What to Expect from GIST Online Programs

What to Expect from GIST Online Programs

Online programs can seem daunting if you’ve never taken an online class. How will you know if online education is right for you? How can you determine if you’ll be successful in this medium? This month, we’ll help you answer those questions through a discussion of what you should expect from NC State’s GIST online programs. 

A flexible course load

Course load requirements vary based on program and circumstance (such as financial aid requirements), but most of the time students can take as little as one course per semester. Because of this, you may complete your online program at your own pace. Students who are enrolled in the distance education programs at NC State do so because they enjoy the flexibility, may have full time jobs and/or family obligations, and are interested in obtaining a high quality degree from an exceptional university from anywhere in the world! NC State’s GIST online programs strive to recognize individual circumstances, allowing you to obtain a degree or certificate while balancing personal and professional commitments.

Personalized programs

While the Master of Geospatial Information Science and Technology online program does have a core set of courses required of all students, there is still opportunity to tailor your program to your interests. With at least 12 credit hours of electives, there is an array of courses from which you can choose to create a personalized program. Electives include professional skills courses, engineering courses, environmental science/natural resource courses and statistics courses. The numerous courses within each discipline allow students to focus on a concentration or to pick and choose courses that they find to be most valuable or useful to them.

Resources at your fingertips

Distance education students have access to the same world-class resources as their on-campus counterparts. Each course taught online has materials available for reading and study for complete comprehension of each subject. Additionally, GIST students have the added benefit of utilizing the Center for Geospatial Analytics. With ongoing research, news, seminars, and other activities,, students can always be in touch with current happenings in the geospatial information science and technology field. Access to this cutting edge center also means students get to supplement the theoretical aspects of their geospatial education, with practical applications as well.

Support when you need it

A common worry for distance education students is that there won’t be help when it’s needed or that the element of collaboration is lost through online learning. This isn’t the case at NC State. Program advisors, professors and mentors are always available to help students with all aspects of their education. Past students have found that professors and advisors within their programs are extremely responsive and compassionate towards students who need further guidance on course concepts or who have questions about the assignments and programs.

Autonomy and independence

A large component of distance education is trust. The facilitators of online education trust that students will have the motivation and perseverance to complete all assignments and course materials. With that said, students enjoy a great deal of autonomy and independence when it comes to their education, which can be quite refreshing for some when compared to other traditional programs. NC State GIST online students can expect to own their education. Success is up to you!

Ready to learn more about our programs to determine if they’re a good fit for you? Learn more about our dedication to experiential learning.