Checklist for Students Admitted to the MS SDS Program
Make sure that you have access to a computer, Internet connection, and peripherals that meet or exceed the minimum system requirements (Technical Requirements).
Transferring nondegree credits into the degree program
If you earned nondegree credits (maybe as part of one of our certificate programs) prior to getting accepted to the MS SDS Program, you will likely receive an email that says you need to fill out a form to transfer your non-degree credits to the MS SDS Program. You do not need to fill out that form. Our office will take care of that for you.
Entry interview: The Assistant Program Manager for Online Geospatial Education, Beth King, will meet with you by telephone to discuss your background and goals, to identify the course in which you should enroll first, and to discuss the scholarly paper or thesis requirements and expectations.
Read through the student handbook and get familiar with the program policies and program requirements.
Take a look at all the items in the Resources section of the Program Office. There you will find links to the Capstone Project Library, a Capstone Project presentations list, the Student Database, and other helpful information.
Professional ethics training
Penn State's Graduate School requires that every graduate student complete formal training in professional ethics during their first year of study. MS SDS students may fulfill this requirement in one of two ways:
- Register for and successfully complete the 3-credit class GEOG 864: Professionalism in Geographic Information Science and Technology (https://gis.e-education.psu.edu/geog864). GEOG 864 is offered once each year during the Summer 10-week term; or
- Successfully complete the non-credit Responsible Scholarship and Professional Practice workshop. "RSPP" workshops are offered three times each year, in May, August, and November. (see RSPP Workshop) The two-week online workshop requires at least five hours of individual reading and group case study analysis and discussion. Students will not be charged any extra tuition or fees to participate in RSPP. However, students will have only one chance to complete the free workshop; those who fail to successfully complete assigned workshop activities will be required to register for and complete the three-credit GEOG 864 course.
The Advising Team will help you decide which option is best for you.
Select a course. Courses are ten weeks in length and are offered five terms a year (starting in January, February, May, August, and October) through Penn State’s World Campus. Each course requires a minimum of 10-12 hours of student activity per week. The GIS Course Calendar (https://gis.e-education.psu.edu/programs/class_calendar) lists course dates and a schedule of course offerings.
Register Online Using LionPATH:
- Go to LionPATH. You will then be in the Student Center.
- You will need to complete the Pre-Registration Activity Guide.
- Click on the Search for Classes tab in the top right corner.
- Select WC-World Campus.
- In the Subject text box, type or choose GEOG from mthe drop down. If known, you can enter a specific course number. Hit the Search button.
- In the Course drop-down list, choose the course you want. Click the select button by the desired course.
- If a green circle is displayed by the course information, this indicates that the course is open for enrollment and you can hit next to add the course to your shopping cart. A yellow triangle indicates that the course is full, but you can reserve a seat on the wait list. A blue square indicates the course is closed for enrollment.
- Click on your shopping cart. Click Select button beside the course, and then hit the green enroll button. This course has now been added to your schedule.
- The semester bill will be generated and sent to you at a later time. Semester bills are created on the first of the month and due on the 22nd of that month. You will receive notification in your PSU email.
These procedures are detailed in the Frequently Asked Questions page.