2011-2012 Academic Catalog 
    Feb 21, 2024  
2011-2012 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Geographic Information Science Accelerated BA/MA Program

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Who is Eligible

Students majoring in geography, global environmental studies, earth systems science, international development and social change, or environmental science and policy can apply to the accelerated B.A./M.A. program in Geographic Information Science.


To be eligible for the fifth year M.A. program in GISc, a student must meet all university requirements for entry into the fifth year program, as well as have completed Geography 190 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems , Geography 206: Vector GIS , Geography 293: Digital Image Processing  , and Geography 397: Advanced Topics in GIS  by the end of their senior year. A GPA of 3.6 (overall Clark GPA) is required for entry into this program, although students not meeting this requirement may petition the School for a waiver. Applicants are expected to complete an Honors Thesis in their senior year, although in some circumstances students may opt to enroll in the honors program for the spring semester of the junior year and fall semester of the senior year.

In accordance with these requirements, students who have declared their intention to apply for the fifth year program must submit a formal application to the Graduate School of Geography by October 15 of their senior year. Then by April 1 of the senior year, it is necessary to submit to the Geography B.A./M.A. Program Advisor, evidence (such as a current transcript) that all course requirements will be met, and an approved Master’s Project proposal, signed by a Geography faculty advisor and a reader. The reader can, with the approval of the Geography B.A./M.A. Program Advisor, be a faculty member from outside Geography. Final offers of admission will be made by the Graduate Dean.

B.A./M.A. Program of Study

The M.A. degree in Geography specializing in Geographic Information Science requires the completion of 10 graduate course credits, two of which are taken during the senior year and two of which are completed during the summer between the senior year and the fifth year. Three of the 10 credits are devoted to the completion of a master’s research project. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Senior year: GEOG 397: Advanced Topics in GIS  (please note prerequisites for GEOG 397  are GEOG 190: Raster GIS  and GEOG 206: Vector GIS ) plus one additional 200- or 300- level course approved by the B.A./M.A. Advisor. Candidates for the fifth year program are also required to develop a master’s research proposal, with a signed statement of support from two faculty sponsors who will act as the advisor and the reader. The proposal must include a three-semester work plan. See the Departmental Requirements section for details on timing.
  • Summer following senior year: a one-credit internship in Geographic Information Science and a one-credit directed research project associated with the master’s research project. This project is focused on database development for the Master’s project, and may be linked to the internship project. Typically, this course is completed off-campus. However, it requires frequent communication with the student’s advisor. Details of the mechanism for this communication must be included in the project proposal.
  • Fifth year: six graduate course credits (three per semester), of which one credit each semester will be devoted to the completion of the master’s research project. In April the student will be required to give an oral presentation of the findings of the master’s research project, along with other students in the GIS and GISDE masters programs. In addition, the student must submit to the B.A./M.A. Advisor, by the end of the spring semester, a publication quality paper, associated with the project, certified by the student’s advisor and reader.

Of the six courses not associated with the master’s project and internship (taken during the senior and 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.

Lab Fee

Because of the very heavy costs associated with hardware and software licensing in the GIS and Image Processing area, students will be required to pay a lab fee of $1000 per semester (fall and spring) during the completion of their fifth-year program. This lab fee is NON-refundable and should be paid to the Graduate Assistant in the Graduate School (Denise Robertson).

Recent B.A./M.A. Graduates and First Employment

  • Trevor Gareth Jones (B.A.’05/M.A.’06) University of British Columbia: Department of Forest Resources Management, Graduate Research Assistant at the Integrated Remote Sensing Studio
  • Nicholas Malizia (B.A.’05/M.A.’06) NeighborhoodScout.com, Lead Statistician and View Point Engineering, Inc., Senior GIS Analyst
  • Christopher Lippitt (B.A.’05/M.A.’06) San Diego State University-University of California, Santa Barbara Joint Doctoral Program: Geography Department, Graduate Research Assistant
  • Daniel Pomerleau (B.A.’04/M.A.’05) DeLorme Mapping, GIS Analyst, User Interface Responsibilities: Design and testing of new GIS and related mapping functionality in DeLorme software products.

Contact Person

The geography B.A./M.A. program advisor is Professor John Rogan (508) 793-7562.

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