2018-2019 Academic Catalog 
    
    Dec 11, 2018  
2018-2019 Academic Catalog

Geographic Information Science, MS


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Overview


The Master of Science program in Geographic Information Science (MSGIS) prepares students to become professionals in careers where they apply the world’s most advanced computer mapping and spatial analysis technologies to address crucial issues concerning socioeconomic development and environmental science and policy.

A collaborative program between the Department of International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE), the Graduate School of Geography and Clark Labs, the MSGIS program is unique is a variety of ways. It focuses specifically on applications of geospatial technologies to problems of sustainable development and the environment, such as:

  • Conservation GIS
  • Land use / land cover change
  • Public health and environmental justice
  • Food security and humanitarian assistance
  • Global change and earth system monitoring
  • Climate change adaptation

Clark University also has a 30+ year history of software development for GIS and remote sensing. Clark Labs (www.clarklabs.org) produces the TerrSet geospatial monitoring and modeling system that includes the IDRISI GIS and Image Processing System, the Land Change Modeler and the Earth Trends Modeler. The software has been distributed to over 100,000 users worldwide. Therefore, MSGIS students have a unique opportunity to learn the analytical power of raster GIS using TerrSet/IDRISI in their course work and research. In the past, many MSGIS students have had the opportunity to work at Clark Labs as software testers, programmers or researchers, depending on each student’s qualifications and the needs of Clark Labs.

Numerous opportunities exist for students to conduct collaborative research with IDCE and Geography faculty as they pursue their research on issues such as conservation GIS, public health, water resources, land use change, software system development, environmental degradation, and environmental justice. Many MSGIS students have co-published findings of their research with faculty members in respected journals in the field.

Course of Study


Clark University offers the Master of Science degree in Geographic Information Science organized according to four areas of concentration:

  1. Geographic Information Science for Development and Environment
  2. Conservation Applications
  3. Remote Sensing
  4. Global and Community Health Applications

Each has its own requirements and students successfully completing the program will have their area of concentration noted on the degree. The first of these is the most flexible and permits the development of a very individually-tailored program. All concentrations require a minimum of 12 graduate course units to graduate.

Within each concentration, students are given the option of two tracks - a research track or an internship track.

The research track is suitable for students who intend to pursue a higher program of study, or who envision working for an organization in a research capacity. The research track requires two credits specifically focused on their research. In addition, students on the research track typically spend the summer following their second semester working on their research.

The internship track is designed for students who wish to gain practical experience working with an organization that uses GIS and remote sensing. This requires the completion of an approved internship during the summer after the second semester, followed by a report and public presentation during the third semester.

Each concentration has a specific set of required courses, prerequisites and suggested electives. However, you are not limited to these electives. We encourage students to take advantage of the diversity of courses offered throughout Clark University, and consider enrolling in courses offered in the other programs in the Department of International Development, Community, and Environment, and in other departments (particularly Geography, Economics and Biology) as approved by the student’s academic advisor.

The curriculum for each concentration is designed to allow full-time students to complete the program in four semesters.

Geographic Information Science for Development and Environment Concentration


The concentration in Geographic Information Science for Development and Environment is intended for students interested in applications of geospatial technologies to address the challenge of sustainable development. The issues are many, ranging from natural resource development while protecting biodiversity, smart development and planning of infrastructure to social issues such as disaster management, humanitarian assistance, water and sanitation, poverty and hunger alleviation, climate change impacts, conflicts, and migration.

The GISDE concentration builds upon the broad strengths of the Department of International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE), the Graduate School of Geography and Clark Labs. Accordingly, this concentration allows considerable flexibility in tailoring an individual program, crafted with the assistance of a faculty advisor.

Curriculum

Candidates for the MS in Geographic Information Science specializing in GIS for Development and Environment are required to complete 12 credits, including 3-5 required courses and associated prerequisites.

