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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


Welcome! The Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences (GES) at the University of Colorado Denver is proud to offer one of the most robust and well respected Geographic Information Science & Technology (GIS&T) programs in the region.

Place-based technologies permeate our lives, from the location services on our Smartphones to the spatial-decision support systems that guide application in areas such as disaster management, health care and public health, digital humanities, infrastructure support and management, resource and water management, urban and regional planning, sustainability, business analytics, among many, many others. It’s not difficult to imagine how place influences your particular area of study or practice. Because of the broad array of GIS&T applications across a variety of disciplines and fields, people from diverse backgrounds and interests can benefit immensely from gaining experience in this field. GIS&T is expanding rapidly and is a growing area of employment with a need for high quality geo-spatial professionals. Having expertise in GIS&T provides a competitive edge when seeking employment in many fields. 

The Geographic Information Science (GISci) Certificate is designed to provide CU Denver undergraduates and graduates, as well as non-degree seeking students interested in professional development, with proficiency in the application of spatial thinking, geographic information science, and geo-technologies in the social and physical sciences, spanning the natural, built and human environments and emphasizing human-environment interconnections. The GES GISci Certificate core establishes a broad foundation in spatial technologies and methodologies, including geographic information systems, remote sensing, cartography, spatial extensions to database management systems, and statistics. From this base, students can delve into various specialization areas depending on their interests.
We look forward to assisting you in your pursuit of a GISci Certificate from the Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences at CU Denver.  If you have any questions, please contact the GIS Coordinator.

Upon successful completion of the certificate, students will be able to:
  • articulate and apply basic theoretical underpinnings of spatial analytical principles, methodologies, and techniques;
  • effectively utilize at least three different types of software used for spatial analysis;
  • apply geo-spatial thinking, geographic information science, and geo-technologies appropriately; and
  • analyze diverse real-world problems that have a spatial dimension and develop alternative solutions to them.
There are two versions of the GISci Certificate:
  1. Undergraduate GISci Certificate. For students in undergraduate programs.
  2. Graduate GISci Certificate/Non-Degree-Seeking Certificate. For graduate students or non-degree seeking individuals who already have a bachelor’s degree.

ELIGIBILITY

Geographic information science and geo-technologies have broad applications across many disciplines. Consequently, CU Denver undergraduate students in any discipline or major may be admitted to the program. Students who already hold a bachelor's degree from CU Denver or other institutions may also be admitted as a CU Denver graduate student or a non-degree-seeking student, depending on enrollment status.

APPLICATION PROCESS

You must complete the Application for GISci Certificate, which can be obtained from the GISci Certificate Coordinator. The application requires copies of former transcripts indicating that an undergraduate degree has been previously granted or an unofficial transcript from CU Denver showing that you are a current undergraduate or graduate student. This application is required to be formally registered in the GISci Certificate program, and must be completed no later than the semester prior to the scheduled completion of the certificate. Click here for the GISci form.
Current CU Denver Students
A student may begin the program in any semester or during the summer by making arrangements with the GISci Certificate Coordinator.  This should be done as soon as you have decided to pursue the certificate, and no later than the semester previous to completion of all the courses required to obtain the certificate.
Former CU Denver Students or Graduates of Other Universities
In order to start the certificate program, you will need to apply to the university as a non-degree seeking student if you are not already enrolled in a graduate program within CU Denver.  Once accepted, you will be able to enroll in all of the appropriate classes.
Specific questions about enrollment or tuition should be addressed directly to the University Registrar's Office.

PROGRAM EXPECTATIONS

To earn the certificate, students must complete a specific set of geospatial classes.  The undergraduate, graduate, and non-degree seeking options each have specific requirements, which are described below.
Because a certificate is a CU Denver certification of a students’ specialized knowledge in an advanced subject matter, all courses in a certificate program are expected to be taken in residency at CU Denver.  Only in rare circumstances will exceptions be made regarding this policy.  Courses taken within the GISci Certificate Program may be used towards one other degree requirement.  Any changes to the standard curriculum program must be approved in writing by the GISci Certificate Coordinator and filed with the GISci Certificate Application Form.  Please pay close attention to prerequisites for specific courses.

