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Certificate Programs
Geographic Information Science
Student Learning Outcomes

The Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science prepares students for employment in positions where the creation, management, analysis, and presentation of spatial information are crucial. Students completing the Geographical Information Science certification will:

  • Understand key foundational concepts, methodological processes, and analytical skills in geographic information science.
  • Understand the principles underlying the use of spatial information technologies in theoretical and applied settings.
  • Be able to demonstrate the creation, management, analysis, and presentation of spatial information.
  • Be able to demonstrate the ability to design, analyze, and interpret spatial analytical problems.

Curriculum (15 cr.)

Required Courses (9 cr)

GEOG-G 535: Introduction to Remote Sensing and Air Photo Interpretation (3 cr)
GEOG-G 538: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (3 cr)
GEOG-G 639: Seminar in Applied Geographic Information Science (3 cr)

Electives - Select 2 of the following 4 courses (6 credits)

GEOG-G 537: Computer Cartography and Graphics(3 cr)
GEOG-G 536: Advanced Remote Sensing and Digital Image Processing(3 cr)
GEOG-G 539: Advanced Geographic Information Systems (3 cr)
GEOG-G 588: Spatial Statistics (3 cr)

Students may petition the Graduate Director to substitute courses depending upon prior course work and experience. For example, many students are now taking introductory GIS courses at the undergraduate level and would not be asked to repeat the course at the graduate level. However, a total of 15 graduate credit hours must be earned in order to receive the certificate.

Minimum Overall GPA

Students must earn an overall grade point average in graduate courses of 3.0 or higher to be awarded the certificate. The minimum grade that will be accepted in any single course is B-.

Transfer Credits

A maximum of 8 credit hours can be transferred into the Graduate Certificate Program.  This includes graduate courses taken at IUPUI or other IU institutions that parallel courses in the Certificate Program.  Appropriate work experience may also allow a student to be exempted from an introductory course, but 15 credit hours of graduate level courses must be completed in order to earn the certificate.  Course waivers, substitutions, and approval of other course for credit toward the Graduate Certificate must be approved by the Geography Graduate Committee.   Undergraduate courses cannot be applied toward the Graduate Certificate.

Maximum Time for Completion

Maximum time for completion is four years with no significant breaks (i.e. more than two semesters) between courses (this field and its underlying technology changes too rapidly for longer breaks). 


  • GEOG-G 535 ENVIRONMENTAL REMOTE SENSING (3 cr.)Principles of remote sensing of the earth and its atmosphere, emphasizing satellite data in visible, infrared, and microwave portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Emphasis on practical applications and digital image analysis. A satellite data analysis project is required.
  • GEOG-G 536 Advanced Remote Sensing (3 cr.)P: GEOG-G 535 or consent of instructor. Advanced remote sensing theory and digital image processing techniques with an emphasis on environmental applications. Hands-on computer exercises provide significant experience in introductory digital image processing for extraction of qualitative and quantitative information about the Earth's terrestrial environments. Lecture and laboratory.
  • GEOG-G 537 Computer Cartography and Graphics (3 cr.)Compilation, design, production, and evaluation of maps and related graphic materials. Includes cartometric procedures, symbolization, color use guidelines, map typography, photographic manipulations, computer animation, and geographic visualization techniques. Hardcopy and Internet-based outputs. Lecture and laboratory.
  • GEOG-G 538 Geographic Information Systems (3 cr.)Overview of the principles and practices of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The course will deal with issues of spatial data models, database design, introductory and intermediate GIS operations, and case studies of real-world GIS. Laboratory exercises will provide significant hands-on experience. Lecture and laboratory.
  • GEOG-G 539 Advanced Geographic Information Systems (3 cr.)P: GEOG-G 538 or consent of instructor. Intermediate and advanced topics in geographic information science and spatial analysis techniques using GIS software. This advanced course is for upper-division undergraduates and graduates who seek a greater understanding of this rapidly developing field and to learn how to construct, manage, and analyze their own GIS data and models. Lecture and laboratory.
  • GEOG-G 588 Applied Spatial Statistics (3 cr.)P: 6 credits in geography or consent of instructor. Extension of traditional statistical analysis to spatial data. Spatial means and spatial variances, the examination of differences in samples over space, spatial autocorrelation, nearest neighbor analysis, map comparison techniques, emphasis on practical applications.
  • GEOG-G 639 GIS and Environmental Analysis (3 cr.)P: GEOG-G 535, GEOG-G 538, and GEOG-G 536 or GEOG-G 539. Applications of geographic information science principles in the collection and analysis of spatial data. Integration of GIS, remote sensing, and/or GPS technologies. Review of current literature on techniques, theory, technology, and applications with an emphasis on environmental issues. Discussions, laboratory, and research project.