Geographic Information Science (GIS) is the study and practice of methods used to collect, store, manage, visualize, analyze, and present geographic data. Examples of the use of GIS include routing school buses or delivery trucks; locating a landfill, an airport, or a restaurant; predicting locations of greatest risk during a hurricane storm surge; and mapping the spread of the COVID-19 virus and analyzing how it spreads, where it is more prevalent, and what types of communities are most at risk.
GIS is considered a high growth field by the Department of Labor and is in much demand in the region. Its study results in valuable skills that can be combined with almost any major – employers look for students with a broad liberal arts background combined with the in-depth technical skills provided by this certificate.
Areas of Study
The GIS Certificate can be taken with any major, but is most commonly combined with Geography, Geology, Environmental Science, Biology, Historic Preservation, Political Science, International Affairs, and Marketing. It is housed within the Department of Geography, where faculty specialize in spatial analysis, Python programming, remote sensing, spatial statistics, and geovisualization.
The certificate requires 19 credit hours of GIS course work, taken in four 4-credit courses and one 3-credit capstone. It may be taken by undergraduates just like a minor, or by professional non-degree-seeking students. Introduction to GIS and Spatial Analysis are required. Students take one elective, and they take either GIS Programming or Web GIS. The capstone is either an internship or a directed study. The certificate can be obtained solely through evening classes.