Advising: Geography & Geoinformation Science
Advisors for GGS
Our advisors are here to help you navigate the many options within our degrees at George Mason. Whether you're looking for assistance with course selection, degree planning, or changing or adding a degree, our undergraduate and graduate advisors are here to help.
Have a Question?
Wondering when and where to meet with an advisor, how to declare a minor, or what you need to apply to graduate? See our Frequently Asked Questions section below!
General Advising FAQs
When should I see an advisor?
- Anytime! But also before registration opens and whenever you have questions about your program.
How do I declare a major/minor?
- Meet with our Undergraduate Coordinator to talk about your options and make sure your planned program of study aligns with what you want to do. You'll also need to bring with you either a Change/Declaration of Academic Program form or a Minor Declaration form.
Do I need to be a GGS student to take GGS courses?
- No! We welcome all GMU students in our courses. Some courses may require pre-requisites, so be sure to check the catalog listing for each course prior to registration. If you have any questions about our courses, reach out to either our Undergraduate or Graduate Coordinator for more information.
Ready to graduate?
- Be sure to meet with your advisor in the semester leading up to your graduation semester to ensure you have met all your degree requirements. You will need to apply to graduate. You can do this on PatriotWeb under your Student Services tab. The online application is generally activated part way through the semester prior to the available graduation term and is inactivated 2 months before graduation. Once the online application is inactivated, you will need to fill out the Late Graduation Application form and send it to the main department. For a listing of the Graduation Timelines, visit the Registrar's website, here.
BAM - General
What does BAM stand for and what is it in a nutshell?
- A BAM program is a Bachelor's-to-Accelerated Master's. It's a hybrid undergraduate-graduate program in which you concurrently take undergraduate and graduate coursework and are able to complete a master's degree in a shorter amount of time than you could if you waited ti complete your undergraduate degree before beginning your master's degree.
What different BAM programs does GGS offer?
- We offer pathways to our MS in Geographic and Cartographic Sciences (GECA) and MS in Geoinformatics and Geospatial Intelligence (GEOI). If you are pursuing a BS in Geography you are eligible to apply for either of the master's programs. If you are pursing a BA in Geography, you are eligible to apply for the MS in GECA only.
Who is eligible to enroll in a GGS BAM program?
- GGS majors (BS or BA) who have completed at least 90 undergraduate credits towards their undergraduate degree are eligible. At least 24 of those credits must have been completed at GMU. You must have open degree requirements, meaning requirements within your GGS major the tare not yet completed, which graduate level courses can fulfill.
Can I enroll in the BAM if I am not a GGS major?
- Not at this time. Our BAM programs are designed as pathway programs for students obtaining a GGS undergraduate degree. This restriction may be lifted in the future. Check with the BAM advisor to learn more.
What are the benefits of enrolling in a BAM program instead of a stand-alone master's program?
- The graduate application fee is waived.
- No GRE scores are required.
- You can double count up to 6 credits of coursework taken at the graduate level while completed your undergraduate degree to both your undergraduate degree AND your master's degree requirements.
- You have the option of reserving an additional 6 credits of coursework taken at the graduate level while completing your undergraduate degree to count exclusively towards your master's degree, called "reserve graduate credit".
- It is possible to complete a bachelor's and a master's degree within 5 years.
Can I break between my undergraduate degree and master's if I am enrolled in a BAM program?
- No, as a BAM student, you must continue taking graduate level courses the semester directly following the completion of your undergraduate degree. If you graduate in May, you are not required to take graduate courses during the summer semesters, but you are required to take graduate courses during the fall semester directly after you graduate.
BAM - Application Process
When should I apply?
- You should meet with the BAM advisor and your undergraduate advisor during the fall of your junior year, or the semester before you will have obtained at least 90 credits of undergraduate coursework to discuss the program and consider applying.
What's the latest I can apply?
- There is rolling admission, but you need at least one full (spring or fall) semester in which you are enrolled in the BAM program as an undergraduate senior plus student taking graduate coursework before transitioning exclusively to a master's student. This means that if you want to graduate in May and begin full-time master's work in the fall, the latest you can apply for and enroll in the BAM program is the fall semester prior to the spring semester in which you will complete your undergraduate program requirements.
What is the application and decision timeline?
