With increasing demand for professionals trained in geospatial technologies, West Virginia University is answering the call with a new graduate certificate program.
Offered jointly through the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design and the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, the Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis Graduate Certificate program consists of four graduate level courses and one independent study requirement. It is ideal for graduate students and working professionals who desire specialized training in GIS, remote sensing and applied spatial analysis.
According to Michael Strager, director of the graduate certificate program and associate professor in the Davis College School of Natural Resources, this certificate offers skills necessary for this increasingly in-demand industry.
“This graduate certificate in GIS and spatial analysis provides the opportunity for students from many disciplines to gain experience and be recognized for their ability to analyze spatial data at an advanced level,” he said.
The program incorporates predictive modeling, data exploration, technical issues, programming, advanced spatial analysis, and remote sensing in the curriculum, making it the first of its kind in West Virginia.
Additionally, this graduate certificate program aligns with WVU’s 2020 Strategic Plan for the Future, which places an emphasis on interdisciplinary curricula. By giving students the opportunity to work with faculty in two different colleges, the program provides a more well-rounded educational experience.
“I’m very excited for the potential of cross-college interaction for the training of graduate students and professionals in the state,” said Brenden McNeil, associate professor of geography.
McNeil explained that having the collaboration between colleges allows for a more diverse insight on the rapidly evolving field. This collaboration creates more opportunities for future research and allows students to gain a clearer understanding of what the future holds for GIS and spatial analysis.
Currently, all required courses are provided on campus. However, in an attempt to make the program more flexible and available to part-time or non-traditional students, the program will have an entirely online track by Fall of 2017.