Required Courses:

GEOG 397 Advanced Raster GIS

IDCE 388 Advanced Vector GIS

IDCE 391 Professional Seminar (0.5 credit)

Students in the research track are also required to take:

GEOG 399 or IDCE 399 MS Directed Research (1 credit - Fall Semester of Year 2)

IDCE 30213 MS Final Research Requirement (1 credit - Spring Semester of Year 2)

Students in the internship track also have the following non-course requirements that must be fulfilled before graduation clearance will be given:

Submission of an approved MSGIS Internship Proposal before the beginning of your internship

Submission of  your MSGIS Internship Report in your third semester

Submission of a completed and signed MSGIS Internship Supervisor Evaluation in your third semester

Public presentation using PowerPoint about your internship during GIS Week in your third semester

Prerequisites:

The following is a list of prerequisites for required courses. Students who can demonstrate that they have taken comparable courses at other institutions can be exempted from these prerequisites upon the approval of the program Coordinator. However, this does not reduce the requirement for a total of 12 credits for completion of the degree.

GEOG 310 Introduction to GIS

GEOG 311 Introduction to Quantitative Methods

GEOG 383 Introduction to Remote Sensing

Highly Recommended Electives:

IDCE  398      Internship[1]     

GEOG 346      Geospatial Analysis with R

IDCE  302      Python Programming (0.5 credit)

IDCE 30274    Computer Programming for GIS (0.5 credit)

IDCE  359      Web mapping and Open source GIS

IDCE 30306    GIS for International Development (0.5 credit)

GEOG 382      Advanced Remote Sensing

Other Electives:

IDCE 30393    Social Applications of GIS (0.5 credit)

IDCE 30229    Monitoring and Evaluation

IDCE   361      Program and Project Management

IDCE   377      Approaches to Global Health and Social Change

IDCE 30330    Approaches to Community Health and Social Change

IDCE 30264    Introduction to Epidemiology and Biostatistics

IDCE 30360    Spatial Analysis for Health

IDCE 312        Famine and Food Security

IDCE 332        Sustainable Development Assessment & Planning

IDCE 30231    Humanitarian Assistances in Complex Emergencies/Disasters

IDCE 30103    Network and Analytics of Development

GEOG tbd       Conservation GIS (new course to be offered in Fall 2019)

GEOG 336      Wildlife Conservation GIS Research Seminar

GEOG 332      Landscape Ecology

GEOG 386      Habitat Modeling (0.5 credit)

GEOG 304      Cartography and Map design (0.5 credit). Not regularly offered.

GEOG 322      Applications of Radar Remote Sensing         

GEOG 323      Forest Ecology and Management      

GEOG 333      Terrestrial Ecosystems and Global Environmental Change

GEOG 347      Intermediate Quantitative Methods   

GEOG 349      Advanced Topics in Spatial Analysis

GEOG 352      GIS and Land Change Science          

GEOG 360      GIS and Land Change Models          

GEOG 363      Climate Systems and Global Environmental Change

GEOG 372      Contemporary Environmental Issues: Forest Ecosystems     

GEOG 378      Emerging Issues in Climate Change Science

GEOG 379      GIS and Map Comparison

GEOG 385      Spatial Database Development (0.5 credit). Not regularly offered.

GEOG 387      New Methods in Earth Observation

GEOG 391      Innovations in Earth Observation

GEOG 392      Remote Sensing of Global Environmental Change   

Students may also take courses offered by the Graduate School of Geography or the other four graduate programs in IDCE (International Development and Social Change, Community Development and Planning, Community and Global Health,  and Environmental Science and Policy) or in other departments, as approved by their academic advisor. Please view Clark’s official Academic Catalog www.clarku.edu/academiccatalog for a complete listing of course offerings.

[1] Students on the internship track can optionally register for a 0.5 or 1.0 credit internship either during the summer when they take the internship, or in the fall semester immediately following. Note that international students taking their internship as CPT must register for the internship course (0.5 or 1.0 credit).

