Geographic Information Science and Technology (Master of Science)

Students accepted to the MS with a major in Geographic Information Science and Technology, must decide on a track, either Non-Thesis or Thesis. Students must meet with the Geographic Information Science and Technology graduate program coordinator to discuss degree benchmarks and determine a track of study prior to admission into the program. An advisory committee will be selected to assist the student in developing a degree plan that satisfies university and departmental degree requirements. Requirements and benchmarks for Non-Thesis and Thesis tracks are available on the JSU Chemistry and Geosciences Department website and in the Chemistry and Geoscience office.

Applications Deadlines

Deadline dates for applications:

Date Event
July 1 Fall Admission
November 1 Spring Admission
April 1 Summer Admission

The graduate program chair and the Department Chair must grant any exceptions to these deadlines.

Application Materials required for the Master of Science with a Major in Geographic Information Science & Technology

All applicants must submit the following documentations to Graduate Admissions to be considered for admission:

Graduate Admissions
Jacksonville State University
700 Pelham Road North
Jacksonville, Alabama 36265-1602

  1. Completed JSU Graduate Applications for Admission.
  2. Non-refundable $35.00 application processing fee.
  3. Official transcripts(s) from all colleges/universities with degrees posted. (Students who have previously attended JSU do not need to request a transcript from the university.)
  4. Three Graduate References Forms completed by individuals who can provide qualitative assessment of the applicant’s potential for success in graduate coursework. Reference forms will be submitted electronically. Instructions for submission will be sent through email to the applicant upon submission of the online graduate application.
  5. International student applicants must see the International Student Applicants section of this catalog for other application and enrollment requirements.

Admission Requirements for the MS with a Major in Geographic Information Science and Technology

Applicants to the MS with a major in Geographic Information Science and Technology must meet both Graduate Studies requirements and the Geosciences Departmental requirements.

Applicants to the MS with a major in Geographic Information Science and Technology are not required to have an undergraduate major in Geography or Geospatial Technology. Without a foundation in GIS or Geospatial Technology, additional courses may be suggested as foundational courses. These courses may not count for credit toward the MS GIST. Applicants with no GIS background will be required to take GIS 510 Introduction to Spatial Analysis (3) as an introductory foundational course.

Unconditional Admission

To obtain unconditional admission into the MS in Geographic Information Science and Technology program applicants must meet the following requirement

  • A minimum overall undergraduate GPA of 2.50 including a minimum GPA of 3.00 in their major.

Conditional Admission

An applicant may be conditionally admitted with the recommendation of a graduate faculty sponsor(s) and the approval of the graduate program committee and the department head.

Applicants who are granted conditional admission must meet immediately with Dr. Joe Morgan, the Chemistry and Geosciences Department Head, to discuss program benchmarks and timelines. The student must also achieve a GPA of at least 3.0 on the first 12 graduate hours attempted. Failure to meet these conditions will result in the student being dropped from graduate studies.

Minimum Requirements for the MS with a Major in Geographic Information Science and Technology

An overall 3.00 GPA is required on all coursework attempted for this master’s degree. Transfer credit cannot be used to raise the GPA to the required 3.00.

The required courses for the non-thesis and the thesis options are the same and will serve as foundational courses for the degree. The elective courses may vary depending on the research topics and the methodology chosen for each. The non-thesis option requires the completion a comprehensive project and the thesis option requires the completion of an approved research project focused on original research under the direction of a comprehensive thesis committee. 

Non-Thesis Option (Geospatial Capstone Project)

A minimum of 33 graduate semester hours (17 of which must be at the 500 level), including successful completion of Geospatial Capstone Project. A GIS capstone project is a final course in your GIST program. This course gives the graduate student an opportunity to apply the skills learned and refined in the course of your studies. A GIST capstone project immerses one in a wide range of tasks that are associated with the application of GIST. The 33 semester hours for the non-thesis option will include the following courses:

Graduate students are required to take the following core courses in the Master of Science in Geographic Information Science and Technology for a total of 18 semester hours.

Course Title Credits
Core Course Requirements18
Advanced Remote Sensing 1
Geospatial Programming
Spatial Data, Layout, and Design
Spatial Data Collection and Management
Introduction to Spatial Analysis
Organization and Management of Spatial Systems
Electives 212
Drone Piloting and Mapping
Spatial Statistics
Web-based GIS: Technologies and Applications
Analyzing Spatial Networks
Site Location Analysis
Advanced Topics in Spatial Analysis
Capstone or Thesis 33
Capstone Project
Thesis
Total Hours33

Graduate Semester hours required for this Degree is 33 for either the Capstone or the Thesis option.

Thesis Option

An approved thesis for this option is required for the Master of Science in Geographic Information Science and Technology for the student selecting the thesis option. A finished work must reflect a comprehensive understanding of the pertinent literature and clearly express the problem(s) for study, the method, significance and results of the student’s original research. 

A minimum of 33 graduate semester hours (18 hours must be at the 500 level), including successful completion of an acceptable thesis. The successful defense of the thesis will serve as the comprehensive examination. The 33 graduate semester hours for the thesis option will include required and elective courses from above with guidance and approval of the committee chair.

The required courses for the Non-thesis and the Thesis options are the same and will serve as foundational courses for the degree. The elective courses may vary depending on the research topics and the methodology chosen for each. The Non-Thesis will complete a comprehensive project and the thesis option will complete a comprehensive committee directed and approved research project focused on original research.  A typical research project will be completed in less than three years and includes the following timeline benchmarks:

  • Year One: Assignment of a major advisor and thesis committee, develop a research proposal. The student must select and meet with a thesis committee.
  • Year Two: Thesis students should contact Graduate Studies to receive an orientation to the thesis process prior to enrolling in GIS 599 Thesis (3). The purpose of the orientation is to provide the thesis student with information concerning required forms, due dates, and to answer any questions concerning thesis options and/or procedure. For further information concerning this orientation, please contact LaRilda VanSandt, vansandt@jsu.edu, 322 Bibb Graves, (256) 782-5345.
  • The student will complete research project, write thesis, and provide thesis committee written thesis at least three weeks prior to thesis defense.

See Thesis Options and Procedures in this catalog for more information.

Students not meeting benchmarks may be provided additional time as determined by their thesis committee, the department chair, or the Director of Graduate Studies.

Graduation and Comprehensive Exam

No comprehensive exam is required for the Non-Thesis Option (Capstone) of this degree. For students choosing the Thesis Option, the thesis defense serves as the comprehensive exam. All students must apply for graduation by the given deadline of the semester in which they plan to graduate. Please see the Graduation and Comprehensive Exam section of this catalog for more information.