Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Graduate Certificate Programs

Updated: Dec 25, 2023

A Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Graduate Certificate is a technical qualification for a range of environmental and related professionals. These certifications impart niche skills and knowledge for jobs that might otherwise be closed.

This certificate is often relevant for ecology, conservation, archeology, and paleontology professionals, as well as those in urban planning, resource management, logistics, and mineral resource industries.

What Are the Online Geographic Information Systems Graduate Certificate Requirements?

GIS is available in many US universities as a graduate certificate, acting as a bolt-on for those with relevant qualifications elsewhere:

  • A bachelor's and a master's degree in a relevant subject (environmental degrees, as well as planning, public administration, etc.)
  • A minimum GPA of 2.5 on the 4.0 scale – however, some may ask for a minimum 3.0
  • Application form, along with the fee
  • Academic transcript copies as evidence of relevant subjects and grades
  • A short personal statement on what interests you about GIS and why you want to study there
  • You may be asked to complete a short exam question about a current matter for GIS
  • If you do not speak English as a primary language, certification in an official language course will be expected. Options include TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE. DuoLingo is acceptable also
  • Letters of recommendation: Two or three are typical. Employer references will usually be accepted if a substantial amount of time has passed

What Type of Classes Are Included in the Online Geographic Information Systems Certificate Curriculum?

GIS Graduate Certificate students will usually cover the following study areas, some are core courses, and some are electives:

  • Geospatial Statistics
  • GIS Applications
  • Remote Sensing
  • Digital Image Processing
  • Programming for Geospatial Applications
  • GIS for Emergency Management
  • Geovisualization and Cartography
  • Open-Source Solutions for Geospatial Project Management
  • Concepts for Spatial Thinking
  • Spatial Data Acquisition
  • Spatial Databases
  • Geospatial Technology Project Management
  • Web and Mobile GIS

What Type of Career Can I Pursue with an Online Geographic Information Systems Graduate Certificate?

Graduate Certificates in GIS provide skills that could enable you to work in the following roles:

  • GIS Technician: The main (and usually first) step on the career path is a GIS operative – somebody who uses the technology. You can work in conversation, minerals extraction, urban planning, and other industries.
  • Cartographic Technician: The presentation of digestible maps is useful in a range of industries – military, construction, regional planning, health, and census and demographics.
  • Land Survey Technician: Working mostly in construction, you will use a range of skills – both technical and analytical – to determine the suitability of a site for whatever purpose your employer needs it.
  • GIS Analyst: You may work with and manipulate GIS data, but your main task will be to interpret and report on a GIS data set, sometimes for stakeholders or the general public.
  • Geodesist: Your job is to measure the Earth, its features, and distances, for (typically) academic purposes. You will also use GIS systems and satellite data.
  • Geoint Analyst: Working specifically in the military, you will analyze satellite data, aerial photography and interpret maps for key features of interest. This is for both operational planning and monitoring purposes.
  • Remote Sensing Analyst: While you may use some GIS, your main job will be to use remote sensing equipment to build a data set for GIS professionals.
  • GIS Administrator: Rather than handling and analyzing data, you will be responsible for managing and administering the database that GIS technicians will use. More of a systems admin role.
  • GIS Project Manager: Oversee individual GIS projects, procuring equipment, overseeing a budget, hiring, and resource allocation for specific short-term tasks. You may also be expected to make presentations.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Graduate Certificate Programs List

Interested in a geographic information systems (gis) graduate certificate program? Check out our listings below to find a traditional, online, or hybrid program near you.


University of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles, CAHybrid - Geographic Information Systems


Iowa State UniversityAmes, IAHybrid - Geographic Information Systems


DePaul UniversityChicago, ILHybrid - Geographic Information Systems


Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical CollegeBaton Rouge, LAHybrid - Geographic Information Systems
University of New OrleansNew Orleans, LAHybrid - Geographic Information Systems


University of Missouri-Kansas CityKansas City, MOHybrid - Geographic Information Systems


University of MississippiUniversity, MSHybrid - Geographic Information Systems

New York

SUNY at AlbanyAlbany, NYHybrid - Geographic Information Systems
University at BuffaloBuffalo, NYHybrid - Geographic Information Systems


University of Akron Main CampusAkron, OHHybrid - Geographic Information Systems


Texas Tech UniversityLubbock, TXHybrid - Geographic Information Systems


University of UtahSalt Lake City, UTHybrid - Geographic Information Systems


Central Washington UniversityEllensburg, WAHybrid - Geographic Information Systems

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