Geographic Information Science (Graduate Certificate)

Under the auspices of the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, this transdisciplinary certificate program in geographic information science is administered by an executive committee. The objective of this program is to enable ASU graduate students from all disciplines and geographical information system professionals to learn how to apply GIS concepts and technology for the purpose of spatial analysis.

GIS Certificate Requirements:

A minimum of 16 graduate level credit hours are required to complete the GIS Certificate.

A maximum of two 400 level courses may be applied toward the certificate. If you are also in a graduate degree program, different rules may apply, and you should consult your own school or department.

  • One Level 1 course (3 or 4 credit hours)
  • Two Level 2 courses (3 or 4 credit hours each)
  • Two Elective courses (at least 3 credit hours each)
  • Capstone Seminar Course (1 credit hour)

See the Courses tab above for a list of courses that meet Level 1, Level 2, Elective and Capstone requirements.

Level One Competency alternative option

An option will be available for students admitted to the Certificate Program to waive the Level One required course. To waive the first required course a student must show proof of taking a GIS concept/theory course offered either through a University or Community College in the last two years. Students waiving the Level One course will take an additional elective (three total) to complete the 16 credits needed to earn the certificate.

More information:

After reviewing these pages, if you have questions about the program, please email sgsup.advising@asu.edu.

The program is designed for students enrolled in a graduate degree program at ASU. Students interested in a one-year nonthesis graduate degree program in GIS should consider the Master of Advanced Study in GIS. Students qualify for admission to the certificate program by maintaining good standing in a cooperating school or department and completing the GIS certificate application available through Graduate College.

PLEASE NOTE - Graduate College policy restricts the number of pre-admission courses you may apply towards the certificate to 40%. This means that only 6 credit hours that you have already taken or are currently taking may be applied towards the certificate requirements. So please apply early.

Note: A maximum of two 400-level courses may count towards the certificate. The remainder should be 500-level or higher.

LEVEL ONE: REQUIRED COURSES - Choose one*

COURSE CLASS TITLE
CREDITS
GIS 501 Fundamentals of GIScience
The focus will be on GIS theory and methodology, practical GIS software skills, and basic scientific computing skills.

3

PAF 571 Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Analysis
An introductory course in GIS and analysis. GIS is used as a tool for analyzing spatial-related issues, research questions, and policy problems in a variety of sciences and fields of study.

3

PUP 576 /
GIS 515
GIS Workshop for Planners
GIS as a tool to address large, multifaceted planning problems.

3

*An option will be available for students admitted to the Certificate Program to waive the Level One required course. To waive the first required course a student must show proof of taking a GIS concept/theory course offered either through a University or Community College in the last two years. Students waiving the Level One course will take an additional elective (three total) to complete the 16 credits needed to earn the certificate.


LEVEL TWO: TWO REQUIRED COURSES – Each course should be selected from a separate category (2A, 2B, 2C, or 2D)

2A - Geographic Spatial Analysis - Students learn fundamental and advanced topics in spatial analysis and modeling. Focus is on both vector and raster-based analyses.

Learning Outcomes: Conceptual and working knowledge of raster and vector based analysis. Course focus on hydrologic modeling, geostatistical analysis, the basics of spatial analysis, and location theory.

ABS 485 GIS in Natural Resources
Principles of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) utilized in natural resource management. Use of computers for spatial analysis of natural resources. Prerequisite: ABS 350, STP 420, EGR 280 or PSY 230
3
GIS 471 Geographic Information Analysis
The objective of this course is to introduce the student to the basics of spatial data analysis. Topics covered will include point pattern analysis, line descriptors, spatial autocorrelation, and geostatistical kriging. Prior knowledge: A minimum of experience with basic statistical methods and associated software is expected. Students should be familiar with probability models, hypothesis testing, and regression. No prior experience with GIS is required. However, a basic understanding of the concepts is extremely helpful.
3
GIS 562 Location Analysis and Modeling
This course provides a technical overview of location theory in the context of GIScience, focusing on analysis and modeling issues. Applications associated with emergency service planning, natural resource management, retail site selection, among others, will be relied upon to make connections between models, spatial information and interpretation of findings. Utilization and implementation considerations using GIS will be explored.
3

 

2B - Building a GIS from Data Creation to Display - Requires students to create a GIS from start to finish by creating digital data from paper maps, text files, gps data, and/or scanned images. Students learn to attribute and display data they have created.

