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Home > Campuses & Centers > Loudoun > Academic Divisions > Communication and Human Studies Division > Geography and Geospatial Technology > FAQ

Loudon campus GCPI


Q: Is the GIS program at NOVA intended for individuals who have already worked in fields such as urban planning or is the program for students who are just beginning their education and are interested in a GIS-related career?
A: Students starting the GIS program at NOVA are not expected to have any previous GIS work. The GIS Career Studies Certificate at NOVA is not tailored to any specific field or application of GIS. However, we plan to offer specialty GIS courses such as GIS for Environmental Science, GIS Data, Using the Census for GIS, and GIS for Business based on student demand/enrollment.

Q: What degrees are pursued by students who transfer to four-year institutions after studying GIS at NOVA?
A: NOVA GIS students have gone on to undergraduate and graduate studies in fields as diverse as Geography, GIS, Applied Statistics, Computer Science, Engineering, Nursing, Environmental Science and Business. In short, GIS is a tool used across most any discipline of study. NOVA students have the ability to apply what they learned in GIS to any discipline dealing with spatial data.

Q: Where have NOVA GIS students gone on to study?
A: NOVA GIS students have gone on to attend most of the four-year institutions in the Commonwealth, including George Mason, Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia and William & Mary. Other NOVA GIS students attend four-year schools across the U.S., including Brown University and the University of Massachusetts.

Q: In what career fields are NOVA GIS students?
A: Former and current NOVA GIS students work in career fields ranging from GIS analyst, to database manager, cartographer, cultural geographer, demographer, network analyst and more.

Q: Who do NOVA GIS students work for?
A: Former and current NOVA GIS students work for federal, county and local government, commercial industry and non-profit organizations. A partial list of employers includes: the U.S. Department of Transportation; the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency; Loudon, Fairfax, Prince William and Arlington Counties; Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Dewberry, HydroGeoLogic, Boeing and BAE Systems; the Nature Conservancy and the Sierra Club. The GIS employment market remains strong in this region; however some GIS work is reserved for those holding U.S. citizenship.

Q: Does the Career Studies Certificate alone qualify one for any GIS-related positions or will those have to wait until one obtains a four-year degree?
A: The answer to this question depends on many factors including degrees already held and previous work experience. However, students with as little as two semesters study of GIS at NOVA are regularly placed in internships. In many cases, the internships have led to full-time jobs.

Q: Is it hard to get an internship or any other opportunity to obtain some real-world experience with GIS while still studying (i.e., before obtaining the certificate)?
A: We are fortunate at NOVA to have an active internship program supported by a variety of employers in the region. We are able to tailor the content, scope and duration of the internship to best accommodate the needs of the student, the employer and NOVA.

Q: I already hold a degree from another institution, can I apply this work towards completion of the GIS Career Studies Certificate at NOVA?
A: The GIS Career Studies Certificate at NOVA is 28 credit hours. Many students with previous college work find they have course work that may be applied toward partial fulfillment of the certificate. Some students only need to complete the core GIS courses. NOTE: You must be enrolled in a GIS course at NOVA and request program placement in the GIS Career Studies Certificate before a formal evaluation of your official transcripts can be made.