Conservation Applications Concentration


Conservation GIS is concerned with the application of Geographic Information Systems and related geospatial technologies to the needs of Conservation Biology, Landscape Ecology, Wildlife Management and Conservation Planning. The MSGIS in Conservation Applications builds upon the history of close partnerships between Clark University and Clark Labs with organizations such as Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Through these relationships, for example, Clark Labs has developed a distinctive set of geospatial software tools for Conservation such as the Land Change Modeler, the Habitat and Biodiversity Modeler, the Climate Change Adaptation Modeler, the Ecosystem Services Modeler and the Earth Trends Modeler. Clark is also in the process of becoming the home of the New England chapter of the Society for Conservation GIS.

The objectives of the Master of Science in Conservation Applications are to gain spatial analysis skills required in ecological and conservation applications including: vector and raster spatial data analysis, analysis of image time series, remote sensing applied to environmental monitoring, GIS programming skills, spatial conservation planning, spatial modeling of species distributions, and effective map communication.

Curriculum

Candidates for the MS in Geographic Information Science specializing in Conservation Applications are required to complete 12  graduate course units, normally including 6-8 required courses.

Required Courses:

GEOG 397 Advanced Raster GIS

IDCE 388 Advanced Vector GIS

IDCE 391 Professional Seminar (0.5 credit)

GEOG 332 Landscape Ecology

GEOG 386 Habitat Modeling (0.5 credit)

GEOG tbd Conservation GIS (new course to be offered in Fall 2019)

Students in the research track are also required to take:

GEOG 399 or IDCE 399 MS Directed Research (1 credit - Fall Semester of Year 2)

IDCE 30213 MS Research Final Requirement (1 credit - Spring Semester of Year 2)

Students in the internship track also have the following non-course requirements that must be fulfilled before graduation clearance will be given:

Submission of an approved MSGIS Internship Proposal before the beginning of your internship

Submission of  your MSGIS Internship Report in your third semester

Submission of a completed and signed MSGIS Internship Supervisor Evaluation in your third semester

Public presentation using PowerPoint about your internship during GIS Week in your third semester

Prerequisites:

The following is a list of prerequisites for required courses. Students who can demonstrate that they have taken comparable courses at other institutions can be exempted from these prerequisites upon the approval of the program Coordinator. However, this does not reduce the requirement for a total of 12 credits for completion of the degree.

GEOG 310 Introduction to GIS

GEOG 311 Introduction to Quantitative Methods

GEOG 383 Introduction to Remote Sensing

Highly Recommended Electives:

IDCE  398      Internship[1]     

GEOG 346      Geospatial Analysis with R

IDCE  302      Python programming (0.5 credit)

IDCE 30274    Computer Programming for GIS (0.5 credit)

IDCE  359      Web mapping and Open source GIS 

GEOG 336      Wildlife Conservation GIS Research Seminar

Other Electives:

GEOG 304      Cartography and Map design (0.5 credit). Not regularly offered.

GEOG 322      Applications of Radar Remote Sensing         

GEOG 323      Forest Ecology and Management      

GEOG 333      Terrestrial Ecosystems and Global Environmental Change  

GEOG 349      Advanced Topics in Spatial Analysis

GEOG 352      GIS and Land Change Science          

GEOG 360      GIS and Land Change Models          

GEOG 363      Climate Systems and Global Environmental Change

GEOG 372      Contemporary Environmental Issues: Forest Ecosystems     

GEOG 378      Emerging Issues in Climate Change Science

GEOG 379      GIS and Map Comparison

GEOG 385      Spatial Database Development (0.5 credit). Not regularly offered.

GEOG 382      Advanced Remote Sensing

GEOG 387      New Methods in Earth Observation

GEOG 391      Innovations in Earth Observation

GEOG 392      Remote Sensing of Global Environmental Change   

GEOG 395      Advanced Topics in Biogeosciences 

BIOL  306      Advanced Biostatistics. Not offered regularly

BIOL  316      Ecology          

BIOL  358      Small Scale Land Conservation Principles

Students may also take courses offered by the Graduate School of Geography or the other four graduate programs in IDCE (International Development and Social Change, Community Development and Planning, Community and Global Health, and Environmental Science and Policy) or in other departments, as approved by their academic advisor. Please view Clark’s official Academic Catalog www.clarku.edu/academiccatalog for a complete listing of course offerings.

