General Frequently Asked Questions

I have a question about the fully online course offering: Is it self-paced? Or is it a set class time where we meet with the teacher? What are the class times?

The online MS-GIST degree classes are asynchronous and self-paced. Students receive all content for that week at the beginning of the week and they have until Sunday or Monday (depending upon the instructor) to submit the assignments. The TAs and instructor are available during the week throughout the day, evening, and weekend.

Online BS-GIST classes are asynchronous, which means you will be able to work at your own pace. However, all work will have deadlines. Those deadlines will depend upon the instructor.

Do we need certain software or computer requirements to run any programs?

Computing requirements will be provided to you in the orientation packet sent to you prior to the beginning of classes. All of the software that you need to complete course assignments will provide to you free of charge.

I have a low GPA, should I still apply?

In addition to GPA we also consider your statement of purpose, resume, and references in our admission decision. Depending upon how close your GPA is to a 3.0 and the strength of the supporting materials, we often recommend your application to the Graduate College and we ask the Graduate College to waive the GPA requirement. In cases where your GPA is too low to offer admission to either the master’s or certificate program, our staff may recommend that you satisfactorily complete 12 credits of graduate GIS related coursework as non-degree seeking student with a 3.0 GPA or higher. After completing that requirement we will recommend that you reapply to the degree program.

I am an online student and I live in Tucson, can I use the facilities on the main University of Arizona campus during my degree program.

Yes! There are additional immunization requirements needed to access the computer labs on the main campus but once that documentation is received you will have access to the on-campus computer labs. Additionally, if you are on-campus our academic support staff (including Teaching Assistants and Instructors) are often available and willing to meet with you in-person.

Are there any opportunities to network with professionals locally that can help me figure out how I can use the skills acquired in the degree to further my career or just make additional professional connections?

The Tucson geospatial community are active partners with the GIST degree program. Local professionals often hire our students for interns, serve as mentors to our students, and teach modules within GIST. We encourage our students to participate in the local GIS co-op and we encourage students to submit papers and posters for conferences around the state and nationally.

I have a full-time job, is it possible for me to continue to work and be successful in this program?

Yes! Classes for the in-person degree program are held Monday through Thursday nights from 6p until 9p. Lectures don't last the entire three hours, which allows time during the regular class session for students to begin working on or to complete their homework assignments. For the online courses, a weekend is included in all homework due dates allowing for flexibility in completing the coursework.

If I participate in the online degree program will my diploma indicate that I took my courses online?

No. If you graduate from the online degree there will be no indication on your diploma that you took your courses through our online offering.

If I complete the Professional Certificate in GIST (PGIST) can I walk in the commencement ceremonies?

No. The commencement ceremonies are for students that are enrolled and complete the Masters of Science in GIS Technology (MSGIST).

What if I enroll in the Professional GIST (PGIST) certificate and midway through the degree I decide that I want to actually complete the master's degree. Do I have to start all over?

No. Students in the PGIST certificate will take coursework alongside master's students, through GIST603. Since the PGIST courses are a subset of the masters courses if you decide that you want to continue your studies and complete a masters you will have to:
1. Complete a MSGIST degree application through Completing and submitting this application will also require you to pay the $75 application fee for the master's degree application.
2. If we recommend your application to the Graduate College, the Graduate College with then either accept or deny your enrollment. This process is similar to the original process for admission.
3. Upon Graduate College approval, you will then be allowed to enroll in the remaining modules of GIST603, GIST604, and GIST909.