The MGISA Program is divided into two stages. Stage 1 is focused on teaching technical skills, while Stage 2 is focused on broadening and deepening your knowledge of GIS in an area of GIS in which you want to specialize. The two stages could be accomplished within two full years.

Stage 1 of the program may be completed face-to-face at the Nanaimo campus over an 8 month period. It covers 30 credits including 9 credits of practicum. The online option may be completed over a 16 month period; however it doesn’t include the practicum component. The face-to-face option begins in September and ends in April, and the online option begins in January and ends in April, with summer as a scheduled break.

Stage 2 of the program, also for 30 credits, begins in September, and continues over 12 months, ending the following August. This gives students time to take their remaining classes and complete their research project. Because Stage 2 is much more self-directed than Stage 1, it is available in either a fully online or a blended format. In the fully online format, all work, including presentation of the research project, is performed online. The blended mode is the same in content and activity as the fully online format, but students must complete it at the Nanaimo campus, with scheduled face-to-face support from their supervisors and instructors.

GIS Skills Acquisition

In Stage 1, students learn how to use GIS as a spatial information and problem-solving tool in addressing real-world issues. The face-to-face option has a 9-credit work-study practicum; the online version includes in its place coursework with a number of GIS project assignments. The range of GIS skills acquired in each version of the MGISA program is the same – a skill set with which graduates are extremely well positioned to secure full-time employment in the field. 

GIS Software and Program Materials

We use ArcGIS by ESRI, the world's most popular GIS software package. Most students will use ArcGIS after graduation, but even those who do not will find the skills that they learn using ArcGIS are easily transferrable to other packages. Published materials and instructional packages provide support for some courses.

Program Courses

Although the program structure and delivery differs, the student learning outcomes are the same. Each course is worth 3 credits, with the exceptions of GEOG 591 (GIS Applications Project) which is worth 9 credits, GEOG 598 (Research Project Development), which is worth 6 credits, and GEOG 599, the Masters Research Project, which is worth 18 credits.

Stage 1 Face-to-Face

Semester 1Semester 2
GEOG 501 (3 credits)
Foundations of Geographic Information Systems
GEOG 591 (9 credits)
GIS Applications Project: Practicum
GEOG 511 (3 credits)
Geodatabases
GEOG 593 (3 credits)
Internet GIS
GEOG 521 (3 credits)
General Spatial Analysis
GEOG 523 (3 credits)
Advanced Applied Spatial Analysis
GEOG 531 (3 credits)
Visual Programming for GIS
GEOG 581 (3 credits)
Management Issues In GIS

Stage 1 Online

Semester 1Semester 2Semester 3
GEOG 501 (3 credits)
Foundations of Geographic Information Systems
GEOG 521 (3 credits)
General Spatial Analysis
GEOG 525 (3 credtis)
Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Survey Analysis
GEOG 511 (3 credits)
Geodatabases
GEOG 530 (3 credits)
Programming Foundations
GEOG 531 (3 credits)
Visual Programming for GIS
GEOG 524 (3 credits)
Remote Sensing & Digital Image Processing
GEOG 523 (3 credits)
Advanced Applied Spatial Analysis
GEOG 581 (3 credits)
Management Issues In GIS
    GEOG 593 (3 credits)
Internet GIS

Stage 2 Online

Semester 1Semester 2 and Summer Semester
GEOG 582 (3 credits)
GIS Infrastructure
Online
GEOG 599 (18 credits)
Masters Research Project
Online supervisor interaction,
with defense via video conference
GEOG 583 (3 credits)
Advanced Techniques in GIS
Online
GEOG 598 (6 credits)
Research Project Development
Online

Stage 2 Blended

Semester 1Semester 2 and Summer Semester
GEOG 582 (3 credits)
GIS Infrastructure
Online
GEOG 599 (18 credits)
Masters Research Project
Regularly-scheduled meetings with
supervisor, face-to-face defense
GEOG 583 (3 credits)
Advanced Techniques in GIS
Online
GEOG 598 (6 credits)
Research Project Development
Face-to-face seminar

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