One in a series of articles profiling university programs focusing on big data and analytics education.
American Sentinel University in Aurora, Colorado has offered associate and bachelor degrees in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) since 2007.
But with the popularity of location-based smartphone apps and online services like Google Maps, the university decided to establish a program that went past technical skills and taught students how GIS can help businesses perform.
Devon Cancilla, dean of the Business and Informatics programs at American Sentinel, said the school’s online Master of Geospatial Information Systems program is for business managers who want to develop an enterprise-level geospatial strategy.
“It’s not necessarily the person who is going to be sitting in front of the console and imputing data, it’s for someone who is aware why this is important,” Cancilla said. “We think that there are a lot of people out there who are technologically capable and competent managers … who could really top off their skill set by becoming more geospatially aware and relevant.”
The program offers a project track and a coursework track. The project track has students working with a faculty mentor to define, research and implement a geospatial project that solves an organizational challenge. The project counts as three full-credit courses and takes the place of some elective courses.
The course track is a traditional classwork program that requires more elective courses, and a smaller capstone project.
Both tracks require five core courses. Students who complete just the five core courses are eligible for a certificate.
- Master’s program started in fall 2012.
- 11 students in first group to start program.
- Online only; 12 courses, 36 credit hours required.
- Most students will complete program in 12 to 24 months.
- Total tuition $7,650 to $16,380, depending on prerequisite courses completed.
- Designed for working professionals.
- Project- or course-based tracks.
- Technology partnership with ESRI mapping software, but other tools also taught.