The University of Arizona

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Graduate Certificates in Geographic Information Science

Certificate Options

Postbaccalaureate students may earn a graduate certificate in Geographic Information Science. The coursework and practicum-based certificate can stand on its own for students wanting to earn credentials in this rapidly growing field, or can be earned in conjunction with a MS or PhD degree.  You can boost your resume and add to your credentials with just a few additional courses.


Geographic Information Science (GIS)
 is a high growth industry and is everywhere. In general industry terms, entry level GIS analysts annual salaries start in the $30-40K range and developers in the $40-50K range. Senior level positions in a technical specialty will commonly range from $60 - $85K and then those involve in a specialty with some kind of management or business focus can earn over $100K.

The University of Arizona offers state-of-the-art training in Geographic Information Science (GIS) through courses and hands-on application through the School of Natural Resources and the Environment and the School of Geography and Development. This collaboration has produced a graduate certificate program in GIS for graduate students who wish to augment their graduate degrees, recent graduates who want more training before they enter the work world, and professionals who need to develop a new skill set or formalize their training in GIS. 

The program can be completed in as little as one year (12 months).  The GIS Certificate is designed for students wanting to quickly complete a program of study in order to begin advancing in their current or intended careers as soon as possible.

Image: Kyle Hartfield

 

GIS Certificate Course Work

 

Please note that these courses are offered in-classroom.  If you are looking for the online program, search for the PGIST.

 

Students are required to take seventeen (17) units of graduate level coursework, consisting of eight (8) units of core curriculum and guided practicum and nine (9) units of elective credit, from the list of selected courses.  See GIS Certificate Checklist.

 

Students who have demonstrated competency in GIS by completing GEOG 416a (or its equivalent) or RNR 417 (or its equivalent) with a grade of B or above will have the corresponding graduate level course waived and can earn the GIS Certificate by completing fourteen (14) units of graduate core and elective courses.

All courses in the curriculum are taught at the University of Arizona; none are offered through distance learning. Courses utilize the ArcGIS software. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA. 


CORE CURRICULUM
The core curriculum consists of 8 units of regular classroom instruction and guided practicum/internship experience in GIS. The core curriculum is designed to provide students with a solid background in GIS database structures and spatial analysis. The classes provide a foundation in the design and development of GIS databases and familiarity with spatial analysis techniques for a variety of applications. The practicum/internship is included in the core curriculum to ensure that each participant has the opportunity to apply the theories and methods presented in the core courses.

GEOG 516A: Computer Cartography (3 units) (Sping)
Introduces the principles of map design, production and analysis. Graduate-level requirements include an instructor approved 5-8 page paper on a related topic and analytical cartography demonstrating scholarly analysis in contemporary analytical cartography. (Identical to RNR 516A)

OR  RNR 519 Cartographic Modeling for Natural Resources (3 units) (Spring)
Computer techniques for analyzing, modeling, and displaying geographic information. Development of spatially oriented problem design and the use of logic are applied to the use of GIS programs. Emphasis on applications in land resources management and planning. Graduate-level requirements include a research paper. (Identical to GEOG 519)

PLUS

RNR 517: Geographic Information Systems for Natural and Social Sciences (3 units) (Fall and Spring)
Introduction to the application of GIS and related technologies for both the natural and social sciences. Conceptual issues in GIS database design and development, analysis, and display. Graduate-level requirements include a thorough bibliographic review and a scholarly paper on a current application of geographic information systems in the student's major field. (Identical to GEOG 517)

AND

RNR 594/GEOG 594: Practicum in Geographic Information Processing (2 units) (Fall, Spring, Summer)
Supervised instruction in the processing of geographic data for applications in natural resources. The student will be responsible for the supervised processing of research data sets. Emphasis will be placed on methodological practice and documentation of procedures. A practicum supervisor is selected by the student in consultation with the curriculum advisor.

 

 

ELECTIVES

Students must take 9 additional units from the following electives. The electives represent coursework from which a student can customize a curriculum to meet their interests.

