systems map

Postbaccalaureate Certificate in
Geographic Information Systems

Program Summary

This online certificate program provides students with hands-on course experiences using the latest tools in the GIS industry. Choose from two different tracks — a foundational track for the GIS novice or an experienced professional’s track for students with a strong working knowledge of GIS.
How To Apply
Apply by April 15 to start May 10

How To Apply 

Costs and Financial Aid

12 Credits $1,007 per credit

Costs and Financial Aid 

Earn a Penn State GIS Certificate Online 

Upgrade your skills by adding a respected GIS certificate to your résumé in as little as 9 months.  

Penn State World Campus has partnered with the Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences’ renowned Department of Geography to offer a fully online GIS certificate that can accommodate the diverse needs and busy schedules of adult learners. Depending on the course work you select, this online certificate can help you:  

  • learn how GIS facilitates data analysis and communication to solve location-based challenges that impact our world 
  • gain hands-on experience designing and maintaining database systems using desktop GIS software  
  • identify and resolve common ethical issues in the geographic information science and technology field 
  • understand the scope, impact, and trajectory of the Geospatial Revolution 

You have the flexibility to customize your program by exploring in-demand electives like open web mapping, real-world application of GIS, advanced Python programming, spatial data science, emerging trends in remote sensing, location intelligence for business, and more.  

Why Study GIS Online at Penn State? 

Contemporary, Real-World Skills. We integrate fresh content, emerging topics, and the latest technologies into our curriculum, so you can build a relevant skill set that you can put to work immediately.  

100% Online. Our online platform gives you the flexibility to complete weekly assignments at your own pace, while you continue to gain valuable work experience. 

Proven Leader. Our students and alumni work in more than 150 geospatial organizations around the world in every major sector of the mapping, GIS, and GEOINT industries. You can take pride in knowing you are part of a globally recognized program. 

A GIS Certificate for the Novice and Professional

Get more out of your education by creating a program that is unique to your interests, experience level, and career goals. Select from one of two tracks: 

  • Novice Track — Aspiring or newer geospatial professionals can become more skillful users of GIS software and related tools. This track requires the student to take three foundational courses plus one elective. 
  • Experienced Professionals Track — Gives current GIS practitioners the flexibility to bypass introductory courses and select electives that are more relevant to their projected career path. 

Penn State offers a robust portfolio of 30 geospatial courses online to help you customize your program. Check out our courses page for more details. 

Seamless Path to a Graduate Degree 

Start with the certificate, then step up to a master’s degree. High-performing certificate students who wish to continue their education may qualify for accelerated admission to the: 

  • Master of Geographic Information Systems 
  • Master of Science in Spatial Data Science
  • Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security – Intelligence and Geospatial Analysis option  

This streamlined process allows you to skip some of the traditional application requirements. Plus, due to the stackable nature of our portfolio, you have the option to apply up to 12 certificate credits toward your master’s degree. Visit the How to Apply page for details. 

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 

  • resource management: environmental scientists and specialists, transportation and logistics managers, operations specialists, and health specialists 

  • surveying and cartography: surveyors, cartographers, photogrammetrists, and mapping technicians 

Information for Military and Veterans 

Are you a member of the military, a veteran, or a military spouse? Please visit our military website for additional information regarding your education benefits, financial aid and scholarships, specialized support services, and application instructions. 

Penn State World Campus Student

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