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.
Geospatial Portfolio Video
Learn more about the World Campus geospatial programs in this video:
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.
Gainful Employment Disclosure
The U.S. Department of Education requires universities to disclose a variety of information for any financial aid eligible program that "... prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation..."
Please visit the GIS disclosures page to review the Federal Aid Gainful Employment Disclosure for the Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems.
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
Accelerated Admission to the Online Master of GIS (MGIS)
This certificate can help you take the next step into higher-level graduate studies. Any geospatial certificate student who earns a 3.67 GPA or higher after completing the first three courses of the certificate may apply to the MGIS program through this new option. Advantages of accelerated admissions include:
- No GRE test is required
- No professional experience is required
- No letters of recommendation are required
Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis, so you can learn about your admission decision even earlier. Up to 15 credits of certificate program courses may also count toward the MGIS degree. Learn more about how you may qualify for the Master of GIS accelerated admission option.
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 create an online learning environment that offers you the same quality education our residential students experience in a face-to-face setting. Learn more about Penn State World Campus.
- Geographic Information Systems - GIS (Master's Degree)
- Geospatial Intelligence Analytics (Graduate Certificate)
- Geospatial Intelligence Applications (Postbaccalaureate Certificate)
- Remote Sensing and Earth Observation (Graduate Certificate)
- Geospatial Programming and Web Map Development (Graduate Certificate)