Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems

The Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a 12-hour program administered by the Department of Environmental Studies. The purpose of the certificate is to give students the opportunity to gain valuable GIS knowledge and skills that can be applied to careers in both academia and practice. Upon completion of the certificate coursework, students will be able to:

  • Describe, distinguish, and apply the fundamental concepts, principles, and tools of geographic information systems (GIS) to understand social, environmental, and economic issues;
  • Demonstrate mastery of basic skills and techniques of using mainstream GIS software;
  • Identify, describe, diagnose, and offer possible solutions to social, environmental, or economic issues of interest using GIS technology;
  • Demonstrate skills to develop and present a concise but effective presentation with geospatial data;
  • Demonstrate abilities to work effectively with students from different background in accomplishing a team project.

Required Courses:

  • ENS 404 Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems (on-campus every fall; online every spring)
  • ENS 405 Fundamentals of Remote Sensing (fall semesters: on-campus in odd-numbered years; online in even-numbered years)
  • ENS 503 Advanced GIS Applications (spring semesters: on-campus in even-numbered years; online in odd-numbered years)


Applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution and meet campus requirements for admission to graduate study. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 is required for admission. Students not meeting this level may still apply, but will need to write a letter to the GIS Admissions Committee (email justifying their ability to complete graduate-level coursework (such as having significant work experience in the area). Candidates for the certificate must complete course requirements with a grade of B or better (a grade of B- is not acceptable). Applicants who took an introductory GIS course as an undergraduate, may petition to replace ENS 404 with either ENS 403 (Transportation: Problems and Planning Procedures) or ENS 501 (Land Use and Environmental Planning).

Current graduate students can count the twelve hours for the graduate certificate toward their MS in Environmental Science. Other majors should check with their advisor to see if these hours are applicable to their degree. Current students can add the certificate to their program by completing a Change of Curriculum form. Keep your current degree as your first major and add the GIS certificate as your second major. The form does not yet include the necessary code, so you will need to write it in by hand (on-campus code: 40PF5322NDEG; online code 40PF5322NDEU). If you are not a current student and only want to pursue the certificate by itself, complete an application to UIS as a graduate non degree seeking student and specify the certificate on the application.

Obtaining the certificate

To get the certificate you will complete the same graduation application as you would for a degree. There is a $25 graduation fee for the certificate, which is in addition to the fee for your master’s degree (if applicable).