Many students who enter the Master of GIS Applications program have previous experience with GIS, either through formal coursework, or through extensive on-the-job training.

It is highly recommended that you learn the basics of GIS before applying for the MGISA program. The program assumes that you are highly computer literate, are able to navigate the ArcGIS user interface and have a basic understanding of how to perform basic GIS analysis tasks and create maps.

Example Prerequisite Courses

Examples of appropriate introductory GIS courses include:

InstitutionCourse
BCIT GIST 7100
Camosun College GEOG 214
Douglas College GEOG 2270
Kwantlen Polytechnic University GEOG 2400
Langara College APPL 2320
GEOG 2210
Selkirk College GIS 302
Simon Fraser University GEOG 255
Thompson Rivers University GEOG 2750
University of British Columbia GEOB 270
University of the Fraser Valley GEOG 253
University of Northern British Columbia GEOG 300
University of Victoria GEOG 328
Vancouver Island University FRST 328
GEOG 328

Note: this is not an exhaustive list. If you have questions about a course that you took at another institution, please contact Darlene Norby for clarification. List updated Jan. 2015 and is subject to change.

Challenge Option 1

If you already have extensive self-taught GIS skills with ArcGIS or another GIS package, please send a resume, plus a portfolio of some of your work to Darlene Norby (darlene.norby@viu.ca). The MGISA Admissions Committee will examine the work submitted and may waive the formal GIS prerequisite, based on:

  • The volume of work completed
  • The depth of knowledge required to complete the tasks shown
  • How recently the work was completed
  • The type of software used

Challenge Option 2

If you are unable to take an introductory GIS course because of your location or schedule, VIU allows you to challenge the material though a series of Online courses offered by ESRI, the company that produces ArcGIS, which is used in the MGISA Program. This software will only run on the Windows operating system.

Once you have applied to the program, your transcripts will be assessed for evidence of a satisfactory previous GIS course. If there is no evidence of a previous GIS course you will be provided with:

  • information about how to download and install one copy of the student edition of ArcGIS
  • access codes for course enrolment
  • instructions for installing the software and beginning the courses

The courses are:

Once you have completed these courses, view your completion diploma for each course. User the mortarboard icon to view your ESRI course completion certificates.

Save a copy of each course completion certificate in .PDF format, and e-mail these to Darlene Norby (darlene.norby@viu.ca), who will confirm by e-mail that you have met the course prerequisites.

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