GIS Course Descriptions
Undergrad Courses, Graduate Courses
GIS Labs, Software, GIServices
WKU GIScience Club
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GIScience Degree and Minor in GIS
B.Sc. Degree in Geographic Information Science (ref# 576)
The B.Sc. GIScience program focuses on the concepts and principles of GISystems, along with its four components: (1) input, correction and collection of geospatial data; (2) storage and retrieval of geospatial data; (3) manipulation and analysis of geospatial data; and (4) maps and other forms of presentation of geospatial data. The professional major in GIScience requires a minimum of 53 semester hours. No minor is required for this program, although students are highly encouraged to earn a minor or take additional courses in Land Surveying (ref# 405), Geology (ref# 377), Computer Science (ref# 341), Computer Information Systems (ref# 347), or Earth Science (ref# 353); or students are highly encouraged to earn a Certificate in Land Surveying (ref# 1700) or an Information Systems Certificate (ref# 1714).
Land surveying provides GIScience majors opportunities in the GPS data collection business for the GIS and Land Surveying industries as well as management of that data with surveying, engineering and GIS firms. Geology and Earth Science favors GIScience majors with the oil and gas companies for implementing, utilizing, managing and/or creating an enterprise GIS whether it be for prospecting wells, managing utilities or analyzing geospatial data. Computer Science opens doors for GIScience majors to develop customized applications for GIS by furthering their GIS skills with deploying web mapping applications for use in mobile devices and smart phones. Students interested in GIS database management/Administration need to take Intro. to Database (CS 251). The hottest job market for GIScience majors on the higher end of salaries is GIS database administration. GIScience majors interested in this area would need to take two additional computer science courses in addition to the two required computer science courses. (CS 251's prerequisite is CS 181 Computer Science II. GIScience majors are required to take both CS 170 and CS 180.) For the GIS network infrastructure, Computer Information Science extends the GIScience degree skill set with an understanding and utilization of networking, centralizing and disseminating geospatial data within an organization that may extend beyond the traditional in-office desktop GIS software environment (e.g., facilities management, planning & zoning and transportation) with servers, mobile and wireless devices such as smart phones and GPS units.
GEOG 103 (formally GEOG 100) or GEOL 111, GEOG 110, CS 170, GEOG 300, GEOG 316, GEOG 317, GEOG 391, GEOG 414, GEOG 417, GEOG 418, GEOG 419, GEOG 443, GEOG 477 or GEOG 423, GEOG 475 or GEOG 495, GEOG 492, and GEOG 499. Required Support Courses are CE 160/161, CS 180, MATH 118 (or MATH 116 and MATH 117) and MATH 183.
Recommended 4-Year Program (120 Credit Hours):
- Freshman Year (29 Credit Hours Total):
- Fall Semester (14 credit hours): GEOG 103 (formally GEOG 100) Our Dynamic Earth (Colonnade Science), GEOG 175 Freshman University Experience, ENG 100 (Colonnade Writing), MATH 116 College Algebra (Colonnade Math), and HIST 101 or 102 (Colonnade History) .
- Spring Semester (15 credit hours): GEOG 110 World Regional Geography, MATH 117 Trigonometry, COMM 145 (Colonnade Communication), Arts & Humanities (Colonnade Explorations), and Language (or Literary Studies (ENG 200)).
- Sophomore Year (33 Credit Hours Total):
- Fall Semester (17 credit hours): GEOG 316 Fundamentals of GIS, CE 160/161, Literary Studies: ENG 200 (or Language), Colonnade Science Lab Course, and University Elective.
- Spring Semester (16 credit hours): GEOG 317 GIS, CS 170 Problem Solving & Programming, MATH 183 Intro. to Statistics, Social/Cultural Colonnade Connections course, and a University Elective.
- Junior (30 Credit Hours Total):
- Fall Semester (14 Credit Hours): GEOG 391 Spatial Data Analysis, GEOG 417 GIS Analysis & Modeling, Systems Colonnade Course, and CS 180 Computer Science I.
- Spring Semester (16 Credit Hours): GEOG 300 Writing Geosciences, GEOG 414 Remote Sensing, GEOG 419 GIS Programming, GEOG 475/495 Research/Internship, and GEOG 492 Advanced Spatial Data Analysis.
- Senior (28 Credit Hours Total):
- Fall Semester (15 Credit Hours): GEOG 423 Transport GIS, GEOG 443 GIS Databases, GEOG 475/495 Research/Internship, University Elective, and a Local/Global Colonnade course.
- Spring Semester (13 Credit Hours): GEOG 418 Internet GIS, Geography Course (or University Elective), University Elective, Independent Research, and GEOG 499 Professional Development.
B.Sc. Degree in Geography (ref# 674 GRPG)
Planning and GISystems Track
The B.Sc. Geography program requires a minimum of 36 semester hours of geography, plus supporting coursework. A minor or second major is required. Students majoring in geography will learn the concepts and skills necessary to qualify for a variety of career opportunities that require a solid foundation in spatial thinking and analysis. The B.Sc. Geography program at WKU is the largest such program in Kentucky or Tennessee. Students can become more directly involved in faculty sponsored research, with opportunities for co-authorship of peer reviewed research articles, and presentation of research results at professional meetings, conferences, and workshops. Required courses are GEOG 103 (formally GEOG 100), GEOG 110, GEOG 300, GEOG 316, GEOG 391, and GEOG 499. Other requirements include CS 180, MATH 116, and MATH 117 as well as additional courses in GIS such as GEOG 317, GEOG 417, GEOG 419, and courses in Planning.
GIS Minor (ref# 366)
This 23 (or 24) hour minor program provides a foundation in GIS. This minor is appropriate for students interested in careers utilizing GIS as a tool in such areas as archeology, biology, business, engineering, geography, geology, meteorology, social science, and public health, or for students pursuing a GIS as a profession in a related discipline such as Computer Science, Computer Information Systems, and Systems Management. Required courses (23 - 24 hours) include GEOG 103 (formally GEOG 100) or GEOL 111, GEOG 110, GEOG 316, GEOG 317, GEOG 417, and GEOG 419; and one additional course from the following GIS courses: GEOG 414, GEOG 418, GEOG 423, GEOG 443, GEOG 477, or GEOG 492. Completing a minor in GIS also meets all requirements for earning an undergraduate Certificate in GIS.
M.Sc. Degree (ref# 072)
For the M.Sc. in Geoscience, a minimum of 30 semester hours is required, with 12 semester hours in core courses and six hours of thesis. The GIS track focuses on the skills required in a variety of planning and government environments. Students have greater flexibility in this track to focus on a suite of courses that prepares them for employment in local and state planning, environmental management, government, consulting, and a myriad of other areas.
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