Jun 14, 2024  
2022-2023 Catalog 
2022-2023 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Geographic Information Science Certificate (graduate)

Department of Environmental Studies, College of the Environment

22 credits


Many environmental systems and issues involve spatial patterns that can be analyzed, visualized, and communicated through Geographic Information Science (GIS) techniques. The Graduate GIS Certificate provides students with in-depth training in GIS theory and techniques. Our students gain advanced skills in the creation, development, management, analysis, and visualization of spatial data. Original research projects allow graduate students to practice applying GIS techniques to their thesis topic. We teach our students how to use GIS for a wide range of environmental applications, from modeling climate change impacts to identifying inequitable patterns of exposure to pollutants to prioritizing land for renewable energy installations or conservation easements.

Many classes are offered only once a year, so careful advance planning with a faculty advisor is required.

Why Consider a Geographic Information Science Certificate (graduate)?

Do you love maps? Are you comfortable with spatial problem solving? Do you enjoy the combination of art and science that goes into cartography? Are you curious about how spatial data can be used to explain the patterns and processes behind environmental issues? If so, then a Graduate Geographic Information Science Certificate will be a valuable addition to your graduate education. Come join us as we work together to map our world!

Contact Information

Department Chair
Rebekah Paci-Green
Arntzen Hall 206

Certificate Advisor
Aquila Flower
Arntzen Hall 202

Sample Careers

GIS Technician | GIS Analyst | GIS Manager | Geospatial Analyst | Cartographer | Geographer

Major/Career Resources


How to Declare (Admission and Declaration Process):

Applicants will apply via the Graduate School. Admission to the GIS Certificate is competitive and space is limited. Our priority application date is in early May. Applications received after the priority date will be considered only if space is available. First preference will be given to students pursuing graduate degrees in Environmental Studies or Geography. See our website at cenv.wwu.edu/sal/gis-minor-certificate for detailed application instructions and deadlines.

Prerequisites: Applicants must have completed a BA or BS degree in any field prior to beginning the program and must have basic knowledge of statistics equivalent to an introductory undergraduate course. Applicants who have already completed an introductory GIS class should contact our program about whether that class can be used as a substitute for our ENVS 517 course requirement.

Grade Requirements

A grade of B- or better is required for a student’s certificate courses, and supporting courses for certificates.


The graduate GIS Certificate curriculum is centered on four core classes (GIS I, II, III, and IV), plus three credits of GIS electives.