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"Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, enables people to visualize and analyze spatial data, distributions, and patterns in a meaningful way. GIS extends beyond making maps, giving users the tools to measure and predict where things are, and where they are going. As access to more powerful computers grows, GIS functionality also expands. For maritime measurements, such as water depth or quality, GIS provides the power to store, display, and analyze data across multiple sites simultaneously. This is the foundation of our new course coming soon: WSI 215: Marine GIS and Data Processing. The current career track for GIS users is very diverse and touches on many different fields. In 2010, CNN Money ranked 'GIS Analyst' as 'one of the 100 Best Jobs in America.' "
Scott Swan, GISP
GIS Coordinator & Instructor
NMC Water Studies Institute
NMC is committed to assisting military applicants achieve their educational and career goals. If you are eligible for Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) educational benefits, NMC's Outreach Services staff will gladly advise you how to apply and receive these benefits.
The Freshwater Studies Program is a water-focused, interdisciplinary program with three emphasis area: Global Freshwater Policy and Sustainability, Economy and Society, and Science and Technology. Unique courses and field experiences prepare students for careers in both the private and public sectors.
Since some DVA-approved programs require documentation, we have created a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page for the Freshwater Studies Program. If this sounds like the program for you, please contact us to set up an advising appointment.
Programs and Partners
The Freshwater Studies program is designed to prepare students for emerging career paths and is the only associate level degree with emphasis in water studies in the United States. Students have a choice of four streams or emphasis areas:
The Freshwater Studies degree program combines unique courses and opportunities for field experiences available through Northwestern Michigan College, our University partners, and selected sites in Central and South America.
The Associate in Science and Arts (ASA) is an interdisciplinary degree designed for both students who plan to enter the professional arena as well as those who wish to continue their studies at a four-year school to complete a bachelor’s degree. Students should consult a Freshwater Studies advisor for scheduling guidelines and degree selection.
The Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree is generally pursued by those students who plan to enter the workforce following graduation from NMC. Students considering the AAS degree who may wish to transfer should see a Freshwater Studies advisor.
The new Engineering Technology degree (AAS) at Northwestern Michigan College offers Marine Technology as one of its four specialized areas. This degree offers students a broad based curriculum and prepares graduates for emerging job markets and highly technical fields.
Western Michigan University
NMC and WMU have received formal approval to offer a joint curriculum beginning in Fall 2014 that leads to both an associate's degree in freshwater studies from NMC and a bachelor's degree in freshwater science and sustainability from WMU. This program creates a single pipeline where students can complete all of their degree requirements in Traverse City.
Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the degrees, a number of career paths are suitable for graduates: freshwater quality analysts, watershed managers, corporate social responsibility coordinators, environmental advocates, aquatic biologists, limnologists, water treatment system operations, to name just a few.
- WMU Transfer Guide »
For more information on the Associate in Science and Arts in Freshwater Studies, contact NMC's Great Lakes Water Studies Institute at (231) 995-3333. For more information on the Bachelor of Science in Freshwater Science and Sustainability, contact Kim Stevens at WMU-Traverse City at (231) 995-1846.
Grand Valley State University
NMC and GVSU have collaborated to streamline Freshwater Studies students earning a Bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies with an Environmental Leadership emphasis at GVSU's University Center location. More information »
- All courses for both the NMC Associate of Science and Arts degree and the GVSU Bachelor's degree in Liberal Studies will be offered in Traverse City
- Students can attend part- or full-time
- Integrated curriculum, scheduling and advising is confirmed between NMC and GVSU
- Financial aid agreement allows for combined NMC/GVSU courses counting toward aid
The transfer process, either in or out, can be confusing. To help you navigate the process, visit the NMC Advising Center for transfer guides and information of which schools offer particular programs.
In addition to our existing university partnerships, our freshwater studies students have transferred into the following programs (listed by university).
Bachelor of General Business (BBA) – prepares students to enter either the business or government sectors as general managers. The substantial number of elective courses allows students to tailor this degree program to individual career objectives.
Ferris State University
Grand Valley State University
Natural Resource Management (BS) – prepares students to care for the land- and water-based ecosystems of Michigan and beyond, as well as to serve the people whose well-being depends on these resources.
Lake Superior State University
- Environmental Management (BS) »
- Environmental Science (BS) »
- Fish Health (BS) (new) »
- Fisheries and Wildlife Management (BS/BA) »
Michigan State University
Michigan Technological University
Marine Advanced Technology Education Center – The Great Lakes Water Studies Institute has partnered with the Marine Advanced Technology Education Center (MATE), a partnership of organizations working to improve marine technical education. Headquartered at Monterey Peninsula College in Monterey, California, MATE’s mission is to improve technological education through applied experiences and increase the number of skilled professionals who enter technology-related careers.
KONGSBERG – An international group that creates and delivers high-technological systems and solutions for people in the oil and gas industry, the merchant marine, and the defense and aerospace industries. Their donation of digital sonar equipment, along with tech support for installation and operation, is invaluable to our freshwater studies students.
AML Oceanographic (formerly Applied Microsystems) – A manufacturer of Sound Velocity, CTD and Environmental sensors, probes and instruments, with customers in more than 100 countries that include organizations in the fields of hydrography, science and research, and environmental monitoring.
C and C Technologies – An international surveying and mapping company that specializes in deepwater services.
HyPack – A leading hydrographic surveying package. Surveyors can design surveys and collect and process data utilizing up to nine devices simultaneously. HyPack’s donation of processing and navigation software to the Great Lakes Water Studies Institute provides support of our marine technology studies.
Quality Positioning Services BV (QPS) – Headquartered in Zeist, Netherlands, Quality Positioning Services BV, is an independent software design company focused on system integration of survey sensors and the development of software applications used for hydrographic surveys, sea-floor mapping, portable pilot units and Electronic Navigation Charts.
The Hydrographic Society of America (THSOA) – The mission of THSOA is to promote education in hydrography. Membership is open to any individual or organization with an interest in surveying in hydrospace. THSOA has provided scholarship opportunities to freshwater students as well as providing support for students to attend conferences.