Credits and costs
The Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Geospatial Intelligence Applications provides a foundation in geospatial intelligence thought and technology for the aspiring professional with little knowledge of the intelligence discipline, the geographic information sciences, or geospatial technologies. The program applies tools, methodologies, and tradecraft in defense, law enforcement, civil security, and business domains while synergistically integrating geospatial information science and investigative analysis.
This 100% online program, which can be completed in as little as one year, is ideal as a "stand-alone" credential, or you can apply earned credits to "step-up" into the Master of Geographic Information Systems or Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security programs. A separate application and program acceptance are required; however, certificate students may qualify for accelerated admissions.
Penn State World Campus Provides USGIF–Accredited Education
Penn State's online GEOINT certificates are fully accredited by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF). USGIF's accreditation program was established in 2005 to encourage higher education institutions to develop academic certificates that prepare students to advance the geospatial intelligence field. When you earn a certificate in GEOINT from Penn State, you will also receive a certificate from the USGIF.
Geospatial Career–Oriented Course Work
All courses are online and instructor-led. You will complete weekly assignments, submit projects online, take quizzes, and receive feedback from faculty. The geospatial course work includes geographic foundations of geospatial intelligence, GIS, and remote sensing.
Professional Development Opportunities
Penn State World Campus also offers more than 19 instructor-led online courses that geospatial professionals can take to fulfill continuing professional development requirements. For a calendar and a list of course offerings, visit our courses page.
Who Should Apply?
If you have little or no experience in geospatial intelligence and are looking to become a GEOINT professional in fields such as national security, law enforcement, disaster response, environmental resource preservation, or business, this certificate program was designed for you. To apply to the program, you must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution.
Accelerated Admission to an Online Master's Program
Any geospatial certificate student who earns a 3.67 grade-point average or higher after completing the first three courses of the certificate may qualify for accelerated admission to the Master of Geographic Information Systems, Master of Science in Spatial Data Science, or Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security – Intelligence and Geospatial Analysis 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, year-round
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 financial aid, transfer credits, or application instructions.
Online Education at Penn State
Penn State has a history of more than 100 years of distance education and more than 20 years 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.
The GEOINT applications postbaccalaureate certificate course content focuses not just on technical skills but also on the analytical knowledge necessary to apply those skills in the real world. In the capstone course, you will apply what you have learned to complete a semester-long virtual field experience.
To earn the certificate, you must complete 13 credits of online course work. You may select from one of three tracks, giving you the opportunity to customize your education around your unique career goals:
- Defense Track highlights GIS, imagery, and remote sensing
- Security and Law Enforcement Track focuses on GIS and cyber and human networks
- Business Track includes business location intelligence and cyber and human networks
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 their student level.
Required Core Course (3 credits)
GEOG 882 is a prerequisite for all other courses in the certificate program and must be taken before enrollment in any of the other courses in each track.
Required Courses for Each Track (9 credits)
The course list varies depending on which track you choose.
Security and Law Enforcement Track
Capstone Course (1 credit)
GEOG 594A is a capstone course that must be taken after all the other courses in the certificate program have been successfully completed.
The GEOINT applications 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 program courses at a time as possible to finish sooner.
- Fall 1 semester runs from mid-August through the late October. Fall 2 runs from early October through mid-December.
- Spring 1 semester runs from early January through mid-March. Spring 2 runs from late February through late April.
- Summer semester runs from mid-May through late July.
Registration for most courses begins three months before the start of the course. Given the limited number of seats available in our courses, early registration is strongly encouraged.
It is strongly recommended that you take only one course during each of the five terms.
If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.
Costs and Financial Aid
Graduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.
|How many credits do you plan to take per semester?||Cost|
|11 or fewer||$1,007 per credit|
|12 or more||$12,082 per semester|
Financial Aid and Military Benefits
Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.
Paying for Your Certificate
Students pursuing this certificate may be eligible for federal student aid. Find more information from the online geospatial education program office.
Additionally, Penn State offers many ways to pay for your education, including an installment plan and third-party payments. Penn State World Campus also offers an Employer Reimbursement and Tuition Deferment Plan. Learn more about the options for paying for your education.
Students pursuing a degree and meeting all other eligibility requirements may qualify for financial aid.
How to Apply
Deadlines and Important Dates
Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Due to the volume of applications received, prospective students are strongly encouraged to submit their application before the deadline:
- Summer Deadline: Apply by April 15 to start May 10
- Fall Deadline: Apply by August 1 to start August 16
- Spring Deadline: Apply by December 15, 2023, to start January 3, 2024
Did you miss the deadline? If so, please email the program office immediately at [email protected] to learn how you may begin an online course as a nondegree student. Successfully completed credits may be applied toward requirements for the certificate.
For admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.
To pursue the Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Geospatial Intelligence Applications, you must be admitted by two Penn State organizations:
- Penn State Graduate School
- Penn State Department of Geography
What You Need
Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need to upload the following items as part of your application:
Official transcripts from each institution attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed — Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Penn State alumni do not need to request transcripts for credits earned at Penn State but must list Penn State as part of your academic history. If you are admitted, you will be asked to send an additional official transcript. You will receive instructions at that time.
English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Proficiency section on the Graduate School's "Requirements for Graduate Admission" page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.
GRE test scores are NOT required.
Résumé and References — This should include contact information for two references. An electronic version can be uploaded and submitted with your completed application.
Enrollments in the GEOINT applications program are limited. The GEOINT applications program admissions committee will select incoming classes of no more than 35 students per intake period. The best qualified applicants will be admitted.
Applications that are ranked highly, but not highly enough for immediate admission, may be retained for consideration in a subsequent application pool.
Start Your Application
You can begin your online application at any time. Your progress within the online application system will be saved as you go, allowing you to return at any point as you gather additional information and required materials.
