New Approach to Spatial Thinking: TSU Launches Online Master’s in Applied GIS

NASHVILLE, Tenn., April 7, 2014 – A new online degree concentration intended for professionals and students, who wish to advance their careers but do not plan to seek additional education at the doctoral level, will kick off at Tennessee State University next fall.

The Professional Science Master’s with a concentration in Applied Geospatial Information Sciences, which provides broad-based expertise and cutting-edge skills, combines the scientific and technical knowledge of an advance degree in GIS with business knowledge and experience, according to planners.

Designed for working professionals and full-time students, the program, which also allows participants to maintain a career while earning their degree, was necessitated by the need demonstrated by students in the current graduate certificate program, and the growing demand for well-trained professionals in the rapidly expanding GIS and Remote Sensing field.

The PSM is being coordinated between the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences; the College of Business; and the College of Public Service and Urban Affairs. Already hired professors in the three colleges will teach courses in the program.

At a ceremony Monday to launch the PSM degree program in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, officials cited a U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training and Administration report that shows that an additional 150,000 positions requiring geospatial-based skills will be created by the year 2020.

“This program is a marriage between science, business and technology, which makes it a highly sought-after area for opportunities in many disciplines and areas of industry,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of CAHNS. “People completing this program are highly skilled in modern technology and are equipped to analyze data, answer questions and solve problems in a cutting-edge scientific environment.”

According to Dr. Solomon Haile, assistant professor of Forestry and Applied GIS and coordinator of the PSM, the program is beneficial to many professional areas including natural resources managers, environmental engineers, architects, city planners, public health officials, and urban and regional planners.

“A transition in the availability and acceptance of the use of geospatial technology has created an accelerated demand for experts in this field in both the public and private sectors,” Haile said.

He added that the program, which is further strengthened by a board of directors drawn from industry and academia, will “contribute to the University’s mission by producing graduates with advanced training in the cutting-edge interfaces of science and management.”

“PSM offers students training in science and the opportunity to develop workplace skills highly valued by employers,” Haile said.

The PSM, a “non-thesis” program, offers courses entirely online, and an internship with real-world experience. It requires the completion of 36 semester credit hours, and at least 300 internship hours under the supervision of an applied GIS practitioner, Haile said. Participants in the program must maintain no less than a 2.75 GPA. Like any graduate program, applicants must have a first degree at the baccalaureate level for admission. Applications must be processed through the College of Graduate Studies and Research

Published Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

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