Apply to Geospatial Information Science and Technology Online Programs

Select your desired level of study for specific instructions on how to apply to Geospatial Information Science and Technology online programs:

Master of Geospatial Information Science and Technology

Complete and submit your application for the Master of Geospatial Information Science and Technology (MGIST) degree program online at the NC State University Graduate School Online Application website. When applying for the online program, please make sure to select the ‘Distance Track’ option when choosing the desired program.

PRIORITY DEADLINESOctober 15 (Spring Admission; July 1 for International Students) or April 15 (Fall Admission; March 1 for International Students)

Application Requirements

  1. An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
  2. Official transcripts for all institutions attended, submitted directly to the Graduate School by the institution (see below for more detail)
  3. A resume or curriculum vita (CV)
  4. A personal statement describing:
    • your career goals
    • academic interests
    • related experience and accomplishments
    • statement of relevant coursework and skills (please highlight specific courses and/or work experiences that address the preferred skills listed below)
    • statement addressing any possible deficiencies (especially if applying with < 3.0 GPA)
  5. Recommendations from 3 people who know your academic or professional qualifications (2 of which must be from within the last 5 years)
  6. GRE: NOT required
  7. English Proficiency Requirement (International Applicants only)
    • International applicants  (all non-US citizens) are required to have a certain level of English proficiency before being granted admissions. This requirement can be met in one of several ways below. All international applicants are encouraged to visit the International Services website concerning visas and other information for prospective international students.
      • TOEFL (iBT) scores of 80 or better (at least 18/section, taken within the last 2 years) -OR-
      • IELTS overall band score of at least 6.5 (taken within the last 2 years) -OR-
      • Be a citizen of a country where English is the official language AND language of instruction in higher education -OR-
      • Successfully completed at least one year of full time study in a degree program at a four-year US college or university


  • Unofficial Transcripts: You may upload unofficial transcripts directly during the application process for us to review; however, you should also request official transcripts be sent directly to NC State (see below). NOTE: Official transcripts that you receive and upload yourself are no longer considered official by the Graduate School.
  • Official Transcripts:  To be considered ‘official’ transcripts must be sent directly from the institutions to NC State University. Most institutions have electronic mechanisms in place to directly send an official transcript to NC State. You should request your official transcripts be sent in this way if possible, or have the institution send the transcript directly using the address below:

The Graduate School
North Carolina State University
College of Textiles
1020 Main Campus Drive
Room 2320B, Campus Box 7102
Raleigh, NC 27695

Preferred Skills:

Students tend to perform better in our MGIST program if they enter the program with basic knowledge in three areas:

  • Basic Geographic Information Systems
  • Introductory programming (in any language, but Python is taught in our program)
  • Introductory statistics

Generally an undergraduate course or 1 to 2 years of using these skills in the workplace are sufficient.  For applicants concerned about not having 1 or more of these skills in place at the time of admission, the program may recommend one or more courses to be completed during the first semester of enrollment (or students may consider taking courses as a non-degree student prior to admissions to gain these skills).  Please address these skills in your personal statement.


  • Students wishing to complete the degree online should designate themselves as a “Distance Track” student during the application process.
  • Students with less than a 3.0 GPA may still apply to the program and will be considered for provisional admission if the student demonstrates adequate work experience and meets all other admission requirements. The GPA and other experience should be addressed in the required personal statement. Students that are recommended for provisional admission will have their performance assessed in 9 credit hours of courses before full admission to the MGIST is granted. Students may also be recommended for admission to the Certificate program prior to consideration for the MGIST. The program may require additional materials to evaluate the student before granting provisional admission. Please contact the Associate Director of Professional Education for more information.
  • GIS Certificate students who want to enter the MGIST program must apply to the MGIST program as normal. Certificate students may transfer no more than 12-credit hours of B grade or better into the MGIST degree program upon approval of your advisor. Credits taken beyond 12 credit-hours will not transfer to the MGIST program. For students who want to transition directly into the MGIST, we recommend contacting the Graduate Program Associate or Associate Director of Professional Education after completing 9 credit hours of the Certificate to let them know your intention.

Application Review Process:

  • Applications must be submitted to the NC State University Graduate School using the Online Application website. (DO NOT send a copy of your application to the department.)
  • The Graduate School notifies the department when an application has been submitted.
  • The MGIST Graduate Admissions Committee review process begins on or near the priority deadline for that semester (April 15th or October 15th).
  • The department sends their recommendation (for or against admission) to the NC State Graduate School.
  • The NC State University Graduate School notifies you of your acceptance or denial into the MGIST program.
  • You will receive a welcome letter directly from the program once you accept the offer and are cleared by the Graduate School.
  • You can check the status of your pending application on the Online Application website.

Apply to the MGIST Program

Graduate Certificate

Please choose your current affiliation for specific application details:


Prospective Students (not currently enrolled at NC State)

  • Submit your application using the NC State University Graduate School Online Application web site.
  • You must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, and a GPA of 3.0 or greater.
    • Applicants with less than a 3.0 are still welcome to apply. Work experience, performance in individual, relevant courses, a strong graduate GPA, etc. can sometimes offset a low undergraduate GPA and we will consider all of this when making admissions decisions.
  • A transcript is required when applying to the Certificate program. (An unofficial transcript can be uploaded by the applicant within the application, but it must show a degree conferral date.)
    • Official Transcripts:
      To be considerd an official transcript, it must be sent directly from the institutions to NC State University. Most institutions have mechanisms in place to directly send an official transcript to NC State electronically. You should request your official transcripts be sent in this way if possible, or have the institution send the transcript directly using the address below:The Graduate School
      North Carolina State University
      College of Textiles
      1020 Main Campus Drive
      Room 2320B, Campus Box 7102
      Raleigh, NC 27695
  • Resume/CV highlighting any internship/work experience and acquired skillsets
  • A Personal Statement is a required component of the application, and should include:
    • Career and academic goals
    • Previous GIS experience, if any
    • Reason for pursuing the Certificate
    • Students with a GPA < 3.0 should address this in their personal statement and explain why they would still make a good candidate for the certificate.
  • The GRE is NOT required