RNR 503: Applications of Geographic Information Systems (3 units) (Fall, Spring, Summer)
General survey of principles of geographic information systems (GIS); applications of GIS to issues such as land assessment and evaluation of wildlife habitat; problem-solving with GIS. Graduate-level requirements include completion of a project on the use of GIS in their discipline or an original GIS analysis (100 points) in coordination with the instructor. (Identical to GEOG 503)

 

GEOG 516A: Computer Cartography (3 units) (Spring)
Introduces the principles of map design, production and analysis. Graduate-level requirements include an instructor approved 5-8 page paper on a related topic and analytical cartography demonstrating scholarly analysis in contemporary analytical cartography. (Identical to RNR 516A)

 

RNR 519: Cartographic Modeling for Natural Resources (3 units) (Spring)
Computer techniques for analyzing, modeling, and displaying geographic information. Development of spatially oriented problem design and the use of logic are applied to the use of GIS programs. Emphasis on applications in land resources management and planning. Graduate-level requirements include a research paper. (Identical to GEOG 519)

 

RNR 520: Advanced Geographic Information Systems (3 units) (Spring)
Examines various areas of advanced GIS applications such as dynamic segmentation, surface modeling, spatial statistics, and network modeling. The use of high performance workstations will be emphasized. Graduate-level requirements include the development of a GIS study plan. Prerequisite: RNR 517 (Identical to GEOG 520)

 

RNR 522: Resource Mapping (3 units) (Summer)
Use of computer technologies to map and inventory natural environments; integration of global positioning systems, remote sensing, and geographic information systems. Graduate-level requirements include a detailed report on the application of resource mapping to a specific problem in natural resource management. (Identical to GEOG 522)

 

RNR 573: Spatial Analysis and Modeling (3 units) (Fall)
Examination of spatial analysis and statistical techniques for investigating natural phenomena. Topics include point pattern analysis; spatial autocorrelation; point to surface transformation; geostatistical techniques; and landscape analysis and modeling. Prerequisite: RNR 517; and a statistics course. (Identical to GEOG 573, HRW 573, WS M 573)



GEOG 516C: Urban Geographic Information Systems (3 units) (Not regularly offered)
Introduces concepts and application skills for use of geographic information systems to investigate a range of urban spatial issues and decision-making processes. Emphasis on complete process of GIS-based problem solving, including project planning, spatial data sources/acquisition, preparation/coding, analysis, representation, and communication. Prerequisite: GEOG/RNR 517 or consent of instructor. (Identical to RNR 516C, PLNN 516C)

 

GEOG 516D: PPGIS: Participatory Approaches in Geographic Information Science (3 units) (Not regularly offered)
A project-based course focusing on applications and impacts of GIS
and other spatial analysis technologies in grassroots community development, participatory decision making, and community-engaged social science. Class format includes discussion seminar, GIS workshop, collaboration, and out-of-classroom community involvement. Prerequisite: GEOG/RNR 517 or consent of instructor. (Identical to RNR 516D, PLNN 516D)

 

GEOG 516E: Geovisualization (GIS) (3 units) (Fall)
Introduces principles and practices of Geovisualization (Geoviz) and softwares (Community Viz and ERDAS Image). Prerequisite: GEOG 516A, RNR 517 or consent of instructor. (Identical to RNR 516E, PLNN 516E)

 

GEOG 516F: GIS for the Social Sciences (3 units) (Fall)
An advanced course integrating social science data and geographic information science; lecture/laboratory format. Prerequisite: GEOG/RNR 417.  (Identical to RNR 516F)

 

GEOG 524: Integrated Geographic Information Systems (3 units) (Spring)
Integration of airborne and spaceborne remote sensor image data with non-image geographic information system (GIS) data. Prerequisite: GEOG 583, RNR/GEOG 517, equivalent coursework or consent of instructor.

