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Get Your Geography Online

New Geographic Information Science and Technology Web Site Launched

A member of the Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST) program uses a GPS device on Catalina Island. Photo credit Matt Stuemky.
A member of the Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST) program uses a GPS device on Catalina Island. Photo credit Matt Stuemky.

USC College has launched a new Web site for its innovative online Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST) Master of Science and Graduate Certificate Programs.

The online geography programs are designed and overseen by Professor of Geography John Wilson, one of the world’s leading scholars in spatial sciences.

“The U.S. Department of Labor recently identified geospatial as one of the three most important emerging and evolving fields of study and employment growth over the next two or three decades,” Wilson said.

The online courses are designed to enhance a student’s spatial thinking abilities, build knowledge of the field, and develop skills in geospatial technologies. Rigorous coursework prepares graduates of these programs for  existing and emerging jobs in emergency and environmental management, food production, intelligence, public safety, real estate, and telecommunications and utility sectors.

“USC is committed to providing Distance Learning programs that reflect the academic quality one expects from a world-class research university,” said Howard Gillman, dean of USC College.

The myriad benefits of the USC College GIST programs include:

• interacting with our world-class faculty;
• collaborating, networking and exchanging ideas with a diverse student population;
• learning from an approach that examines today’s problems from multiple perspectives including health, planning, architecture and more;
• participating in a one-week trip to the USC Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island as part of the GPS/GIS Field Techniques class;
• accessing an online program at any time from any place;
• joining USC, an official ESRI Development Center.

The courses are not limited to individuals following a geography path. “I found GIS technology to be interdisciplinary in nature, enhancing the decision-making process and allowing individuals to communicate complex issues across language and cultural barriers, in a clear, concise and easily understandable way,” Jeremy Olson-Sheton MPA ’09 said. “It changes a PowerPoint filled with words into a dynamic illustration of the issue being presented.”

Another student found the GIST program transformative. Matthew Stuemky, a GIST certificate graduate with a degree in business administration and computer applications and systems, said that he appreciated the high quality program. “I am glad I discovered it when I did, as I was ready to take my career in a new direction.”

Students enrolled in the Master of Science program — a program that can be completed in one year — will prepare an individually guided thesis to take with them when they apply for a job in the marketplace.

To learn more about these innovative programs, visit gis.usc.edu.