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Designing and developing a new online graduate geospatial program presents a unique opportunity to shape an innovative curriculum. Given that most Master’s degree programs are comprised of 12 classes or 36 credits, building a graduate level geospatial program requires significant thought and compromise. This is particularly true in geospatial education in which the curriculum must mirror the cross-disciplinary nature of the geospatial profession. This paper describes the design and development of a new online geospatial graduate program at American Sentinel University. Our Master of Geospatial Information Systems (MGIS) was designed for working professionals who have domain expertise in fields other than GIS. The MGIS will provide these individuals with the geospatial skills and knowledge necessary to incorporate geospatial concepts and practice into their professional lives. Students that end their studies upon completion of the initial 5 classes (15 credits) will be awarded a GIS Graduate Certificate. Overall, our program consists of courses that are designed to blend core geospatial fundamentals with dynamic geospatial technologies and GIS applications. The program courses will be discussed in the context of advice from industry experts, advisory boards, geospatial competency models and accrediting standards. Finally, strategies for assessing and maintaining program quality and relevancy will be outlined.
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