The Geographic Information Systems Associate of Applied Science is a career and technical education degree designed for students focused on workforce readiness to secure an entry-level position in the industry.
Geographic information systems (GIS) are designed to work with data referenced by spatial or geographic coordinates. GIS is a database with capabilities for spatially referenced data, a set of operations for working with and analyzing the data, and a cartographic system for designing maps.
Graduates work in natural resources, federal/state/local governments, planning, utilities, real estate, education, retail, businesses, banking, insurance, and web mapping. Careers typically include positions such as GIS technician, analyst, project manager, computer programmer, database administrator, systems administrator, cartographer, applications developer, and related managerial and administrative roles.
Program Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to:
- Apply foundational theories of geospatial science to real-world industry applications.
- Use industry-standard GIS software proficiently.
- Explain geospatial ideas and outcomes to stakeholders, including non-professionals.
- Create procedures for using GIS and modeling data.
- Use cartographic design principles to communicate effectively with maps.
Academic Entrance Requirements
- High school diploma or GED
- Completion of WR 065 Rhetoric and Critical Thinking II or minimum placement Wr/Comm Level 7
- MTH 060 Beginning Algebra or higher or minimum placement Math Level 10
- Completion of computer competency (either IC3 exam or CIS 120 Computer Concepts, which may be taken as part of program)
Other Entrance Requirements
All students enrolled in the Geographic Information Systems program (which includes requirements for co-operative work experience) may have to pass criminal history checks as a condition of their acceptance into a worksite. See the program page or program director for more information.
Additional Program Costs (Beyond Standard Tuition/Fees and Textbooks)
- Materials (USB drive, maps, office supplies): $100
- A desktop or laptop computer capable of running GIS software*: approximately $1,200
*Most courses use GIS software that is compatible only with Microsoft Windows, and there is no MacOS version. Contact program instructor for specifics.
Most GIS courses are offered once per year beginning in Fall term. Students may take an introductory GIS course (e.g. GEOG 101 Introduction to Geospatial Science & GIS or GEOG 265 Geographic Information Systems) or non-program support and/or selected GIS courses if they begin Winter, Spring, or Summer term or if they need to build skills related to prerequisites. GIS courses are offered each term and must be taken together and sequentially. Students are recommended to avoid working more than 10 hours per week during any term due to heavy course load.
This degree is designed for students planning to enter their chosen career upon graduation. Often only selected credits are considered transferable to public or private baccalaureate institutions.
- Academic Requirements:
- Students must have a 2.0 cumulative GPA to earn a COCC certificate or degree.
- All courses in the program must be completed with a grade of C or higher.