About the Program

Intended Audience

The GIS program is designed for professionals, students and the general public in environmental resource management, urban and regional planning, local government, facilities management, and other fields who need to become skillful and knowledgeable users of geographic information systems.

Register Early

GIS class size is limited due to the need for all students to have access to computer terminals. Registration for individual courses is on a first-come basis. To guarantee a space in a class, early registration is advised.

Length of GIS Program

The time it takes for current students, professionals, and the general public interested in GIS to complete a certificate of completion varies according to each student's availability and interests. The course requirements to earn a certificate may be completed in as short a time as four months – one semester – or students may choose to take as long as several years. On average, the time it takes a candidate to complete certification is six to nine months.

Location & Frequency of GIS Classes

Classes are offered in conjunction with the Department of Geography and the Institute for Geographic Information Science on the main SF State campus. Course sequences begin three times per year in late August, late January, and late May or early June. Classes are designed as intense two-day trainings scheduled for eight hours (8:30am - 5:30pm) per day on Friday and Saturday.

State-of-the-Art GIS Teaching Facility

The Department of Geography has a state-of-the-art computing facility to facilitate GIS instruction and research. Each student will have access to a Windows computer with the latest versions of ESRI ArcGIS, eCognition, ENVI and ERDAS Imagine for class/labs. You may find more information about this facility on the Geographic Analysis Teaching Laboratory website.

GIS Certificate Website

You may also find information about this program on the GIS Certificate website.

What Students Are Saying

The GIS Certificate Program at San Francisco State proved to be an excellent choice for me in my career transition to GIS. In a relatively short period of time, I obtained a great deal of hands-on experience and a wide of breadth of knowledge in the field, not to mention a credential that served quite valuable. I found the instructors in the program to be up-to-date in their knowledge of GIS technology and possessing overall excellent teaching skills. The class materials are well developed, and I have referred back to them over the years as a useful resource. I highly recommend the GIS Certificate Program at San Francisco State!

The GIS certificate program prepared me well for a position working as a GIS analyst. I was hired as a paid GIS intern only a few months after finishing the program and am working towards a full time position. The courses in the certificate program are very applicable to real-world scenarios and the take-home course materials are a great reference to have as I apply what I have learned to tasks at me new job. A huge thanks to all the instructors for organizing an effective curriculum that provides people the opportunity to enter into a career in GIS with a solid set of skills to build on.

Molly Barth, GIS Analyst/Intern, Milliman, Inc.

When I was initially looking for GIS work in the Bay Area, it was the peak of the recession and no one was hiring. But I managed to get an unpaid internship with the Fish and Wildlife service with nothing but the certificate for experience. I lived in Australia for nine months and I was able to get a GIS/geocoding position from a combination of work experience and the certificate. At the moment I am doing a GIS masters program in London. I was accepted to pretty much every grad school that I applied for and I think that is largely due to having completed the certificate program.


As a result of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014, CalJOBS provides connections to customer-focused employment training for adults and dislocated workers. SF State is an approved provider for WIOA funds. SF State is listed on the Eligible Training Provider List (ETPL) on the CalJOBS website. Search on Keyword: SF State.