[1] Students on the internship track can optionally register for a 0.5 or 1.0 credit internship either during the summer when they take the internship, or in the fall semester immediately following. Note that international  students taking their internship as CPT must register for the internship course (0.5 or 1.0 credit).

Remote Sensing Concentration


Remote Sensing is the scientific discipline concerned with the acquisition of environmental data at a distance (typically from imaging sensors on satellites and aircraft) and their subsequent analysis to yield information, typically in map form. Clark’s program in Remote Sensing focuses on the analysis of image data for environmental applications, particularly related to earth system science, natural resource inventory and ecological/conservation applications. Faculty, students and staff are involved not only in the application of remote sensing to crucial environmental concerns, but also, in some cases, in the development of new image processing procedures and software implementations.

Clark’s program in Remote Sensing places a strong emphasis on acquiring the quantitative analysis and problem solving skills necessary to function as a professional analyst. The products of remote sensing image analysis are almost universally in map form. Thus the program also puts emphasis on acquiring the Geographic Information System (GIS) skills necessary for the development of end products. It is also the philosophy of the Clark faculty that analytical skill also depends on experience. Thus most of the courses have an applied project component as an integral element.

Clark continues to have strong partnerships with many organizations that have remote sensing image analysis needs, including the Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), the GIMMS laboratory at NASA, the Wildlife Conservation Society, Conservation International, Digital Globe and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Clark is also closely connected to the NASA DEVELOP program.

Curriculum

Candidates for the MS in Geographic Information Science specializing Remote Sensing of the Environment are required to complete 12 graduate course units, normally including 4-6 required courses.

Required Courses:

IDCE 388 Advanced Vector GIS

GEOG 397 Advanced Raster GIS

IDCE 391 Professional Seminar (0.5 credit)

GEOG 382 Advanced Remote Sensing

Students in the research track are also required to take:

GEOG 399 or IDCE 399 MS Directed Research (1 credit - Fall Semester of Year 2)

IDCE 30213 MS Final Requirement: Research Track (1 credit - Spring Semester of Year 2)

Students in the internship track also have the following non-course requirements that must be fulfilled before graduation clearance will be given:

Submission of an approved MSGIS Internship Proposal before the beginning of your internship

Submission of  your MSGIS Internship Report in your third semester

Submission of a completed and signed MSGIS Internship Supervisor Evaluation in your third semester

Public presentation using PowerPoint about your internship during GIS Week in your third semester

Prerequisites:

The following is a list of prerequisites for required courses. Students who can demonstrate that they have taken comparable courses at other institutions can be exempted from these prerequisites upon the approval of the program Coordinator. However, this does not reduce the requirement for a total of 12 credits for completion of the degree.

1.         GEOG 310 Introduction to GIS

2.         GEOG 311 Introduction to Quantitative Methods

3.         GEOG 383 Introduction to Remote Sensing

Highly Recommended Electives:

IDCE   398      Internship[1]

IDCE   302      Python Programming (0.5 credit)

IDCE  30274   Computer Programming for GIS (0.5 credit)

IDCE   359      Web Mapping and Open Source GIS

GEOG 346      Geospatial Analysis with R

Other Electives:

Students may select from any relevant graduate-credit courses in Geography or IDCE to fill out their requirement of 12 credits for the degree. However, the following is a list of elective courses with a strong focus on Remote Sensing or GIS.

GEOG 392      Remote Sensing of Global Environmental Change

GEOG 322      Applications of RADAR Remote Sensing

GEOG 345      Remote Sensing of the Cryosphere

GEOG 387      New Methods in Earth Observation

GEOG 391      Innovations in Earth Observation

GEOG 330      Species Distribution Modeling

GEOG 332      Landscape Ecology

GEOG 336      Wildlife Conservation GIS Research Seminar

GEOG 352      GIS and Land Change Science

GEOG 360      GIS and Land Change Models

GEOG 379      GIS and Map Comparison

GEOG 398      Internship (Requires permission)

GEOG 399      Directed Study (Requires permission)

Students may also take courses offered by the Graduate School of Geography or the other four graduate programs in IDCE (International Development and Social Change, Community Development and Planning, Global and Community Health, and Environmental Science and Policy) or in other departments, as approved by their academic advisor. Please view Clark’s official Academic Catalog www.clarku.edu/academiccatalog for a complete listing of course offerings.

