Certificate in Geographic Information Systems

Overview
The Certificate in Geographic Information Systems is designed for those individuals seeking careers as GIS specialists, providing geographic data management, spatial analysis, and GIS system management support to professionals in a broad range of disciplines, such as criminal justice, health services, city and regional planning, civil and environmental engineering, transportation, and marketing. Certificate holders will seek employment in positions such as “GIS Specialist,” “GIS Analyst,” or “GIS Coordinator.”

The School of Architecture and Urban Planning, and the College of Letters and Science jointly offer the certificate. The core courses (12 credits) focus on the structure of geographic data, components for managing geographic information systems, spatial analysis, and delivery of geographic information through maps and displays. Students select the remaining 6 credits for the certificate from electives, which may include an internship, in areas such as remote sensing, map-making, and data management systems.

Upon completion of the certificate courses, a student is awarded the certificate which qualifies for 5 credential points in the GIS Certification Institute’s standards for professional certification in GIS.

Eligibility and Admission

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or a graduate degree to be accepted into the certificate program.

For international applicants, whose first language is not English, a score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) of at least 600 (250 on the computer-based version) or an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of 7.0 must also be submitted.

Application

  • Students wishing to obtain this certificate must declare their intention by applying to the program office or director.
  • All graduate certificate applicants—even those already enrolled in a UWM graduate program—must apply to the Graduate School via the Panthera Admission Application.
  • Graduate degree and previously admitted graduate non-degree students who decide to pursue a certificate program must submit the Panthera application before completing 6 credits in the certificate sequence.
  • Applicants must possess a baccalaureate degree and have a minimum 2.75 cumulative undergraduate grade point average to be admitted in to a certificate program.

Certificate Requirements

Credits and Courses
A minimum of 6 credits each in Urban Planning and Geography courses are required for completion of the certificate. To earn the Certificate, one must complete six semester-long courses (with a minimum of 18 credits), satisfy graduate school criteria for successful completion and maintain at least a B (3.00) average among the following courses:

Required Courses (12 cr)
Tier 1 (select one course)
GEOG 525 Geographic Information Science
UrbPlan 791 Introduction to Urban Geographic Information Systems for Planning

Tier 2 (select one course)
GEOG 625 Intermediate Geographic Information Science
UrbPlan 792 Using Urban Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Planning

Tier 3 (select two courses)
Geog 403 Remote Sensing: Environmental and Land Use Analysis
Geog 405 Cartography
Geog 647 ArcGIS Programming with Python
Geog 725 Advanced Geographic Information Science: Geographic Modeling
Geog 734 GIS and Society
Geog 960 Seminar: Geographic Techniques
UrbPlan 793 Applied Projects in Urban Geographic Information Systems
UrbPlan 794 Internet Geographic Information Systems
Anthro 562 Techniques and Problems in Archaeology
Bus Adm 749 Data Management Systems

Elective Courses (6 cr.)
Geog 403 Remote Sensing: Environmental and Land Use Analysis (if not selected above)
Geog 405 Cartography (if not selected above)
Geog 515 Watershed Analysis and Modeling
Geog 525 Geographic Information Science (if not selected above)
Geog 547 Spatial Analysis
Geog 625 Intermediate Geographic Information Science (if not selected above)
Geog 647 ArcGIS Programming with Python (if not selected above)
Geog 698 GIS/Cartography Internship
Geog 703 Advanced Remote Sensing
Geog 725 Advanced Geographic Information Science: Geographic Modeling (if not selected above)
Geog 734 GIS and Society (if not selected above)
Geog 750 Remote Sensing and Urban Analysis
Geog 960 Seminar: Geographic Techniques (if not selected above)
Geog 999 Independent Work (with appropriate topic)
UrbPlan 692 Special Topics in Urban Planning: “Transportation Planning and GIS” subtitle
UrbPlan 791 Introduction to Urban Geographic Information Systems for Planning (if not selected above)
UrbPlan 792 Using Urban Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Planning (if not selected above)
UrbPlan 793 Applied Projects in Urban Geographic Information Systems (if not selected above)
UrbPlan 794 Internet Geographic Information Systems (if not selected above)
UrbPlan 991 Legislative/Administrative Agency Internship
UrbPlan 999 Independent Study
Anthro 380 Anthropological Applications of GIS
Anthro 562 Techniques and Problems in Archaeology (if not selected above)
Anthro 768 Topics in Advanced Research Design in Anthropology
Bus Adm 749 Data Management Systems (if not selected above)
InfoSt 465 Legal Aspects of Information Products and Services
InfoSt 691 Economics of Information
InfoSt 714 Metadata (prerequisites strictly enforced)
Other courses as approved by the GIS Certificate Advisory Committee chairperson
Students will be advised by the Geography and Urban Planning faculty who teach GIS courses.

Grade Point Average Requirement
A minimum cumulative 3.00 grade point average in certificate courses taken at UWM is required.

Transfer Credit
No more than 20% of the required credits may be taken at an institution other than UWM. To be eligible for transfer, the course must have been completed within the last 2 years. These courses are subject to Graduate School transfer policy and must be approved by the director of the certificate program.

Articulation with Degree Programs

  1. Credits and courses required for a certificate may double count toward meeting UWM graduate degree requirements subject to the following restrictions:
    • Degree programs must approve the courses from certificates that can double count toward the degree.
    • All credits taken in completion of certificate requirements may count towards a UWM graduate degree as long as they do not contribute more than 90% of the total credits needed to obtain the degree. (Note: Students in Ph.D. programs must still complete the minimum residency requirements)
    • Certificate courses used toward meeting degree requirements must be completed within the time limit for transfer credit.
  2. Courses completed for a degree may be counted toward a subsequent certificate, subject to all certificate policy requirements.
  3. A course may count toward no more than one certificate and one degree.
  4. Students may not earn a certificate subsequent to a concentration in the same area.

Time Limit

Certificate program time limits shall be established as follows:

18 or fewer credits/Three years from initial enrollment in the certificate sequence.

19 or more credits/Four years from initial enrollment in the certificate sequence.

For certificates that are designed as add-ons to degree programs and are awarded concurrent with the degree, the time limit shall be the same as that of the degree program.