 

GEOG 553: Advanced Location Theory (3 units) (Spring)
Advanced location theory, including such topics as spatial variation in costs and demand, consumer travel behavior, spatial competition and strategic marketing, geography of economic impacts, and the location of public and private facilities. This is a GIS-intensive course. Prerequisite: RNR/GEOG 517 or equivalent. (Identical to PLNN 553)

 

GEOG 579: Spatial Statistics and Spatial Econometrics (3 units,Spring)
(Formerly GEOG 577,657) This course provides the statistical and econometric techniques required for the analysis of geocoded data. Identification of spatial heterogeneity and inclusion in a formal regression model. An important aspect of the course is to gain hands-on experience in applying the appropriate techniques and using state-of-the-art software. Prerequisite: GEOG 557 (Identical to PLNN 577)

 

GEOG 583: Geographic Applications of Remote Sensing (3 units) (Spring) Use of aircraft and satellite imagery for monitoring landforms, soils, vegetation and land use, with the focus on problems of land-use planning, resource management and related topics. Graduate-level requirements include the completion of a project report. (Identical to RNR 583, PLNN 583, SWES 583)



REM 590: Remote Sensing for the Study of Planet Earth (3 units) (Fall)
A multidisciplinary course delineating the physical basis of electromagnetic remote sensing, the concepts of information extraction, and applications pertinent to earth systems science. Graduate-level requirements include an additional term paper. (Identical to RNR 590, GEOG 590)

 

CPH 676 Spatical Epidemiology (3 units) (Spring)                                                                                  This course familiarizes students with spatial analysis emphasizing epidemiologic and public health applications. Requisites: EPID/CPH 576A or GEOG/PLG 557 or equivalent, or permission by instructor.  (Identical to EPID 676).

 

LAR 622 Landscape Planning (3 units) (Fall, Spring)
Emphases of this course are 1) landscape planning theory and 2) the use of computer-aided spatial analysis techniques within a GIS to solve landscape resource-based problems and develop alternative planning and design solutions. Students will learn techniques in planning and regional landscape resources: visual simulation, computer map overlay, resource modeling, application of research into automated decision-support systems, solving problems through the use of automated spatial modeling and analysis. Requisites: For LAR majors only or consent of instructor.

 

LAR 623 Landscape Planning Studio (3 units) (Spring)
Theories and models in landscape planning; planning issues and methods; case studies; one major studio planning project. Prerequisite: LAR 622 or consent of instructor.

 

PLG 595A GeoDesigning Landscape Linkages (3 units) (Spring)

This course satisfies one of the required core class requirements for the GeoDesign concentration. The course will benefit from having a broad and interdisciplinary group of students and will focus on bridging the gap between the planning and landscape design disciplines; all backgrounds and students are encouraged to join. While no previous experience is required, the interdisciplinary team will be heavily engaged in the use of GIS and spatial modeling. Course content will focus on conservation planning, modeling methodologies for generating wildlife corridors, and landscape linkage strategies. The course will fuse this content with the landscape design discipline by blueprinting modeled corridors within natural and built reaches of the landscape. Specific elements of design will include maximizing core area within modeled corridors, mitigation edge effects on the fringe, minimizing encroachment of adverse and adjacent land uses on the structural and functional components of linkages, and better designing the landscape matrix for connectivity. Integrating these design components within traditional linkage planning is new to the discipline and will provide the opportunity for students to pursue additional research and collaborative opportunities in the future. Graduate-level level requirements include additional readings and applications of those readings.

 

Please note that this program is offered in-classroom.  If you are looking for the online program, search for the PGIST.

 

Non-degree seeking students who are not currently attending the University of Arizona:

Apply online to the UA Graduate College as a Certificate seeking student ($75). 

You will need to upload the application cover page into the online application.
 

Degree seeking students currently enrolled in U of A programs:

Apply online to the UA Graduate College for a 2nd graduate program as a Certificate seeking student.  Your application fee ($75) will be waived. 

You will need to upload the application cover page into the online application.

 

Once accepted for admission to the GIS Certificate Program in the Graduate College, you must find a coursework advisor to help you select the courses you will take for your Certificate Plan of Study.  Your advisor will approve your Certificate Plan of Study.  Please see the list of potential coursework advising faculty on the Faculty and Advising tab and contact those with interests similar to yours to see if they are willing to advise you.  Your coursework advisor can offer guidance during your program and also assist you with identifying a good practicum advisor.  Register for classes online through UAccess.

