Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems

Arial geospatial view of the earth

Watch this video to learn more about our geospatial programs.

This is my life

Lyndy Worsham
GIS Certificate Graduate
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Lyndy Worsham
“My experience has changed my life by giving me high-demand technical knowledge and troubleshooting skills”Read more
Paul Thur
Geographic Information Systems - GIS (Postbaccalaureate Certificate)
McMurdo Station, Antarctica
Paul Thur
“The main appeal of it is that I can take the classes and be learning a new career while I'm here making money.”Read more

A GIS Certificate for the Novice and Professional

Penn State’s GIS program has been a leader in online education for more than 10 years. With the online GIS certificate you can gain firsthand experience using the most up-to-date tools and techniques available in the field of GIS today. You can choose between two tracks:

Traditional Track (four courses)

This track is designed for current and aspiring geospatial professionals who want to become more skillful users of GIS software and related tools.

  • Take three required courses covering GIS foundations.
  • Choose one elective course in an area that interests you.

The instructor-led courses are 10 weeks, and the certificate can be completed in a year.

Experienced Professional's Track

If you are a certified or licensed professional, this track allows you to bypass introductory courses and select others more appropriate for your focus.

  • You can take the first required course, The Nature of Geographic Information, and then request a waiver for the other required courses.
  • If approved, you will be able to choose elective options to create your own focus.
  • Details are available on the courses page.

A Recognized GIS Credential

Regardless of which track you select, you are connected to a well-established, award-winning program. The Sloan Consortium recognized Penn State’s online GIS program as the 2009 Most Outstanding Online Teaching and Learning Program. This renowned reputation can work for you as you prepare to enter or advance in the GIS industry.

This certificate is designed as a "stand-alone" certificate or can serve as a "step up" to the Master of Geographic Information Systems degree program. When you have successfully completed our certificate program in GIS, you may apply the credits toward the master’s degree, if granted admission to enter the highly competitive program.

Geospatial Career-Oriented Course Work

All courses are online and instructor led. You will complete weekly assignments, publish projects online, take quizzes, and receive feedback from faculty. The GIS course work includes, but is not limited to, the introduction to geographic data, problem solving with GIS, GIS database development, and theory and practice of cartographic design.

Professional Development Courses

Penn State World Campus also offers many instructor-led online courses in which you, as a geospatial professional, may enroll to fulfill continuing professional development requirements.

Who Should Apply?

Whether you are a novice or a professional — in environmental resource management, urban and regional planning, local government, facilities management, transportation planning, or another field — our online GIS certificate can help you expand your GIS skills and enrich your experience.

To apply to the program, you need to have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution.

Career Opportunities for Graduates

Penn State's online certificate in GIS can help you start or advance your career in:

  • urban and regional planning: architects, engineers, scientific researchers, managers, technical consultants, local government officials, GIS analysts
  • environmental resource management: environmental scientists, specialists, and health specialists
  • surveying and cartography: surveyors, cartographers, photogrammetrists, and mapping technicians

Find Out More or Apply Now

For more information on geospatial professional development courses, please contact the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at

Are you a member of the military, a veteran, or a military spouse? Please visit our military website for additional information regarding financial aid, transfer credits, or application instructions.

Online Education at Penn State

Penn State has a history of 100+ years of distance education and more than a decade of experience in online learning. We strive to create an online learning environment that brings you as close to the face-to-face experience as possible. Learn more about Penn State World Campus.