Departmental Eligibility Requirements
Students majoring in Geography, Global Environmental Studies, Economics, International Development Social Change, or the Earth System Science or Environmental Science & Policy track of Environmental Science can apply to the Accelerated B.A./Master of Science Degree Program in GIS.
Prior Coursework to Qualify for Application
Students interested in enrolling in the Accelerated B.A./Master of Science Degree Program in GIS should enroll in and complete the following courses prior to or during their senior year (further details below in “Program of Study” section):
*Two additional 300-level GIS-related courses are required from the students’ home department.
A minimum GPA of 3.60 (aggregate of sophomore and junior year Clark GPA) is required for entry and must be maintained throughout the applicant’s senior year. Additionally, students must complete two semesters of Honors in Geography (or in their major’s home department) and successfully write and defend an Honors thesis before the end of their senior year. In some circumstances, students may opt to enroll in the Honors program for the spring semester of their junior year and finish at the end of the fall semester of their senior year.
Students are required to meet with the Program Advisor as a formal part of the admissions process. This meeting will assist prospective students in assessing the appropriateness of the degree to their professional aspirations.
Students should apply to the program by completing the Online Application no later than May 1st of their junior year. Please note that application deadlines differ for students who are graduating off cycle (i.e. either a semester earlier or later) or who have advanced standing. Such students should contact Graduate Admissions for alternate dates and deadlines.
Program of Study
The Accelerated B.A./Master of Science Degree Program in GIS requires the completion of 10 graduate courses/credits overall. The program currently has two tracks: the Thesis Track and the Internship Track. Prior to choosing which track to pursue, students must complete the following requirements:
Prior Required Coursework (can be during or prior to Senior Year):
Senior Year Required Coursework:
- GEOG (or other subject) 297 - Honors
Students must complete two semesters of Honors and successfully defend an Honors thesis before the end of their senior year. (Does not count towards the Advanced Degree Program (ADP)’s 12-credit total, only counts towards undergraduate program).
- Two 300-level Geography GIS-related courses (2 credits total)
One per semester, both must be taken at the 300 level (graduate level) in order to carry over to the Graduate Fifth Year program
Candidates for this program who plan to pursue the Thesis Track are also required to develop a Master’s Thesis Project Proposal upon provisional acceptance, along with a signed statement of support from a faculty sponsor who will act as the Thesis Advisor throughout the graduate fifth year.
Summer between Senior Year and Graduate Fifth Year:
- GEOG 398 Summer Internship (1 credit)
This internship should focus on database development for the student’s intended thesis. The student will work in a GIS-related position either as a paid or unpaid intern for a minimum of 20 hours per week. Typically, this internship is completed off-campus and requires frequent communication with the student’s advisor.
Upon completion of the internship, the internship supervisor/advisor must send a letter to the Program Director confirming that the student has successfully completed the internship in a satisfactory manner. This is a requirement in order for the student to receive credit for the internship.
Graduate Fifth Year Coursework
All students who are accepted into the Accelerated B.A./Master of Science Degree Program in GIS and maintain the required GPA to continue into the program prior to the completion of their undergraduate degree must then choose which track of the program to pursue: the Thesis Track or the Internship Track.
Track 1: Thesis Track
In order to graduate from the Accelerated B.A./Master of Science Degree Program in GIS on the Thesis Track, an acceptable M.S. Thesis must be completed. The following requirements must also be completed throughout the program of study:
Graduate Fifth Year Required Coursework:
- GEOG 399 - MS Thesis Directed Research (2 credits: one in fall semester, one in spring semester)
- At least four additional courses (minimum 2 courses/credits per semester)
Summer following Graduate Fifth Year:
- GEOG 399 - MS Thesis Directed Research (1 credit)
This is a one-credit Directed Research experience in which the student is fully engaged in final stages of the Master’s Thesis preparation. This experience will include an oral defense and the submission of a final approved PDF of the MS thesis to the department. The diploma is awarded in August following the graduate fifth year.
Further details regarding timelines and the thesis can be found in the “Clark Geography MS GIScience Program Guideline and Timeline for Completion Document” available in the department.
Please Note: Of the courses not associated with the Master’s thesis and internship (taken during the senior and Graduate/Fifth years), a minimum of four must be directly associated with Geographic Information Science and two may be electives associated with the application area of specific interest to the student.
**Students in this program may take longer than the fifth year to complete the culminating requirement. Students must register as a non-resident if they do not complete the requirements in time for August degree conferral. Students have up to one year of non-residency status (fall and spring) to complete all requirements for the master’s degree.**
Track 2: Internship Track
In order to graduate from the Accelerated B.A./Master of Science Degree Program in GIS on the Internship Track, an internship or sequence of internships must be completed. The following requirements must be completed throughout the program of study:
Graduate Fifth Year Required Coursework:
- GEOG 399 Internship (2 credits: one in fall semester, one in spring semester)
- At least five additional courses (minimum 2 courses in fall semester; minimum 3 in spring semester)
At the end of each semester of the internship track, students must complete an Internship Report evaluating their experience with the organization they interned for during that semester. The students must also send their internship supervisor a Supervisor Evaluation Form in order for the supervisor to evaluate the student and their performance/contribution throughout the prior semester.
Students will pay a one-time program fee of $1,000 in the first semester of graduate study. Due to of the very heavy costs associated with hardware and software licensing in the GIS and Image Processing area, students in the Geography GIS program pay a $500 lab fee in both fall and spring semesters. Students also pay a $15 activity fee in the fall and spring semesters as well as a one-time enrollment fee of $100. Students are responsible for paying for housing, food, books, and other personal items.
Students in the Accelerated Degree Program are allowed one year of non-residency status after the fifth year if there are mitigating circumstances where a student is unable to complete the 5th year at the designated time. A meeting of the student’s committee and the program advisor would be required to determine qualifying for non-residency. Please note there is a $200 fee (per semester) associated with the non-residency status registration.