Learning Outcomes: Conceptual and working knowledge of programming languages to create custom interfaces and maps. Students should be able to use work from previous courses as a foundation for this course as they learn how to organize and present information in an interactive user-friendly format.

GPH 598
Geographic Information Science II
The objective of this course is to introduce advanced topics in Geographic Information Science. Students will be exposed to advanced, cutting-edge research questions and problems in GI Science, important to both the academic and professional community. Through this course, students will develop a sound basis for understanding the operational functionality of modern GIS technology.
4

 

2C - GIS Application Design, Development and Distribution - Students learn how to design, develop and distribute custom applications, automate cartographic operations, customize interfaces, manage relational data sets and develop new sets of map analysis tools.

Learning Outcomes: Conceptual and working knowledge of programming languages to create custom interfaces and maps. Students should be able to use work from previous courses as a foundation for this course as they learn how to organize and present information in an interactive user-friendly format.

GIS 521 Geographic Information Science III
Students learn how to design, develop and distribute custom applications, automate cartographic operations, customize interfaces, manage relational data sets and develop new sets of map analysis tools.
3
GIS 561 Optimization Fundamentals for Spatial Analysis
This course will cover the fundamentals of optimization for spatial analysis. The first half of the course will review elements of calculus, matrices and basic linear algebra. The second half of the course will introduce linear programming, integer programming and branch and bound, and heuristics. The course will emphasize the use of these methods for GIScience and spatial analysis.
3

 

2D - Remote Sensing and Analysis - Students learn how to acquire and analyze remotely sensed data for a variety of application contexts.

Learning Outcomes: Conceptual and working knowledge of airborne and satellite remote sensing and image processing. Students should be able to acquire data, process the images, create appropriate data, analyze the accuracy of the results, and utilize the data for specific applications.

ABS 586
Remote Sensing in Environmental Resources
Principles and application of remote sensing technologies in natural resource management using computerized data from aerial photography and satellite imagery.

4

GPH 569 Digital Analysis of Remotely Sensed Data
This course covers the basic knowledge and techniques of remote sensing including the characteristics of remotely sensed data, classification methods, and accuracy assessment.

3


CAPSTONE SEMINAR COURSE - Students will present a GIS project to the GIS Certificate Working Committee. All students will be responsible for demonstrating how GIS technology has enabled them to address a spatial problem more effectively.


GIS 591 Special Topic - Capstone Seminar for GIS Certificate
1
GPH 591 Special Topic - Capstone Seminar for GIS Certificate
1

APPROVED ELECTIVES - Electives courses can be selected from the list below or selected from the Level Two list above that were not used as part of the Level Two requirement.

ABS 560
Ecological Modeling
Mathematical modeling of animal populations, food-web structural and ecological processes in space and time. May use modeling tools on computer clusters..
3
CSE 412 Database Management
Introduces DBMS concepts. Data models and languages. Relational database theory. Database security/integrity and concurrency.
Prerequisite:  Computer Systems Engineering BSE, Computer Science BS student, or Biomedical Informatics student; CSE 310 with C or better. Credit is allowed for only ACO 220 or ACO 320 or CSE 412 or CST 433
3
GCU 542 Geographical Analysis of Transportation
Examines the geographical aspects of transportation systems. Looks at the geography of networks; transport costs and rates; different modes of transport, trade, economic development, and technology. Studies the movement of freight and passengers at the individual, urban, national, and international scales.
3
GIS 584 Internship
Structured practical experience following a contract or plan, supervised by faculty and practitioners
1-4
GIS 441 Geographics:Interactive and Animated Cartography and Geovisualization
Advanced cartography, stressing influence and application of the computer on geographic representation. Emphasizes creation of maps for the Internet.
3
GPH 596 Advanced Spatial Statistics
3
GPH 598 Advanced Digital Analysis of Remotely Sensed Data
3
GPH 598 Satellite Gravimetry & Applications
3
GPH 598 Biotic Distributions - Species Distribution Modeling
Comprehensive introduction to species distribution modeling techniques used for predicting species distributions and other biospatial patterns.
3
GPH 598 Geocomputation
3
GPH 598 Local Statistical Modeling
1-4
GLG 410
Computers in Geology
Geological computer skills including data processing, visualization, presentation, numerical analysis, software and hardware applications.
Prerequisites: GLG 101 and one upper-division geology course or instructor approval
3

 

Completing the GIS Certificate Program

  • Once you are registered for 50% of the total credit hours required for completion of the certificate, you must complete a Plan of Study (iPOS). It will be reviewed and approved by the School of Geographical Sciences & Urban Planning as well as the Office of Graduate College.
  • Before the end of your final semester of certificate coursework, you may apply for graduation using the MyASU website. You must be enrolled in the semester that you graduate. Please see https://graduate.asu.edu/completing-your-degree for graduation deadlines and procedures.

