The 12-credit GIS certificate program's courses compose the first year of Penn State's Master of Geographic Information Systems online degree program. Students who successfully complete the certificate may apply to the online master's degree program and, upon acceptance, immediately begin the second year of study. Alternatively, students who complete at least 3 certificate courses may pursue accelerated admissions to any Penn State geospatial-related graduate degree program available through World Campus.
In order to determine the first day you are able to register for classes, enter your semester, campus location, and student level into the Registrar's Registration Timetable. Note: Certificate students are considered 'nondegree' as the student level.
Required Courses (9 credits)
Novice Track: For students with little to no experience in GIS, required courses for the certificate are GEOG 482, GEOG 483, and GEOG 484.
Experienced Professionals Track: With approval from the program and instructor, experienced professionals can substitute GEOG 864 for GEOG 482 and complete additional electives instead of GEOG 483 and GEOG 484 if they already possess the required skills.
Elective Courses (at least 3 credits)
Students must complete 12 total credits to earn the certificate. You will need 3 credits of electives if you complete all required courses. If you follow the track for experienced professionals, select 3–9 credits of electives based on the number of required courses you opt out of.
Prerequisites as listed may be waived by the course instructor if you can demonstrate the required level of competency.
Online Learning Experience
The certificate program consists of instructor-led courses in which you will complete weekly assignments using your own computer. You have the flexibility to complete weekly assignments at times and places that best suit your busy schedule. Project assignments involve reports that you will learn to publish in an online portfolio. Weekly lessons include online quizzes that provide immediate feedback. You will communicate with fellow students and instructors primarily through email discussion groups.
The GIS certificate program will operate on five 10-week terms. With two terms that partially overlap in fall and spring, and one term in the summer, you are provided with the greatest flexibility possible in completing your certificate at your preferred pace. You can choose to schedule your courses without any overlap or take as many courses as possible to finish sooner.
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