- Applications are reviewed by the university, the College of Science, and the GGS department, so it can take some time for all the paperwork to be processed. The goal is one month turn-around the from time of submission to time of decision.
What are the overall steps to apply?
- Meet with your undergraduate advisor and the BAM Advisor to discuss the program.
- Indicate your interest by filling out a BAM Declaration of Interest Form.
- Complete the online application.
- Submit the application and await decision.
What other resources should I review to help figure out if this program is right for me?
- Review the How to Apply Guide which pertains to all BAM programs at GMU.
BAM - Undergraduate v. Graduate
Do I have to take 6 credits of graduate coursework while still an undergraduate if enrolled in the BAM?
- No. You can take as few as 3 credits of graduate coursework while still an undergraduate if enrolled in the BAM.
What is "reserve graduate credit"?
- Credit your receive from taking graduate courses that don't count towards your undergraduate degree. You are permitted to take up to 6 credits worth of reserve graduate credit on top of the 6 credits of graduate coursework you can take that will double count towards your undergraduate and your master's degree. You must fill out the Reserve Graduate Credit form during the semester you are taking reserve graduate credit.
Do I have to take any "reserve graduate credits" while enrolled in the BAM?
- No. If you start the program more than 1-2 semesters before graduating your undergraduate degree, you may find the use and possibility of taking 3-6 credits of reserve graduate credits, but you do not have to take any "reserve graduate credits".
How do I count graduate credit I obtain while taking a hybrid undergraduate/graduate course as an undergraduate as "reserve graduate credit"?
- You must have the professor enroll you in the graduate section of the course at the time of registration and fill out the Reserve Graduate Credit form during the semester you are taking reserve graduate credit. Beware: this process cannot necessarily be done retroactively, so it is essential that you are enrolled properly and fill out the paperwork at the time of enrollment.
Will I be an undergraduate student or a master's student?
- While completing both undergraduate and graduate coursework, you will be a hybrid undergraduate/graduate student and will be classified as a "senior plus". Upon completing your undergraduate degree requirements, you will be a graduate student.
What will my undergraduate status be while enrolled in a BAM program?
- Upon acceptance and enrollment into the GGS BAM program, your undergraduate status according to the university as indicated on PatriotWeb will be "senior plus".
When will I participate in my undergraduate graduation?
- At the end of the semester in which you complete all the requirements for your undergraduate degree.
When will I receive my undergraduate degree?
- You will receive your undergraduate degree upon completion of all your undergraduate degree requirements. You need to work with your advisor(s) to ensure you are meeting all requirements to graduate from your undergraduate degree.
How do I transition from undergraduate work to graduate work?
BAM - Tuition + Housing
Can I continue to live in the undergraduate dorms while enrolled in a BAM program?
- It depends. You will need to contract your current housing unit to inquire and make arrangements.
Do I get in-state tuition if I enroll in the BAM program?
- You may need to re-apply for in-state tuition.
Am I required to have an internship for my GGS degree?
- No, an internship is not a degree requirement for any of our undergraduate or graduate programs. However, an internship can provide valuable experience and an opportunity for professional development that you may not get in the classroom.
Can I get credit for my internship?
- Yes! You can receive up to 3 credits for an undergraduate internship and up to 6 credits for a graduate internship.
What are the course numbers for the undergraduate and graduate internships?
- GGS 480 - Undergraduate Internship
- GGS 695 - Graduate Internship
How do I register for an internship and receive the course credit?
- Meet with the Undergraduate or Graduate Coordinator to discuss applying an internship to your degree. To register for the credits, you must use the Individualized Section form and include a one page overview and description of the internship you will complete.
What do I need to include on my one page overview for my internship?
- Name of the company or organization with which you will be interning.
- Name and contact information of the Internship Coordinator or your direct supervisor at the company.
- A brief description of your internship duties.
- The timeframe of the internship, to include dates and an estimate of hours to be completed.
How do I find an internship?
- Check your GMU email. The Department sends out periodic emails highlighting internship and job opportunities.
- Meet with your advisor and ask if they have any leads or suggestions.
- Check out GMU's Handshake website. There are thousands of internship and job postings geared specifically for GMU students.
- Join local networking groups such as USGIF's Young Professional Group (YPG) and Esri's Young Professional Network (YPN).