Certificate in Geographic Information Systems

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The University of Washington Tacoma offers 5 courses leading to a Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). The certificate program is a 25-credit curriculum which begins with T GIS 311, Maps and GIS, taken any quarter (Autumn, Winter, Spring) and serves as a prerequisite for subsequent courses. The remaining four courses are taken over two consecutive quarters (Winter and Spring). This program is designed for entry-level and intermediate-level GIS users who lack formal education in geography or GIS. 

The Certificate in GIS provides an excellent foundation in the concepts necessary for spatial modeling with a variety of digital data. Students will develop the analytical and practical skills needed for research and employment in GIS. It also provides students with the educational foundation for transfer into a baccalaureate program in related fields of study.

If students want the knowledge and skills to utilize GIS in fields such as urban and regional planning, environmental research, resource management, crime analysis, marketing, real estate, medical research, and various branches of government, this program is for you.

The certificate in GIS provides you with an excellent foundation in the concepts necessary for spatial modeling with a variety of digital data. You will develop the analytical and practical skills needed for research and employment in GIS. The certificate program also provides you with the educational foundation for transfer into a baccalaureate program in related fields of study.

If you want the knowledge and skills to utilize GIS in fields such as urban and regional planning, environmental research, resource management, crime analysis, marketing, real estate, medical research, and various branches of government, this program is for you.

Program Goals

  • Provide students with a practical and theoretical understanding of approaches to spatial analysis
  • Introduce students to cartographic techniques that are used to produce maps for a variety of audiences
  • Equip students with the technical skills necessary to pursue careers in the geospatial industry
  • Serve as a graphics and mapping resource for UW Tacoma faculty
  • Assist the local community with spatial analysis and mapping needs

Upon completion of the program, students will have:

  • Demonstrated proficiency in the use of GIS software
  • Learned the analytical skills necessary to apply GIS to common social and environmental problems
  • Acquired the skills and expertise necessary to design and implement an independent geospatial research project
  • Gained the ability to create and present professional-quality graphic representations of social, environmental and economic conditions 

How to Apply

Start Application

Admission to the GIS certificate program does not require any prerequisite courses or prior experience in GIS or geography. Admission is competitive and space in the program is limited. Coursework in the program assumes a working knowledge and confidence with computers, office software (such as Microsoft Word and Excel) and internet browsers (such as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer).

The GIS application requires:

  • Two professional or academic references (you provide name and contact information only; the faculty will contact your references)
  • Short essay on your interest in GIS, what you expect to bring to the program, your career goals and your computer experience
  • Your current resume

Certificate Requirements

The GIS certificate program is a 25-credit curriculum which begins with T GIS 311, followed by two consecutive quarters (Winter, Spring). After T GIS 311, the remaining four courses are taken as a cohort in the sequence prescribed below.

Any Quarter (Autumn, Winter, Spring)

  • T GIS 311: Maps and GIS (6 credits)

Winter Quarter

  • T GIS 312: Intermediate GIS (6 credits)
  • T GIS 313: Applied GIS and Project Design (3 credits)

Spring Quarter

  • T GIS 414: Advanced Applications of GIS (5 credits)
  • T GIS 415: Critical Theory and GIS Practicum (5 credits)