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Geographical Information Systems (GIS)

The Department of Physical and Earth Sciences offers core courses and an area of concentration in geographic information systems (GIS) within the MPA degree program, and supporting courses for the MA with a major in liberal studies.  Please refer to the Liberal Studies and Public Administration sections of this website for application materials required, admission requirements, and program requirements these programs.

A graduate certificate in geographical information systems is also available for non-degree students who wish to specialize in the area of geographic information systems.  This certificate focuses on the systematic study of map making and the application of mathematical, computer, and other techniques to the analysis of large amounts of geographic data and the science of mapping geographic information.

Upon satisfactorily completing the requirements of a graduate certificate (comprehensive examination not required for graduate certificate), an entry will be made on the student’s transcript. A student who completes the graduate certificate in geographic information systems may apply the 15 hours credit toward the MA with a major in liberal studies or the MPA with a concentration in geographic information systems. All course work for the MA and MPA degrees, including the geographic information systems course work, must be completed within six years. 

Required Application Materials

Applicants for the graduate certificate in geographical information systems may be permitted to enroll for one semester of graduate course work while completing all other general application procedure requirements.

Applicants for the graduate certificate in geographical information systems must submit all the following documentation to the College of Graduate Studies, Jacksonville State University, 700 Pelham Road North, Jacksonville, Alabama 36265-1602 to be considered for admission:

  1. Completed JSU Graduate Application for Admission (
  2. Non-refundable $35.00 application processing fee
  3. Official transcripts from the postsecondary institutions awarding the bachelor’s degree. (Students who have previously attended JSU do not need to request a transcript from the University.)
  4. If English is not the applicant’s native language, the applicant is required to submit an official TOEFL score report or an IELTS score report.

NOTE: Students who have not had undergraduate courses in GIS, or no prior experience in GIS using current ESRI software, are required to complete GIS 510 as a prerequisite for the required courses.  Please review our Graduate Certificate Disclosure information.

The student must complete the 15 semester hours of required GIS concentration courses listed below:

  • GY 455G - Organization and Management of Spatial Systems (3)
  • GY 456G - Spatial Data Layout and Design (3)
  • GY 459G - Spatial Data Collection and Management (3)

Two courses from the courses listed below:

  • GY 453G - Analyzing Spatial Networks (3)
  • GY 454G - Site Location Analysis (3)
  • GIS 570 - Advanced Topics in Spatial Analysis (3)
15 Graduate Semester Hours are Required for this Program

Geographical Information Systems Courses

Prefix GIS

510.    Introduction to Spatial Analysis (3). An overview of geographic information systems and a foundation in map coordinate systems, map projections, and map scale.
570.    Advanced Topics in Spatial Analysis (3,3). Advanced GIS instruction and work in a variety of topics such as imagery interpretation and classification, surface modeling, spatial manipulation languages, and statistical analysis of spatial data. Can be taken twice for credit.
580.    Directed Research (3). Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

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