand for geographic information (for online interactive mapping systems and GPS devices, for example), these jobs are expected to grow 19 percent between 2008 and 2018—faster than the average for all occupations in the country. Urban and regional planning jobs are also expected to grow 19 percent between 2008 and 2018.
Geospatial information is used in a variety of industries, including health care, mining, military intelligence and more. Geospatial information scientists and technologists use GIS technology to produce maps, data layers and other reports, and coordinate the development of GIS projects. Learn more about the Bureau of Labor Statistics outlook for
Graduates of the GIS program can also expect career opportunities working with geospatial information systems in the governmental sector. According to the Congressional Research Service, "in recent years consumer demand has skyrocketed for geospatial information and for tools like GIS to manipulate and display geospatial information. Global Positioning System (GPS) data and their integration with digital maps have led to the popular handheld or dashboard navigation devices used daily by millions. The federal government and policy makers increasingly use geospatial information and tools like GIS for producing floodplain maps, conducting the Census, mapping foreclosures, and responding to natural hazards such as wildfires and hurricanes. For policy makers, this type of analysis can greatly assist in clarifying complex problems that may involve local, state, and federal government, and affect businesses, residential areas, and federal installations."