Begin the graduate school application
- Choose Enrollment Type: "Certificate Admission"
- Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus
- Choose "Geospatial Intelligence Applications" for certificate
Checking Your Status
You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form.
Review the technical requirements for this degree program.
Get the resources you need to make informed decisions about your education. Request information on this program and other programs of interest by completing this form.
Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State graduate certificate?
Start or Advance Your Career
Start or Advance Your Career
You can use the knowledge gained from this program and the support of Penn State career resources to pursue careers in a variety of fields, depending on your goals.
Our program specialists are available now to help you with your application and to answer any questions you have about our online geospatial programs. Please contact us with anything you wish to discuss.
Julene Santiago, Geospatial Portfolio Program Assistant
Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
To see more detailed information about the geospatial portfolio, visit the program website within Penn State's College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. You can also visit the Open Educational Resources website to preview some of the geospatial courses offered online by the Department of Geography.
For general questions about Penn State World Campus, please contact:
World Campus Admissions Counselors
Todd S. Bacastow
DegreePh.D., Geography, Penn State
DegreeM.S., Geography, Penn State
DegreeB.S., Engineering, United States Military Academy
Dr. Todd S. Bacastow’s focus is preparing analysts to serve in the U.S. intelligence community. He has conducted active research in improving the training and education of the geospatial analyst. He was the author of the massive open online course (MOOC) titled Geospatial Revolution and Geospatial Intelligence, which has been delivered to more than 25,000 students. He serves as an expert witness. Before joining Penn State, Dr. Bacastow retired from the U.S. Army after serving in a variety of infantry, engineer, and geospatial intelligence assignments and positions.
Anthony C. Robinson
DegreePh.D., Geography, Penn State
DegreeM.S., Geography, Penn State
DegreeB.S., Applied Geography, East Carolina University
Dr. Anthony C. Robinson is an associate professor and director of online geospatial education at Penn State. He is also assistant director for the GeoVISTA Center. Dr. Robinson is a cartographer who designs and evaluates geovisualization tools to improve geographic information utility and usability. He has worked in epidemiology, crisis management, national security, and education domains to develop and evaluate new methods for visualizing spatial data.
DegreeM.S., Geography, Penn State
DegreeB.A., Geography and Environmental Sciences, Northwestern University
Ryan Baxter advises students and teaches courses in topics including renewable energy, environmental applications of GIS, cloud and server GIS technologies, and introductory geographic information concepts. He is active in technical research projects involving spatial databases, online data discovery tools, interactive mapping applications, and cloud-based GIS services. He is also engaged in research investigating the spatial modeling of land use change, quantifying the amount of land available for bioenergy feedstocks, and assessing the suitability and productivity of energy crops.
DegreePh.D., Geosciences, University of Arkansas
DegreeM.S., Human Resource Management, Athens University of Economics & Business
Panagiotis Giannakis is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Geography and the Dutton e-Education Institute within the College of Earth & Mineral Sciences. He received his PhD from the University of Arkansas, where he also maintained a key role in the advancement of the Online Geospatial Certificate program. His research interests lie at the intersection of Economic Geography, Strategic Management, and Social Networks. More specifically, Panagiotis’ research focuses on the relationship between organizational and physical and/or social network space.
DegreeM.A., Geography, University of California - Santa Barbara
DegreeB.A., Geography, The University of Texas at Austin
Adrienne Goldsberry is an instructor as well as adviser for students in the Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems program. Before joining Penn State, she was an online instructor for Michigan State University's Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences and managed its online Professional Certificate in GIS. She also worked as an urban planner for jurisdictions in California, Texas, and Michigan.
DegreeM.Ed., Adult Education, Penn State
DegreeB.S., Geography, Penn State
Beth King is co-author and instructor of GEOG 483: Problem-Solving with GIS; GEOG 482: Making Maps that Matter with GIS; and GEOG 597G: Challenges in Global Geospatial Analytics. She is assistant program manager for Online Geospatial Education and maintains regular communication with students in the MGIS degree program to identify their questions and concerns. Previously, she worked as a GIS analyst for a private water/wastewater engineering firm, where she managed a wide range of GIS projects, from turnkey sanitary sewer conversion to 911 rural addressing.
DegreeM.S., Geographic Information Systems, Penn State
DegreeB.A., Liberal Arts, Penn State
DegreeB.S., Meteorology, Penn State
Karen Schuckman's teaching and research interests include applications of airborne and spaceborne remote sensing to topographic mapping, land-use/land-cover analysis, positional accuracy assessment of remotely sensed base map data products, and other geospatial applications.
DegreePh.D., Administration and Leadership Studies, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
DegreeMPA, Penn State
DegreeB.S., Criminal Justice, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Gregory Thomas has experience developing intelligence for decision-makers, supervising the analytical process, and providing team guidance. He also has experience teaching intelligence and analytical techniques to college students as well as intelligence analysts and law enforcement personnel. He has developed operational intelligence to support criminal investigations and anti-terrorism activities, and has selected, trained, and supervised analysts in a criminal intelligence center. His teaching and research focus on geospatial intelligence analysis, homeland security, and criminal intelligence.
DegreeM.S., Geoenvironmental Studies, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania
DegreeB.S., Public Administration, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania
Michelle Zeiders teaches GEOG 483: Problem-Solving with GIS; GEOG 484: GIS Database Development; and GEOG 487: Environmental Applications of GIS. She has been teaching introductory and software-intensive GIS courses since 1998. Prior to joining the geospatial education program, she worked as a GIS programmer/instructor for the Penn State Population Research Institute, a GIS project manager/instructor for the Institute for Transportation Research and Education at North Carolina State University, a GIS project manager at a private civil engineering firm, and a GIS analyst at MapQuest.