Jul 22, 2024  
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog 
2024-25 Western Washington University Catalog

Geographic Information Science Certificate (graduate)

Location(s): WWU - Bellingham

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of the Environment

Department of Environmental Studies, College of the Environment

18 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-level 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 - prior to applying, applicants must have:

  • Completed a BA or BS degree in any field.
  • Gained basic knowledge of statistics equivalent to an introductory undergraduate statistics course.
  • Have completed or be currently enrolled in ENVS 517 (GIS I: Introduction to Geographic Information Science) or an equivalent introductory GIS course.

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 three core classes (GIS II, III, and IV), plus three credits of electives in spatial and quantitative techniques.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: College of the Environment