Apply to the Graduate Certificate
Current NC State Graduate Students (Non-MGIST)

  • Notify your advisor/committee: Talk with your advisor and/or committee where appropriate to let them know you are considering the certificate program.
  • Notify the Certificate Program: Apply for the Graduate Certificate in GIS Program by e-mailing your full name and student ID number using our ‘Contact Us‘ form on this site prior to enrolling in your first course towards the certificate or during the semester when you enroll in your first course.

Apply to the Graduate Certificate
Current MGIST Students
We generally do not recommend that students currently enrolled in the MGIST retroactively receive the GIS Certificate while enrolled in the MGIST, as the MGIST is considered the terminal degree.
Undergraduate NC State Students
If you are a NC State undergraduate interested in taking courses towards the GIS Certificate, you must first talk with your advisor and email the Associate Director of Professional Education.

Per the Graduate School Policy, undergraduate students who wish to enroll in graduate level courses (500 and above) may only transfer 6 credit hours into the Certificate program for courses not taken as part of another degree requirement. Therefore, to receive the GIS Certificate, current undergraduates can only take 6 credit hours of 500 level GIS courses before graduation. Upon graduation, the student must apply to the Graduate Certificate in GIS program through the Graduate School using the steps above to complete the remaining courses. The same course restrictions apply.
Non-Degree Students (PBS)
Students enrolled in Post-baccalaureate Studies (PBS) through NC State can transfer a maximum of 6 credit hours (B or better grade) into the Certificate Program. PBS students wishing to do this must apply to the Certificate program following the procedures above for students not currently enrolled in a graduate program to complete the remaining credits and obtain the Certificate.

Apply to the Graduate Certificate

Application Review Process

  • The Certificate Admissions Committee reviews each application and makes a recommendation to the Graduate School.
  • Following that review, the NC State Graduate School will notify you of acceptance or denial to the program.
  • The program sends a personalized welcome letter once you have accepted the offer and are cleared by the graduate school.

Individual GIS Courses

Only students admitted to NC State can take classes at the University. Anyone interested in taking courses without enrolling in a degree program at NC State must first apply as a Non-Degree Studies (NDS) student. Admission to NDS does not imply admission to an NC State degree program. NDS students are classified as non-degree-seeking. Grades earned as an NDS student will go toward the student’s NC State University grade point average or may be transferred to another institution based on that institution’s transfer policy.

The Post-Baccalaureate Studies (PBS) classification is assigned to those NDS students who have earned a bachelor’s degree. Enrolling as a PBS student is an excellent way to explore different fields of study to fulfill your personal and career goals.

Some courses carry prerequisites or are limited to degree-seeking students, so review the course schedule to determine your eligibility. NDS students can transfer a maximum of 6 credit hours into the Graduate Certificate in GIS program or a maximum of 12 credit hours into the MGIST program, as long as the grade was a ‘B’ or better.

If new NDS applications are not currently being accepted, you must wait to apply until after the start-of-term lock-out ends. You will not be able to take a class until next term.

To register as a new Post-Baccalaureate Studies student:

    • Begin by checking your eligibility for Non-Degree Studies (NDS) status. To be eligible to apply for NDS, prospective students must:
      • Be eligible to return to any previous institution(s) attended.
      • Maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 at all times to remain eligible to continue.
      • Have accumulated less than 30 hours of total credit as a NDS student. NDS students are limited to a total of 30 hours of credit in NDS status. Students with 29 hours attempted will be allowed to register for the next term even if their enrollment in that future term will exceed the 30-hour limit, but they will not be activated for any subsequent terms once they have accumulated or exceeded 30 hours of credit. For more details, please see the NDS Enrollment rule.
    • If you meet the criteria for enrolling as an NDS student, and:
      • you have never attended NC State as a degree-seeking student, OR
      • you graduated with a degree from NC State and wish to enroll as a NDS student, OR
      • you previously attended NC State as an NDS student, but have not enrolled in courses for a year or longer,

Note: NDS applications are good for a full year. For example, if you apply for Summer I, you do not need to submit a separate application for Summer II, Fall, or Spring.

The Registration & Records website provides additional information and answers to questions about Non-Degree Studies at NC State University.

Apply to the NDS Program

On-Campus Programs

NC State, the College of Natural Resources, and the Center for Geospatial Analytics also offer several on-campus opportunities for students that want to pursue graduate level study in geospatial sciences.

On-Campus Master of Geospatial Information Science and Technology

The MGIST program is primarily an online degree program; however, we do admit a small number of on-campus students each semester. The expectations, rigor, and schedule is exactly the same, no matter if you are on the ‘Distance Track’ or on-campus.

To apply as an on-campus student, please follow the same application procedures as for the online program under the Master of Geospatial Information Science & Technology link on the main apply page, except choose the non-distance track option when selecting the degree program.

Other On-Campus Programs

NC State also offers:

  • A graduate minor in GIS,
  • A graduate minor in Remote Sensing
  • A Master of Natural Resources – GIS Technical Option, and
  • A new PhD in Geospatial Analytics

Procedures for these programs can be found on the Center for Geospatial Analytics website.

Upcoming Deadlines

  • Apply by Oct 15 for Spring
  • Apply by April 15 for Fall

Ready to get started?

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