Earn a Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Expand your career or try something new in one of the fastest-growing technologies. Enroll in our affordable 7-week online courses -- next session starts on October 19.

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Our certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) will develop your geographic awareness and geospatial technology skills, and expand career opportunities. Topics include geographic information, global positioning systems, graphic and map design, aerial image interpretation, geospatial analysis, ethics, and trends.

By completing this certificate, you'll be able to:

  • Create maps to communicate geographic information
  • Interpret aerial and satellite images
  • Use cutting-edge GIS software
  • Apply GIS analysis to real-world situations

GIS Technology is used in thousands of careers:

  • Precision Farming
  • Archaeology
  • Architecture
  • Urban & Community Planning
  • Natural Hazard & Risk Management
  • App Development / Computer Science
  • Self-driving Cars
  • Criminal Intelligence / Crime Mapping
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Community Sustainability
  • Earth Sciences
  • Transportation Sector
  • Oil & Gas Industry
  • Utilities Industry
  • Public Health

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Learn the GIS technology used to power hundreds of thousands of the apps you love.

Reviews of Our Program

This is the best online instruction vehicle I have ever encountered. Online instruction has distinct strengths and distinct weaknesses, but the onGEO crew at MSU have maximized the strengths and minimized the weaknesses into a truly noteworthy product”

Dr. James Padfield

Truman State University

“Earlier this month I accepted a new job with the Texas Land Conservancy in Austin. I'm very excited about the opportunity to grow in my career and transition into a land conservation organization, and I know that having the GIS professional certificate program on my resume and the knowledge base from our classes has played a large role in making me marketable for this job.

Amber Arseneaux

Texas Land Conservancy

“I have found the first course very informative! It is all relatively new information for me, and I wasn't sure how "into it" I would be, but I found that I really enjoyed learning about geospatial technology and am looking forward to the remainder of the courses. In fact, I have been trying to "sell" the program to my husband for educator CE!”

Jenn Kelleher-Hazlett

Master's Student

“I have taken many online classes over the last couple of years, and this class was by far the most organized, thorough, and enjoyable class. There is a lot of material covered and it is presented in an engaging and thought provoking manner. There are many classes that should look to this class on how to run an online course.

Tracy Dale Wolford

“Last Spring semester I took GIS 325...I am now being recognized by multiple teams at the corporation for my knowledge in ArcGIS. Teams are hounding my boss to allow me to do work for them!

Abbey Neerken

Michigan Economic Development Corporation

“Thank you so much for offering such a wonderful class. I have never learned so much in one class, and actually gained so many new things, skills in Geospatial technology, it's an amazing field.”

Cheikh Sidi Elmoctar

Consultant Geologist

“This course really helped guide me to what I want to pursue in my career in local government.”

Kendrix Anderson

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GIS Technology is Everywhere

Look familiar? Everytime you use an app that uses your location, you're using GIS.

Apps like Uber, Waze, Pokemon Go, and Tinder rely heavily on GIS technology to power their location dependent experiences. In our courses, you'll get to dive into the technology behind these systems.

Don't worry, you don't need to be an application developer or geography stud to take our certificate classes. Our courses are designed for everyone.

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Thousands of Opportunities

Revamp your current career, earn continuing-education credits, or simply learn new and marketable skills.

Did you know that geospatial technologies are widely used in many industries, including academic departments and research institutes on campuses nationwide? Earning a Professional Certificate in GIS could open the door to many opportunities in fields such as academics, business, transportation, public health, and natural resource and environmental management, and give you the edge you need to land the internship or job you desire!

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Launch your new adventure in GIS today.

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Have a Question?

How many classes do I need for the Professional Certificate in GIS?

The certificate consists of four fully online courses that are each delivered in 7-week sessions. This means that a certificate can easily be earned in two semesters (if courses are taken one at a time) or faster (if courses are taken concurrently).

  1. Introduction to Geospatial Technology
  2. Geographic Information Systems
  3. Remote Sensing
  4. Cartography

Can I specialize my certificate?

Yes! At this time, we offer the following specialization courses, which can be taken in addition to the four required professional-certificate courses listed above:

  1. Criminal Justice Applications in GIS
  2. FAA Part 107 Drone-test Prep & Beyond

What kind of qualifications do I need for the certificate program?

There are no qualification requirements or prerequisites for our certificate program.

Who should apply for this program?

These courses and associated certificate are ideal for: (1) professionals currently working in fields that use geospatial technologies and pursuing training opportunities, (2) professionals and post-baccalaureates looking to advance or revamp their current career path, (3) teachers pursuing continuing education hours, and (4) international students seeking an educational experience and certification from an American university. You do not need to be an MSU student or alumnus to take our professional courses.

Can I take more than one course at a time?

Yes. Many students take two courses at a time. If you would like to pursue this option, email us to determine the best sequence of courses for you.

When are the courses offered?

There are convenient entry points for our certificate courses (or program), with sessions beginning six times a year. The next session start dates are:

  • 19 October 2020 (session 620)
  • 11 January 2021 (session 121)
  • 8 March 2021 (session 221)
  • 3 May 2021 (session 321)
  • 5 July 2021 (session 421)
  • 30 August 2021 (session 521)
  • 25 October 2021 (session 621)

What is the cost?

Each of the seven-week core professional courses is competitively priced at $875 through the summer. If you are receiving financial support from your employer, please contact us before you register for a course, and we will work with you to submit payment.

Are discounts available?

Yes! We offer discounts for current and former members of the military and alumni of the MSU Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences. We also offer a refer-a-friend discount and a group discount for four or more students from the same organization taking a course. Finally, all students receive a $200 discount off of their final course in the certificate program. Email us for details about these discounts.

Want to talk to someone about the courses or certificate?

Email us at onGEO@msu.edu. We can talk to you via email or give you a call. Alternatively, you can text or call us at 517.258.7991. We are happy to help you plan your entire certificate course sequence, choose the best class for you to start with, or answer your questions.

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