[1] Students on the internship track can optionally register for a 0.5 or 1.0 credit internship either during the summer when they take the internship, or in the fall semester immediately following. Note that international students taking their internship as CPT must register for the internship course (0.5 or 1.0 credit).

Community and Global Health Applications Concentration


The concentration in GIScience for Community and Global Health Applications is intended for students interested in applications of geospatial technologies in areas of community and global health. The program is aimed at individuals who plan to work as GIS Analysts/Specialists in international health organizations (such as WHO, International Red Cross), federal, state and local government agencies (CDC, FEMA, state and municipal health departments), NGOs (Partners in Health, Planned Parenthood, etc.) or research organizations and Universities (Schools of Public Health, Health GIS Research Labs).

Putting information into a spatial context allows exploring the spatial relationships among health and behavior indicators, health outcomes, environmental risk factors, and demographic and cultural characteristics at a particular location. GIS and remote sensing allow visualizing and analyzing spatial patterns of disease distribution, accounting for spatial dependencies in the data, and investigating how health outcomes and processes that drive them differ from place to place. GIS maps may indicate connections and trends that would be otherwise not readily apparent, if the data were not integrated together via spatial overlays. In addition to a set of core GIScience courses, students in this concentration will take a capstone course titled Spatial Analysis for Health and complete a research project as part of that course. Graduates with this concentration will have a solid understanding of health issues facing communities (both global and domestic), and of the policy environments affecting global and domestic health. They will also develop competency in a wide range of GIS analytical methods, with particular emphasis on techniques applicable to global and community health issues.

Faculty who teach in this concentration have developed strong partnerships with many local and global organizations that have spatial analysis needs, including the City Worcester (Department of Public Health), Family Health Center of Worcester, Inc., Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Departments of Obstetrics/Gynecology and Pediatrics, University of Massachusetts Medical School/UMass Memorial Health Care, Partners in Health, and others. Several MS students have done summer internships in some of these organizations or worked as research assistants with faculty on health-related GIS projects, and co-published academic papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Curriculum

Candidates for the MS in Geographic Information Science for Community and Global Health are required to complete 12 graduate course units, normally including 5-7 required courses.

Required Courses:

IDCE 388 Advanced Vector GIS

GEOG 397 Advanced Raster  GIS

IDCE 391 Professional Seminar (0.5 credit)

IDCE30360 Spatial Analysis for Health

Students must also take at least one of the following courses:

IDCE 377 Approaches to Global Health and Social Change

IDCE 30330 Approaches to Community Health and Social Change

IDCE 30264 Introduction to Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Students in the research track are also required to take:

GEOG 399 or IDCE 399 MS Directed Research (1 credit - Fall Semester of Year 2)

IDCE30213 MS Final Research Requirement (1 credit - Spring Semester of Year 2)

Students in the internship track also have the following non-course requirements that must be fulfilled before graduation clearance will be given:

Submission of an approved MSGIS Internship Proposal before the beginning of your internship

Submission of  your MSGIS Internship Report in your third semester

Submission of a completed and signed MSGIS Internship Supervisor Evaluation in your third semester

Public presentation using PowerPoint about your internship during GIS Week in your third semester

Prerequisites:

The following is a list of prerequisites for required courses. Students who can demonstrate that they have taken comparable courses at other institutions can be exempted from these prerequisites upon the approval of the program Coordinator. However, this does not reduce the requirement for a total of 12 credits for completion of the degree.

