NAU GPR Graduate Programs

General FAQ for 
All NAU GPR Graduate Program Applications
(Certificates, MS, and BS-MS Accelerated Program)

1) When do I apply to the Certificate or MS degree programs? What about Graduate Assistantships and Tuition Scholarships?

2) The application requires transcripts, but my degree was granted back in 1976. I'm not sure I'm going to be able to get transcripts. Is this a requirement that can be waived if necessary?

3) Am I allowed to take any grad classes outside of the GPR Department as electives for either the Certificate or MS degree program?

4) What is the minimum acceptable undergraduate GPA to enroll in the online GIS Certification program?  The online GIS Master's program?

5) Who should my letters of recommendation come from: professors, employers or someone else?

6) Will any travel or field trips be required for the online programs?

7) Overall, and minus books, how much will the Certification program cost?  What about for the Master's degree?

8) Is there a price difference in enrolling for the Certificate vs the Masters Program. I understand that the Masters Program consists of more units, but, I was wondering if there are additional fees that the certificate program does not require.

9) Can you provide an approximate range of book costs per semester?

10) Could I take a couple of classes over the summer and then be admitted?

11) How do the online courses work? Are they self-paced? Are exams online or are they proctored at some location?


12) Are the start times for the online version of the classes the same as for the on campus version? Do they start at the beginning of semesters? Are there fewer courses offered online than on campus?

13) Are their course videos for the online classes, or are they primarily reading, powerpoint follow-alongs?

14) If I want to take more than courses for a certificate or degree program than is required, does it cost more? What about taking some undergraduate courses?

15) If I apply for the Masters Program am I able to obtain the Community Planning or GIS Certificate after I complete the required courses?

16) If I am uncertain about pursuing a MS degree, can I begin the Certificate Program and then switch to a MS later? Would I still need to take the GRE is I did this?

17) I have not taken any geography classes, will I have to do make up work for that?

18) What are the differences between the MS versus the Certificate for educational purposes and employment purposes. For example, if a employer asks for a masters for a qualification would the certificate be comparable? What designation do you receive after completing the certificate vs completing the traditional MS? Do you get a MIS or MAS?


19) For the online GIS classes, my computer has 2gb of RAM and a 2MHz processor, will this be enough to run the program (ESRI suggests a 2.2 MHz processor and at least 2Gb of ram), or should I look into getting a faster computer?

20) How proficient will we become in the utilization of GIS software?

21) Once I am accepted how soon can I start courses? How many courses can I take at the same time?

22) Can courses that a student took for their undergraduate degree be applied toward a graduate MS or Graduate Certificate? Especially if they are essentially the same courses taught at NAU, though at the undergraduate level.

23) After earning a Certified or Master's degree, will career placement assistance be available?

24) Do I simply apply for Student loans through the Financial Aid Office just as I have in past semesters?

25) Can I get reduced tuition rates in your MS and graduate Certificate programs if I live in a WICHE state?

26) I am unsure about taking a degree or certificate entirely online. Is this a smart thing for me to do?

27) How do I graduate when I am done?


28) From what I have been told, graduate applications are reviewed "all the time," but I am concerned that this may not be able to happen in a timely manner due to my submission date. If accepted into the program will I be able to get started next fall, or am I submitting the application too late?

29) What is the common misconceptions of these programs?

30) Where do I find and send the department application forms and letters?

The application form is mostly done online through the NAU Graduate College.


·         Students from U.S. universities are required to submit an unofficial digital copy of their undergraduate transcripts with their application. They are only required to submit official transcripts after they have been admitted by the GPR Department. Students will not be able to enroll in classes until their official transcripts are received by NAU.

·         Applicants with a Bachelor degree from NAU do not need to submit transcripts.

·         Students from non-U.S. (international) universities must submit official transcripts before their application will be reviewed by the GPR Department.

·         Official transcripts must be sent to the NAU Graduate College.

Please see our additional FAQs specifically for:

Other Notes