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University of Colorado Denver College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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Geographic Information Science Certificate

18 credit hours

Advisor: Matt Cross​

The intention of this certificate is to provide undergraduates and graduate students at CU Denver with a mechanism for demonstrating capabilities in spatial techniques in the social and/or physical sciences. The focus of this certificate is on a broad array of geotechniques, including geographic information systems, remote sensing, cartography, and statistics, which give students additional analytical skills to take into the workplace or on to graduate school. This certificate is designed for geography and geology majors as well as non-majors.

Upon successful completion of the certificate, students will be able to:

  • Understand basic theoretical underpinnings of spatial analysis
  • Apply geo-spatial technologies to real-world problems
  • Have a basic knowledge of how to operate at least three types of software used for spatial analysis



To obtain the certificate, students must complete four core requirements and two electives, totaling 18 hours. It is advisable to take GEOG 2080, Mapping and Map Analysis, prior to beginning the core requirement coursework, since this course familiarizes students with many key concepts used in the other classes. Of the four core requirements, only the statistics class has prerequisites, including algebra and introductory calculus. Because of the technical nature of the GIS and remote sensing coursework, however, some mathematical experience is desirable prior to beginning the program. All core courses are offered on a yearly basis. Any alterations to the program must be approved by the GISci Coordinator.

Core Requirements: 
GEOG 4081/5081-3, Introduction to Cartography and Computer Mapping
GEOG 4060/5060-3, Remote Sensing I: Introduction to Environmental Remote Sensing. 
GEOG 4080/5080-3, Geographic Information Systems. 
GEOG 4770/ENVS 5600-3, Applied Statistics for the Natural Sciences (also listed as GEOL) or equivalent course approved by the GIS​​ Certificate coordinator.

Two Electives from the following courses or other GIS courses approved by the certificate coordinator: 

GEOG/GEOL 4070/5070, Remote Sensing II: Advanced Remote Sensing
GEOG 4085/5085, GIS Applications for the Urban Environment
GEOG 4090/5090, Environmental Modeling with GIS
GEOG 4091/5091, Open Source Software for Geospatial Applications
GEOG 4092/5092 - GIS Programming and Automation
GEOG 4095/5095, Deploying GIS Functionality on the Web
GEOG 4235/5235, GIS Applications in the Health Sciences
CSCI 5559, Database Systems
CVEN 5382, GIS Spatial Database Development
CVEN 5383, GIS Analysis – Theory and Practice
CVEN 5384, GIS Management and Policies
CVEN 5385, GIS Relational Database Systems
CVEN 5386, GIS Laboratory
URPL 6250, GIS Analysis

One of these electives may be satisfied with: a) a three-credit independent study; b) a three credit internship with a geospatial faculty sponsor; or c) another course approved by the GIS certificate coordinator. 


Entrance Requirements


Spatial techniques are tools with broad application. Consequently, UC Denver undergraduate students in any discipline will be admitted to the program. Those who already hold a bachelor's degree from UC Denver or other universities will also be admitted.

Application Process

Current UC Denver Students 
Students may begin the program in any semester or during the summer by making arrangements with Dr. Peter Anthamatten, the GISci Certificate Coordinator.  This should be done once you have elected to pursue the certificate.

Former UC Denver Students or Graduates of Other Universities 
To obtain the certificate, you will need to apply to the university as a non-degree seeking student. Once accepted, you will be able to enroll in all of the appropriate classes. The following is a link to that information: Information on current tuition rates can be found at If you have any specific questions about either of these issues, you would need to contact the registrar's office directly, since they are the ones who process the information.

You must also complete the Application for GISci Certificate, which can be obtained from Dr. Peter Anthamatten, the GISci Certificate Coordinator. This requires a copy of former transcripts indicating an undergraduate degree has been previously granted, or an unofficial transcript from UC Denver showing that you are a current undergraduate student. This must be completed prior to finishing the certificate. Click here for the GISci form.

Performance Requirements

In order to obtain the certificate, students must have a 3.0 GPA average in all approved geographic technology courses. The certificate will be awarded when the student graduates with the bachelor's degree. For those who already have a bachelor's degree, the certificate will be awarded upon completion of the program.​