GEOG 310 Introduction to GIS

GEOG 311 Introduction to Quantitative Methods

GEOG 383 Introduction to Remote Sensing

Highly Recommended Electives:

IDCE  398      Internship[1]     

GEOG 346      Geospatial Analysis with R

IDCE  302      Python programming (0.5 credit)

IDCE  30274   Computer Programming for GIS (0.5 credit)

IDCE  359      Web mapping and Open source GIS 

IDCE  30393   Social Applications of GIS (0.5 credit)

Other Electives:

Students may select from any relevant graduate-credit courses in Geography or IDCE to fill out their requirement of 12 credits for the degree. However, the following is a list of elective courses with a strong focus on Remote Sensing, GIS, or Global and Community Health.

IDCE 30229    Monitoring and Evaluation

IDCE 361        Program and Project Management

IDCE 377        Approaches to Global Health and Social Change

IDCE 30330    Approaches to Community Health and Social Change

IDCE 308        Health (in)equity: social determinants and policy solutions

IDCE 3026      Introduction to Epidemiology and Biostatistics

GEOG 322      Applications of RADAR Remote Sensing

GEOG 382      Advanced Remote Sensing

GEOG 345      Remote Sensing of the Cryosphere

GEOG 352      GIS and Land Change Science

GEOG 360      GIS and Land Change Models

GEOG 379      GIS and Map Comparison

GEOG 330      Species Distribution Modeling

GEOG 332      Landscape Ecology

GEOG 336      Wildlife Conservation GIS Research Seminar

GEOG 385      Spatial Database Development (0.5 credit). Not regularly offered.

Students may also take courses offered by the Graduate School of Geography or the other four graduate programs in IDCE (International Development and Social Change, Community Development and Planning, Community and Global Health, and Environmental Science and Policy) or in other departments, as approved by their academic advisor. Please view Clark’s official Academic Catalog www.clarku.edu/academiccatalog for a complete listing of course offerings.

[1] Students on the internship track can optionally register for a 0.5 or 1.0 credit internship either during the summer when they take the internship, or in the fall semester immediately following. Note that international students taking their internship as CPT must register for the internship course (0.5 or 1.0 credit).

Tracks


The MSGIS program offers two tracks - internship and research. Students are encouraged to select the option that best suits their anticipated professional aspirations

Research Track

For this option, the student develops a preliminary research proposal as part of IDCE 391. This proposal may be refined in the second semester and must be signed by the selected research advisor (also known as the first reader). This final proposal must be handed in to the MSGIS program coordinator by the end of the second semester. The research is then performed under the guidance of the research advisor in the summer and following academic year.  Students must register for 1.0 credit for either IDCE 399 or GEOG 399 in your third semester and IDCE 30213 with their research advisor in the fourth semester. This final research project results in a paper that has a length and format appropriate for a professional peer-reviewed journal article. The format for the MS paper is available on IDCE391’s Moodle page. Students are also required to make a public presentation about their research at a conference (e.g., AAG; NEArc; Clark Multidisciplinary Graduate Student Conference, etc.) This option is appropriate for students who want to engage in the creation of new methods in GIS or innovative applications of existing GIS methods. This option is recommended for students who envision working in a research setting or who may wish to eventually pursue a Ph.D.

Internship Track

Students choosing this option take 12 credits of coursework and are not required to take the final project course (IDCE30213). For this option, the student applies to GIS-focused internships as part of IDCE 391. As part of IDCE 391, students must complete an Internship Proposal form (included in this Handbook) and obtain approval from their academic advisor who will serve as student’s internship advisor. The student will perform the internship during the summer, and write an internship report in early fall (report guidelines included in this Handbook). Students  should send this report to his/her academic advisor for approval. Approval of the Internship report by the academic advisor is a graduation requirement. Students are also required to make a public presentation about their internship during GIS Week (third week in November).  This option is recommended for students who view this Master’s degree as a terminal degree and plan to spend a career in applied GIS.

Faculty


RONALD EASTMAN, Ph.D.

NICHOLAS CUBA, Ph.D.

LYNDON ESTES, Ph.D.

ROBERT GILMORE PONTIUS Jr., Ph.D.

YELENA OGNEVA-HIMMELBERGER, Ph.D.

JOHN ROGAN, Ph.D.

FLORENCIA SANGERMANO, Ph.D.

 

Courses


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