PERFORMANCE EXPECTATIONS

Students must earn a 3.0 GPA average with no course below a “B-” in all approved courses for the certificate.  For undergraduates seeking a bachelor’s degree, the certificate will be awarded when the student graduates. For graduate and non-degree seeking students, the certificate will be awarded upon completion of the program and be added to the student’s transcript.  

UNDERGRADUATE REQUIREMENTS

The requirements for the GISci Certificate are five core classes and one elective, a total of 18 credit hours.  All core classes are required for completion of the GISci Certificate and are offered at least on a yearly basis. The statistics course requirements can be fulfilled by several different statistics classes offered by CU Denver, or a CU Denver approved class transfer from another institution.  The one elective course can be taken from the elective list below.  The course requirements are as follows:

Undergraduate Core Class Requirements
GEOG 2080: Mapping and Map Analysis
GEOG 4080: Geographic Information Systems
GEOG 4081: Introduction to Cartography and Computer Mapping
GEOG 4060: Remote Sensing I: Introduction to Environmental Remote Sensing
Statistics Course: Approved by the GISci Certificate Coordinator

Elective Class Requirement
One elective from the following course list must be chosen to complete your Undergraduate GISci Certificate:
GEOG/GEOL 4070: Remote Sensing II: Advanced Remote Sensing
GEOG 4085: GIS Applications for the Urban Environment
GEOG 4090: Environmental Modeling with GIS
GEOG 4091: Open Source Software for Geospatial Applications
GEOG 4092: GIS Programming and Automation
GEOG 4095: Deploying GIS Functionality on the Web
GEOG 4235: GIS Applications in the Health Sciences

Although only one elective is required to complete the Undergraduate GISci Certificate, it is strongly recommended that additional elective courses are taken to broaden the experience and knowledge of the student in GIS analysis and applications.  A three-credit hour internship with a geospatial faculty sponsor is highly recommended. Students should plan early for this process: http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/CLAS/Departments/ges/Students/Pages/JobsInternships.aspx.
 

GRADUATE AND NON-DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

As a graduate or non-degree student at UC Denver, the requirements for the GISci Certificate are four core classes and two electives, totaling 18 hours.  All classes must be taken at the graduate level (5000 or above) to fulfill the requirements of the Graduate GISci Certificate.  It is assumed that graduate students have some prior knowledge in basic mapping skills, therefore GEOG 2080 is not required.  All core classes are required for completion of the GIS Certificate and are offered at least on a yearly basis.  The statistics course requirement can be filled by enrolling in the Geospatial Statistics class offered by the Department of Geography, or one of several graduate level (5000 or above) classes offered by CU Denver.  There is a prerequisite requirement of a basic statistics class taken at the undergraduate college level prior to taking any graduate level statistics class at CU Denver.  Any additional two electives can be taken from the elective list below.  If you are currently a graduate student at CU Denver and also attended CU Denver as an undergraduate, you may apply only one 3 credit hour undergraduate course (4000 level) to the GISci Certificate.  The required classes are as follows:
 
Graduate Core Class Requirements
GEOG 5080: Geographic Information Systems
GEOG 5081: Introduction to Cartography and Computer Mapping
GEOG 5060: Remote Sensing I: Introduction to Environmental Remote Sensing
Statistics Course, Approved by the GISci Certificate Coordinator
 
Elective Class Requirements
Two electives from the following course list must be chosen to complete your Graduate GIS Certificate:
GEOG 5071: Remote Sensing II: Advanced Remote Sensing
GEOG 5085: GIS Applications for the Urban Environment
GEOG 5090: Environmental Modeling with GIS
GEOG 5091: Open Source Software for Geospatial Applications
GEOG 5092: GIS Programming and Automation
GEOG 5095: Deploying GIS Functionality on the Web
GEOG 5235: GIS Applications in the Health Sciences
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 6260: GIS Analysis
One of these electives may be satisfied with: a) a three-credit hour independent study; b) a three-credit hour internship with a geospatial faculty sponsor; or c) another graduate course approved in writing by the GISci Certificate Coordinator.