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Northwest Missouri State University


Program Background

Garrett StrongThe Geography program at Northwest Missouri State University has a rich history of innovation, student success, and University support. Since the early 1990s, the Department has had a strong component of GIS and related geo-technologies as part of its undergraduate degree programs. Building upon the department's strength in GIS and the University's experience in online education, the Department began planning for the online graduate GIScience program in 2001. The first students for the online GIScience program were admitted for the fall 2003 trimester. The first M.S. degree in GIScience and graduate GIScience certificates were awarded spring 2005.

The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences is located on the first floor of the remodeled Garrett-Strong Science Building on the University campus. The Department has two computer labs for teaching GIS, digital cartography, image processing, and GPS.

The GIScience faculty have a proven commitment to the graduate and undergraduate programs, our students, the post-graduate industry, and the field of Geography. Our faculty are well-balanced human and physical geographers with specialties in GIS and GIScience. They have a background in undergraduate education, public and private employment, and GIScience research. Our pedagogical philosophy is to balance theoretical knowledge in GIScience with technical applications.

The Department of Humanities and Social Sciences has strong ties with the industries that employ our graduates. The Department has an advisory board composed of representatives from industry, government, and academia for support and review of our degree programs. This group is instrumental in validating and strengthening the graduate GIScience program.

Northwest Missouri State University has been a leader and innovator in online instruction. One of the missions of the University is to apply information technology to improve learning processes. To ensure quality, the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences followed a Seven Step Planning Process in proposing and implementing the online GIScience program and continues to follow this process in reviewing and enhancing the program.