 

Questions can be directed to:

Program Coordinator--GIS Certificate

School of Natural Resources and the Environment
University of Arizona
1064 E Lowell St
Tucson, AZ 85719
520-621-7260

khughes@email.arizona.edu

Graduate Certificate in GIS Faculty

All of the faculty below are potential curriculum advisors for the program.  For information about the GIS practicum advisor, practica possibilities, and course work evaluation, feel free to contact one of these adivsors:

 

Dr.  Keiron Bailey - Associate Professor, School of Geography and Development
Email: kbailey@email.arizona.edu
Interests: Geovisualization, GIS and community involvement in decision making, transportation planning, social theory, USA and Japan

 

Dr.  Gary Christopherson - Associate Professor, School of Geography and Development; Director, Center for Applied Spatial Analysis (CASA)
Email: garych@casa.arizona.edu
Interests: GIS, cartography, spatial analysis

 

Dr.  D. Phillip Guertin - Professor, School of Natural Resources and the Environment
Email: dguertin@cals.arizona.edu
Interests: Watershed hydrology and management, watershed assessment and planning, nonpoint source pollution, geographic information science and technology

 

Dr.  Craig Wissler - Assistant Professor, School of Natural Resources and the Environment
Email: cwissler@cals.arizona.edu

Interests: GIS, database design and development

 

Dr.  Stephen Yool - Professor, School of Geography and Development
Email: yools@email.arizona.edu
Interests: biogeography, fire, remote sensing, medical geography, computer cartography and GIS, urban remote sensing, USA

 

Dr.  Willem van Leeuwen - Associate Professor, School of Natural Resources and the Environment, School of Geography and Development
Email: leeuw@ag.arizona.edu
Interests: Decision support systems, remote sensing, vegetation phenology, wildfire effects, invasive species, carbon, agriculture, natural resources, drought monitoring

 

Dr.  Daoqin Tong - Associate Professor, School of Geography and Development
Email: daoqin@email.arizona.edu
Interests: Location modeling, GIS, spatial analysis, transportation, remote sensing

 

For information about applications, program policies, and GradPath:

Katie Hughes

Academic Advisor and Graduate Coordinator

khughes@email.arizona.edu

520-621-7260

Environment and Naturla Resources 2, N321

1064 E Lowell Street

School of Natural Resources and the Environment

The University of Arizona

Tucson, AZ 85719

Policies

Finding a Coursework Advisor

You must find a coursework advisor to help you during your program.  Your advisor will approve your Certificate Plan of Study.  Please see the list of potential coursework advising faculty on the Faculty and Advising tab and contact those with interests similar to yours to see if they are willing to advise you.  Your coursework advisor can offer guidance during your program and also assist you with identifying a good practicum advisor.

 

Continuous Enrollment Policy                                                                                       

Unless excused by an official Leave of Absence (which may not exceed one year throughout the student’s degree program), all graduate students are subject to the Continuous Enrollment Policy and must pay in-state and out-of-state tuition and fees in order to remain in the program. If the student fails to obtain a Leave of Absence or maintain continuous enrollment, he or she will be required to apply for re-admission, to pay the Graduate College application fee, and pay all overdue tuition and fees, including cumulative late penalties. Tuition or registration waivers cannot be applied retroactively.  Please see the UA Continuous Enrollment policy.

 

Time to completion shall not exceed four (4) years. The clock begins with the date of the earliest course work used for the certificate.

Transfer Work                                                                                                      

If transfer work is allowed, course work taken more than two (2) years prior to admission to the certificate program may not be transferred. The clock begins with the date of the earliest course work used for the certificate, including transfer work.

 

Currently enrolled graduate students may apply up to twelve (12) units toward both the certificate and their graduate degree.

A maximum of six (6) units earned as a non-degree seeking student may be applied toward a certificate.

 

A maximum of six (6) units of course work from a previously completed graduate degree may be applied towards the GIS Certificate provided (1) a course work advisor approves, and (2) the completion date of the units fits into the 4-year timeframe for completing the certificate.

 

GPA

Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA in the GIS Certificate Program.

