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Certificate in Geographic Information Systems

The Certificate in Geographic Information Systems is designed for those individuals seeking careers as GIS specialists, providing geographic data management, spatial analysis, and GIS system management support to professionals in a broad range of disciplines, such as criminal justice, health services, city and regional planning, civil and environmental engineering, transportation, and marketing. Certificate holders will seek employment in positions such as "GIS Specialist," "GIS Analyst," or "GIS Coordinator."

The School of Architecture and Urban Planning, and the College of Letters and Science jointly offer the certificate. The core courses (12 credits) focus on the structure of geographic data, components for managing geographic information systems, spatial analysis, and delivery of geographic information through maps and displays. Students select the remaining 6 credits for the certificate from electives, which may include an internship, in areas such as remote sensing, map-making, and data management systems.

Upon completion of the certificate courses, a student is awarded the certificate which qualifies for 5 credential points in the GIS Certification Institute's standards for professional certification in GIS.

Application and Admission

Students interested in the GIS Certificate should contact the Department of Urban Planning or the Department of Geography. Those who are not already admitted to a UWM graduate degree program must complete a UW System online admission application and have an official undergraduate transcript sent to the Graduate School. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or a graduate degree to be accepted into the certificate program.

For international applicants, whose first language is not English, a score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) of at least 600 (250 on the computer-based version) or an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 7.0 must also be submitted.

Credits and Courses

A minimum of 6 courses and 18 credits to receive the certificate. A minimum of 6 credits each in Urban Planning and Geography courses is required.

Required Courses (12 cr)
Tier 1 (select one course)
URBPLAN 791 Introduction to Urban Geographic Information Systems for Planning
GEOG 525 Geographic Information Science
Tier 2 (select one course)
URBPLAN 792 Using Urban Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Planning
GEOG 625 Intermediate Geographic Information Science
Tier 3 (select two courses)
URBPLAN 793 Applied Projects in Urban Geographic Information Systems
URBPLAN 794 Internet Geographic Information Systems
GEOG 725 Advanced Geographic Information Science: Geographic Modeling
GEOG 734 GIS and Society
GEOG 960 Seminar; Geographic Techniques
ANTHRO 562 Techniques and Problems in Archaeology
Elective Courses (6 cr)
URBPLAN 692 Special Topics in Urban Planning: "Transportation Planning and GIS" subtitle
URBPLAN 791 Introduction to Urban Geographic Information Systems for Planning (if not selected above)
URBPLAN 792 Using Urban Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Planning (if not selected above)
URBPLAN 793 Applied Projects in Urban Geographic Information Systems (if not selected above)
URBPLAN 794 Internet Geographic Information Systems (if not selected above)
URBPLAN 991 Legislative/Administrative Agency Internship
URBPLAN 999 Independent Study
ANTHRO 380 Anthropological Applications of GIS
ANTHRO 562 Techniques and Problems in Archaeology (if not selected above)
BUSADM 749 Data Management Systems
GEOG 403 Remote Sensing: Environmental and Land Use Analysis
GEOG 405 Cartography
GEOG 525 Geographic Information Science (if not selected above)
GEOG 547 Spatial Analysis
GEOG 625 Intermediate Geographic Information Science (if not selected above)
GEOG 698 GIS/Cartography Internship
GEOG 703 Advanced Remote Sensing
GEOG 725 Advanced Geographic Information Science: Geographic Modeling (if not selected above)
GEOG 734 GIS and Society (if not selected above)
GEOG 750 Remote Sensing and Urban Analysis
GEOG 960 Seminar; Geographic Techniques (if not selected above)
Other courses as approved by the GIS Certificate Subcommittee
Grade Point Average Requirement

To continue in the program, a student must maintain a minimum cumulative 3.00 grade point average in certificate courses taken at UWM.

Transfer Credits

Up to 3 credits of graduate coursework in GIS and related courses may be considered for transfer to the certificate program. To be eligible for transfer, the course must have been completed within the last 2 years, the student must have received a grade of B or better, and the GIS Certificate Coordinator must approve the course for transfer.

Up to 9 credits of GIS Certificate coursework may also be applied toward a UWM graduate degree program.

Time Limit

Students must complete all courses for the certificate within 3 years from the date of initial enrollment in the certificate program.


Page last updated on: 02/13/2014