In the fall of 2020, the geomatics program at North Carolina A&T State University welcomed a record number of students — 31 total. But there was something different about this batch of new enrollees.  

“We are getting female students — finally,” says Peggy Fersner, the geomatics coordinator at North Carolina A&T State University. 

In fact, 8 of this year’s new students were female, and it’s both exciting and important for the university to welcome a new generation of females to further diversify the geospatial profession.

Record numbers aside, this bachelor of science in geomatics program is unique as it’s the only ABET-accredited program of its kind in the state of North Carolina. 

It’s more of a traditional geomatics program, Fersner notes. 

“First and foremost, we take a lot of pride in our boundary and our legal areas,” she says. “We do have a traditional course in what we call survey 1 and survey 2, which basically looks at what we would almost call traditional use of traditional equipment.”

Students will also learn about photogrammetry and remote sensing, and because they are in North Carolina, they take a closer look at the hydrology and hydraulics area of what the surveyors can practice — which they will be tested on for licensure.

“The last area when you’re talking about geomatics that nobody really thinks about are the adjustments, and we always like to say that no measurement is exact,” she says. “You will always have an error, so what do you do with those errors?”

The program offers two courses that take a deeper dive into adjustments. While geospatial professionals can rely on technology for adjustments, the program aims to teach students to think about what to do with these errors.

“We are teaching our students to think and make these decisions,” Fersner says – and it’s something the faculty is proud of. 

Roughly 90% of the students enrolled in the geomatics program are already working in the profession. That’s why 95% of the program is offered online, and because students are working full-time and oftentimes have family lives, Fersner says the faculty makes it a point to be flexible when it comes to exams and assignments. 

“We do get a lot of comments from the students that they do appreciate our flexibility,” she says. 

Because the program is mostly online, students from all over the country — and even outside of the United States — can participate.

When it comes to hands-on experiences, distance learners can work with a local survey company or employer to carry out labs. The faculty ships the employer the labs and tells them what the students need to complete.

“We have the option that they can come to the campus twice during a semester on a Saturday,” she adds. “It has done wonders in the sense of building comradery.”

Four to five labs are done each time, and those without much hands-on experience can benefit from others who have field experience. Two senior capstone courses offer students the opportunity to do boundary research and subdivision design. 

Those interested in seeking licensure in the state of North Carolina have three different pathways: a high school degree with 16 years of experience; a 2-year community college degree AAS in Geomatics or Civil Technology and 8 years of experience; or a 4-year Bachelor of Science in Geomatics and 2 years of experience. 

Those planning to pursue a bachelor of science in geomatics from North Carolina A&T State University can browse the core course list below:

 

North Carolina A&T State University
Photo courtesy of North Carolina A&T State University.

Freshman year:

Semester 1:

  • ENGL 100 Ideas and Their Expressions I (WC)
  • MATH 131 Calculus I (MLAR)
  • CM 100 Intro to Technology
  • GEOM 107 Introduction to UAVs
  • FRST 101 College Success (SS)
  • Social / Behavioral Science Elective * (SBS)

 

Semester 2:

  • ENGL 101 Ideas and Their Expressions (WC)
  • PHYS 225 College Physics I (SR)
  • PHYS 235 College Physics I Lab (SR)
  • MATH 132 Calculus II (MLAR) 
  • African American Culture * (AA)

 

Sophomore year:

Semester 1:

  • Humanities / Fine Arts Elective* (HFA) 
  • PHYS 226 College Physics II (SR)
  • PHYS 236 College Physics II Lab (SR)
  • CM 214 Surveying 2
  • CM 224 Surveying Lab 1 
  • GEOM 310 Geographic Information Systems 

 

Semester 2:

  • GEOM 271 Land Survey Systems
  • GEOM 205 Surveying II
  • ECT 101 Microcomputer Applications
  • Global Awareness * (GL)
  • Technical Elective** 

 

Junior year:

Semester 1:

  • GEOM 340 Adjustment Computations I
  • GEOM 366 Hydraulics and Piping Systems
  • GEOM 307 Automated Surveying & Mapping
  • GEOM 317 Automated Surveying and Mapping Lab
  • MATH 450 Linear Algebra and Matrix Theory
  • Science Elective **

 

Semester 2:

  • GEOM 341 Adjustment Computations II
  • GEOM 360 Geodesy 
  • GEOM 367 Hydrology
  • GEOM 350 Subdivision Design
  • GEOM 320 Introduction to Photogrammetry
  • Free Elective


Senior year:

Semester 1:

  • GEOM 496 Senior Project I (Capstone)
  • GEOM 470 Boundary and Legal Principles
  • GEOM 460 Satellite Positioning Systems
  • GEOM 471 Professionalism and Ethics in Geomatics
  • GEOM 420 Analytical Photogrammetry
  • Technical Elective**

 

Semester 2:

  • GEOM 499 Senior Project II (Capstone)
  • GEOM 400 Fund of Land Surveying Review
  • Technical Elective**
  • GEOM 465 Advanced UAV Processes
  • Free Elective

 

For more information on the bachelor of science in geomatics, visit the North Carolina A&T State University website