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GISci Graduate Certificate

Program not currently accepting new applications.


Expand your geospatial technology skills with small class sizes and independent projects by collaborating with community partners, and interacting with the exceptional faculty at the University of Northern Colorado!

Our program provides a cost effective way, delivered in a mixed format, to develop and improve your technical skills and proficiency in geospatial technology.

diggs gis class

This is a 15 credit certificate that will provide advanced training in Geographic Information Science and immediately prepare students for the workplace. The GISci Graduate Certificate aims to attract individuals with previous education and/or experience in GIS who are driven to improve their skills. We will deliver course work with advanced technical skills necessary to succeed in the geospatial technology field. All courses will focus on applying the skills to independent projects and implementing best practices in geospatial technology.

The Geospatial Technology field is considered a high growth industry by the United States Department of Labor. The Department of Labor’s High Growth Profile report states the market for geospatial technology is “growing at an annual rate of almost 35 percent, with the commercial subsection expanding at the rate of 100 percent each year.” This has produced a dramatically growing demand for GISci specialists. The ever expanding sophistication required for GISci positions has encouraged both graduating undergraduates and working professionals to seek out advanced geospatial training.

The faculty in the GISci Graduate Certificate program surveyed industry leaders and identified the need for high-level training in very specific sub-areas of GISci.

The GISci program assures that students have experience and advanced knowledge in four core subsectors of the GISci industry:

  • Advanced geospatial analysis techniques;
  • Basic and advanced geospatial programming skills;
  • The ability to develop and manage Web GIS projects; and
  • The development and management of large geospatial databases in a secure environment. 

Our curriculum was designed to provide practical courses with relevant skills. Students will take four required courses and one elective.

Required Courses (12 credits)

GEOG 507 - Geographic Information Science (3)

Today there is a strong demand for GIS in agriculture, marketing, civil engineering, geology, biology, planning, criminal justice and numerous other fields.  The supply of competent GIS trained geographers cannot meet the current demand. GIS is more than making “pretty maps”, in practice this usually means the application of sophisticated software to solve geographic problems.  This course will enhance you existing skills in conducting spatial analysis.

GEOG 580 - Enterprise Database Development and Management for GIS (3)

This course covers the principles, structure, development, and application of enterprise geodatabases. It provides hands-on training in the design, development, and operation of geodatabases. This course focuses on the design and management of spatial databases. Relational database management systems (RDMS) underlie most modern databases. Increasingly there is a need to store, analyze, and display geographic data in these databases. The course will initially cover database theory and use, including SQL (Structured Query Language), which underlies most RDBMSes. The course will cover spatial data types, spatial indexing, and spatial querying. The course will use PostGIS, a spatial extension to the open source PostgreSQL RDBMS, SQL and the SQL Spatial extension.

GEOG 584 - Web GIS Development and Management (3)

Web GIS development using ArcGIS Online, JavaScript, and html. Management of IIS websites for the delivery of REST and related GIS web services. GEOG 412 or previous experience with Web GIS recommended.

GEOG 587 - GIS Programing & Automation (3)

This course will develop advanced skills for geospatial programing. Topics include applying programing to automate processing tasks, interact with map elements, manipulate batches of GIS data, and create basic user interfaces. GEOG 327 or previous experience with programming recommended.

Electives (3 credits)

GEOG 515 - Geospatial Statistics (3)

This course develops an understanding of techniques of data and statistical analysis, combined with the ability to apply these techniques to geographic problems. The applied aspect of the course will enable students to use spatial information in solving geographical problems, and will provide practical experience in the use of computer-based statistical and GIS software packages. Examples will be drawn from temporal and spatial relationships from both physical and human geography.  

GEOG 520 - Topics in Systematic Geography (3)

Consent of instructor. Examine a selected area of systematic geography; consider appropriate pedagogical approaches in teaching about that geographic topic. Repeatable, under different subtitles.

GEOG 545 - Landscape Ecology (3)

Graduates only. Students will learn the conceptual foundations and technical skills to apply remote sensing in environmental and cultural applications. Topics will include land use/land cover classification, change detection, and vegetation modeling.

GEOG 549 - Remote Sensing of the Environment (3)

Graduates only. Students will learn the conceptual foundations and technical skills to apply remote sensing in environmental and cultural applications. Topics will include land use/land cover classification, change detection, and vegetation modeling.

GEOG 585 - Advanced Geographic Techniques: Topics (1-3)

Graduates only. Advanced study of geographic techniques. Topics will relate to applications in GIS, remote sensing, quantitative analysis, land use analysis, or the mapping sciences. Repeatable, under different subtitles.

GEOG 622 - Independent Study (1-3)

Individualized investigation under the direct supervision of a faculty member. Do you have a topic in mind that you’d like to explore using Geospatial Technology? Speak with one of our faculty members about a direct study. (Minimum of 37.5 clock hours required per credit hour.) Repeatable, maximum concurrent enrollment is two times.

GEOG 692 - Geographic Internship (1-3)

Consent of instructor required. Graduates only. Internship in a public agency or private firm to provide professional experience under the supervision of an area specialist. S/U graded. Repeatable, maximum of 3 credits.

Other electives with permission.


Fall 2018

  • GEOG 507
  • GEOG 515 (online)
  • GEOG 520
  • GEOG 540

Spring 2019

  • GEOG 513 (online)
  • GEOG 520 (online)
  • GEOG 549
  • GEOG 580 (online)
  • GEOG 584
  • GEOG 587 (online)


Program not currently accepting new applications.