Overview of questions

  • What is the Geographical Information Science Certificate Program at Arizona State University?
  • How do I get admitted into the program?
  • Is it available for all students?
  • How do I earn the certificate?
  • I have noticed that not all courses are offered each and every semester as listed on the Curricula page. What is going on?
  • I am a new graduate student enrolled at ASU and want to get into the program. What is the first step?
  • I am a graduate student enrolled at ASU and have taken enough of the courses to earn the certificate, am I eligible for the certificate?
  • I am a graduate student enrolled at ASU and I have taken GIS courses at Universities other than ASU, can I get credit for courses taken at other Universities?
  • Is it possible to waive the Level 1 Required Course?
  • What is the Capstone series seminar course? What is the format and when should I take it?

What is the Geographical Information Science Certificate Program at Arizona State University?

It is a program offered through the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. Students take GIS coursework currently being taught at Arizona State University (ASU). Students who earn the Certificate will exit the program with standardized skill sets based on "Learning Outcomes" associated with each required course. This program will provide its students with the training and experience necessary to compete and work in the GIS arena in both the public and private sectors. Note: the Geographical Information Science Certificate Program at Arizona State University is not one course but a series of courses.

How do I get admitted into the program?

Graduate students at ASU will qualify for admission to the certificate program by maintaining good standing in a cooperating department and completing an application specific to the GIS Certificate.

Is the program available for all students?

No, only graduate students.

How do I earn the certificate?

A minimum of 16 credit hours consisting of three required and two elective courses (three credit hours each) plus a Capstone seminar (one credit hour) is required to complete the GIS Certificate. Courses that will comprise the Certificate curriculum, associated Learning Outcomes, and approved electives are listed here

I have noticed that not all courses are offered each and every semester as listed on the Curricula page. What is going on?

Just like the list of courses in the graduate catalog, the list of courses that we have on the Curricula page are potential courses and may or may no be offered every semester for a variety of reasons. For detailed information on the availability of courses, it is best to contact the individual department associated with each course.

I am a new graduate student enrolled at ASU and want to get into the program. What is the best first step?

We encourage all interested student to take one of the level one required courses. After taking the course and deciding on a research topic, if you and your committee believe that GIS is a vital part of your research, we would encourage you to pursue the GIS certificate program in addition to your degree.

I am a graduate student enrolled at ASU and have taken enough of the courses to earn the certificate, am I eligible for the certificate?

Decisions on this will be made case by case. But if a student has taken all the courses, they may be able to enter the program and earn the certificate in a relatively short amount of time.

I am a graduate student enrolled at ASU and I have taken GIS courses at Universities other than ASU, can I get credit for courses taken at other Universities?

The only course we will give credit for is the Level One required course and this will be done on a case by case basis. Be prepared to show detail information about the course (e.g. syllabus, etc.). Note: you will still be required to earn 16 hours from the selected course work.

Is it possible to waive the Level 1 Required Course?

We encourage all students to take one of the level 1 required course but we also offer an option to waive the course provided the student has the appropriate experience. Contact the director of the program for more information. Note: you will still be required to earn 16 hours from the selected course work.

What is the Capstone series seminar course? What is the format and when should I take it?

Like the name implies, it is the "final" course of the program and thus should be taken as close as possible to the end of a student's academic career at ASU. Students will present a GIS project to the GIS Certificate Executive Committee. All students will be responsible for demonstrating how GIS technology has enabled them to address a spatial problem in their research more effectively. Format of the presentation will be a 30-40 minute oral presentation by the student followed by questions from the audience especially by members of the executive committee of the GIS Certificate program. It is expected that students will take this course after the majority of the research for their degree has been completed. The presentation will highlight the use of GIS in their research efforts. In this seminar, more details to GIS techniques and technology should be presented than in a usual presentation in a student's department.

Degree Offered

Geographic Information Science (Graduate Certificate)
Liberal Arts & Sciences, College of

Location
Tempe

Plan of Study

The Plan of Study is the required curriculum to complete the program.

View Plan of Study