 

Certificate Plan of Study

A Certificate Plan of Study should be filed in GradPath with the Graduate College by the second semester of study.

 

In order for you to receive a Graduate Certificate in GIS, you must file a Certificate Plan of Study in GradPath. 

 

http://grad.arizona.edu/academics/program-requirements/certificate: the links in the left hand margin outline the requirements for certificates. 

 

Filing your Plan of Study is done in “GradPath Forms”.  This is available in your Student Center under the drop down menu.  You can find out more at http://grad.arizona.edu/GradPath

 

Important:
What is the Responsible Conduct of Research Statement?

This is the first form you must complete in GradPath – you will not be able to open any of the other required forms until this is completed. To see the form, click Create New. Make sure you’ve read the General Information section. Then, in the Certified section, read the statement and check the box.

 

Your expected grad date should be listed in your POS.  Your certificate award date will be the semester in which you complete your last courses.

 

Once your coursework has been completed, please let the GIS coordinator know an address where your signed certificate of completion can be sent.

FAQs

Do you offer courses online?


No.  These courses are offered in-classroom.  If you are looking for the online program, search for the PGIST.

 

Is there an application deadline?

There are no application deadlines. Applications are accepted on a continuing basis.  However, we suggest that domestic applicants apply at least 2 months before the start of the semester in which they wish to enroll.  International applicants are recommended to apply by March 1 for Fall admission, and August 1 for Spring admission.

 

How much does the application cost?

The fee for the online application is $75.

 

How much does the program cost?

Tuition for the program is dependent on whether or not you are currently enrolled as a degree seeking student at the University of Arizona. Currently enrolled students that are in the GIS Certificate program pay no additional costs apart from the regular Graduate Tuition rates they are already paying.

For non-degree seeking students enrolled in the Certificate Program only, please see the 2015‐16 Standard Graduate Tuition table for the cost of tuition per unit each semester. You only have to pay these costs, there are currently no program fees apart from course fees (approximately $50 per class).

Click here for the UA Bursar's Office Tuition and Fees Calculator to check current rates.


NOTE: Financial Aid (FAFSA) is not available for this program unless these courses will help you with admittance to a degree seeking program.  Please see the "Financial Aid Petition for Graduate Preparatory Work" form for more information.

 

What are the advantages to the in-person certifiate program?

Not everyone is self-disciplined enough to pursue online education.  For a discussion on the pros and cons of online educaton, click here.

 

May I use course work from a graduate degree that I have already earned and apply it to my certificate?

Yes. You may apply up to 6 units of course work from your graduate degree towards your Graduate GIS Certificate.

 

I am currently enrolled at the UA as a graduate student. May I use course work I am using for my degree toward the certificate?

Yes. You may apply up to 12 units towards both your certificate and your degree.

 

If I decide to pursue a graduate degree after earning my certificate, may I use coursework earned for my certificate towards my graduate degree?

If you earned the units as a certificate seeking student, you may apply up to 12 units from your certificate towards an advanced degree.

 

Who is my curriculum advisor?

You will need to find a curriculum advisor once you are admitted to the program, preferably with similar interests to your own.  Faculty in the program who serve as advisors can be found on the Faculty and Advising page.  Once you have a professor that has agreed to become your curriculum advisor, email the details to the GIS Certificate Program Coordinator. 

 

Who is my practicum supervisor?

Before you enroll in the practicum, discuss your interests with your curriculum advisor, who will be able to help you identify a practicum supervisor whose interests match yours.  Once you have selected a professor that has agreed to become your practicum advisor, email the details (Professor, Project Title, dates etc.) to the GIS Certificate Program Coordinator. 

 

For the practicum, may I work with data from my thesis or dissertation or from my work?

Yes, in some cases. There are criteria for the practicum that can be met by using either pre-prepared practical problems or using data with which you are currently working. You may not use a project you have already completed.

 

Where do I go from here?

Contact the Academic Advisor:

Katie Hughes
School of Natural Resources and the Environment
University of Arizona
Environment and Natural Resources 2, N321
1064 E Lowell St

Tucson, AZ 85719
520-621-7260
khughes@email.arizona.edu