Geographic information systems (GIS) is a geospatial technology that visualizes, analyzes, and transforms data into geographic knowledge. GIS can be used for so many things! Examples include:
- modeling the population growth and distribution in cities, towns and regions
- identifying, modeling and mapping wildlife habitats, distributions and threats
- mapping crime patterns and statistics
- performing market demographic analyses and identifying the best locations for businesses
- developing aid distribution networks and evacuation plans for community disaster preparedness.
GIS helps planners, nonprofit agencies, environmental scientists, biologists and business owners to make site location decisions and solve urban and environmental problems. Moreover, the spatial thinking and analysis inherent in GIS are skill sets that are valued by many other disciplines including law enforcement, homeland security, public health, business and marketing, communications and media, political science, and history.
GIS skills are highly-marketable today and our GIS Minor gives you the skills and hands-on experience you need to use GIS successfully in your future career. In 18 credits, the GIS minor prepares students to use the technology to address real-world problems and to communicate effectively complex information to a diverse audience. Included in these credits are internship opportunities that students are often able to turn into full-time jobs after graduation.
- Core concepts underlying GIS
- Analytical techniques, software, and hardware used in GIS
- GIS applications across disciplines
- Discipline-specific applications (for Planning, Environmental Science, Criminal Justice, Political Science, or Business)
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Certificate
Our GIS Certificate includes a 12-credit course series to account for the diversity of backgrounds, needs, and computer experience of the students. The target audience is non-traditional students, e.g. professionals from the private and public sectors, educators, local town government officials, etc., with and without an academic degree. The GIS Certificate is also available for 'regular' students wanting 'formal' GIS training without completing our GIS Minor.
The GIS Certificate is awarded through Graduate & Continuing Education; however, coursework may be taken during the day or evening offerings. Some coursework from other institutions may be accepted in transfer after review by the Certificate Director.
Geographic information system (GIS) is a geospatial technology that visualizes, analyzes and transforms data into geographic knowledge. GIS links location to information (such as people to addresses, buildings to parcels, or streets within a network) and layers that information in order to reveal relationships, patterns and trends. It is used to model population growth and distributions, manage wildlife habitats, map crime, perform market demographic analyses and develop distribution networks and evacuation plans for community preparedness. GIS helps planners, environmental scientists, biologists and business owners to make site location decisions and solve urban and environmental problems. A background in GIS provides opportunities in federal, state and local agencies such as the:
Fish and Wildlife Service Department of Homeland Security National Park Service National Geospatial Intelligence Agency Bureau of Land Management United States Forest Service Environmental Protection Agency Department of Transportation State Police Department of Public Works Department of Conservation and Recreation Department of Environmental Protection
The nonprofit and private sector employs professionals trained in GIS in database creation, sales and marketing, cartographic production, software and applications development, data collection & analysis and project management. GIS professionals may be employed by utilities & communications firms, banking, retail, real estate and insurance companies, environmental engineering firms, regional planning agencies and conservation organizations. GIS professionals hold the following titles: GIS Technician, GIS Analyst, GIS Specialist, GIS Manager, System/Database Administrator and GIS Software Engineer.
The GIS Minor is designed to introduce students to the fundamental concepts, analytical techniques, software and hardware used in GIS. Upon successful completion of the minor, students will be able to understand the core concepts underlying GIS, how GIS is used in a wide variety of subject areas and apply geospatial concepts and GIS to solve real world problems and to communicate effectively complex information to a diverse audience.
Minor in Geographic Information System (GIS) - 18 Credits
Twelve (12) of the credits have to be taken at Westfield State University.
Required GIS Courses - 9 Credits
- GPS 0243 - Introduction to Remote Sensing
- GPS 0244 - Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
- GPS 0344 - Advanced Geographic Information Systems
One of the following
- BIOL 0278 - Biostatistics
- CRJU 0313 - Statistics in Criminal Justice
- ECON 0305 - Introduction to Econometric Methods
- FINC 0305 - Introduction to Econometric Methods
- ENVS 0330 - Environmental Data Analysis
- MGMT 0250 - Quantitative Approaches to Business Decisions
- GPS 0246 - Quantitative Methods for Social and Physical Science
Plus two of the following - 6 Credits
- BIOL 0204 - GIS Applications for Natural Sciences
- CAIS 0117 - Introduction to Computer Programming
- CAIS 0212 - Visual Programming Concepts
- CRJU 0328 - Computer Application in Crime Analysis
- CRJU 0359 - Geographic Information Systems Applications in Crime Analysis
- GPS 0241 - Cartographic & Data Visualization
- GPS 0317 - Special Topics in Geography and Planning
- GPS 0343 - Advanced Remote Sensing
- GPS 0347 - Cloud GIS
- GPS 0350 - Internship in Regional and Environmental Planning
- GPS 0365 - Geoprocessing
- GPS 0399 - Independent Study
* Additional prerequisites are required.
For more information about the GIS minor, contact Dr. Timothy LeDoux (firstname.lastname@example.org), Department of Geography, Planning and Sustainability, at (413) 572-5722.
- For information regarding the application to the GIS Certificate Program, please contact the College of Graduate and Continuing Education at: 413-572-8020 or email@example.com.
- For information regarding the approval of previous coursework, GIS advising, assembling a course of study, or other program or course specific inquiries, please contact the GIS Certificate Director Dr. Timothy LeDoux (GIS Coordinator) at firstname.lastname@example.org.