Jul 12, 2024  
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog 
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog

Geographic Information Science Minor

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 GIS minor provides students with a solid foundation in fundamental GIS theory and techniques through a flexible suite of courses in GIS, statistics, cartography, and remote sensing. Students will practice using GIS techniques 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 per year and must be taken in sequence, so careful planning with an advisor is required.

The Environmental Studies Department also offers a major in Environmental Studies with a GIS emphasis, a more advanced undergraduate certificate in GIS, and a graduate certificate in GIS. Many undergraduate students complete the GIS Certificate as well as the GIS minor. Classes may be double-counted toward the GIS Minor and Certificate. The GIS Certificate has more rigorous requirements, including a higher minimum grade for classes counted toward the degree (a B- rather than a C-) compared to the minor, and signifies a more advanced level of geospatial technical expertise. Students who plan to pursue a career in GIS are encouraged to strongly consider the GIS Emphasis and GIS Certificate.

Why Consider a Geographic Information Science Minor?

Geographic Information Science combines GIS software, statistical analysis, and cartographic techniques to develop, manage, analyze, and visualize spatial data. This is a rapidly growing field of inquiry that is widely used to solve complex problems in many fields of research, industry, and public policy. 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 Geographic Information Science minor will be a good choice for you! Come join us as we work together to map our world!

 Contact Information

Department Chair
Rebekah Paci-Green
Arntzen Hall 206

College of the Environment 
Professional Advisor

Kathryn Patrick
Environmental Studies 539

Program 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):

Admission to the GIS Minor is competitive and space is limited. Applicants should complete or be enrolled in ENVS 320 prior to applying. Applications are accepted on a quarterly basis and are due by November 1st for winter, February 1st for spring, and May 1st for fall. To apply, visit: cenv.wwu.edu/sal/application.

Grade Requirements

A grade of C- or better is required for a student’s major or minor courses, and supporting courses for majors and minors.