Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Certificate

GIS Admission Requirements

Because the program is for a professional development certificate, there is no formal application process. There are no prerequisites for GEOG 9003 Introduction to GIS, though familiarity with maps or geographic concepts is recommended. GEOG 9003 Introduction to GIS is a prerequisite for most other GIS courses.

You can register for and attend individual classes or multiple classes anytime during the semester. Participants may complete the program requirements and receive a certificate of completion or attend just those classes that are of particular interest.

GIS Curriculum

The GIS Certificate is a Professional Development Certificate, and courses carry CEUs, nationally recognized units of measurement for professional development and training. There are two certificate options, the general certificate and the Certificate in Environmental Analysis.

Participants may complete the program requirements and receive a certificate of completion, or attend just those classes that are of particular interest. Candidates for the general certificate designation must pass each of the five core courses (8 CEUs), plus earn an additional 9.6 or 10.4 CEUs from the list of elective courses (for a minimum of 17.6 CEUs). Candidates for the Certificate in Environmental Analysis must also pass the five core courses, but are required to choose five elective courses from Elective Tier I, and two courses from Elective Tier II (for a minimum of 19.2 CEUs). Once a candidate has completed the necessary coursework an application for the certificate of completion must be submitted.

Core Required Courses

All required core courses are twice a year (spring and fall semester) and some are offered more frequently.

Core courses and the semesters in which they are offered

Course Title Fall Spring Summer
"•" indicates that the course is offered
"*" indicates that the class is usually offered
Introduction to GIS
Managing a GIS Project  
Cartographic Design for GIS  
Database Design & Management for GIS  
Data Acquisition for GIS *

Elective Courses (General Certificate)

Elective courses offer in-depth instruction in a variety of geospatial applications and advanced skills in geospatial techniques and technology. The range of elective options allows students to gain broad exposure to different areas of geographic information systems or to concentrate their studies to a particular area of interest. Completing the program will result in as many as 18.4 CEUs and a cost of as much as $4,445, depending on the electives chosen.

All electives are offered on a rotating basis. Some electives are offered once a year, and some are offered more frequently.

General certificate elective courses and the semesters in which they are offered

Course Title Fall Spring Summer
"•" indicates that the course is offered
Raster GIS & Analysis  
Using GPS for GIS    
Introduction to Remote Sensing    
Remote Sensing with LiDAR    
Spatial Analysis & Modeling    
Scientific Visualization in GIS    
Introduction to Programming ArcGIS    
GIS & Remote Sensing Applications for Coastal & Marine Scientists    
Watershed GIS    
Developing Rich Internet Mapping Applications    
GIS in Crime Analysis    
Spatial Analysis of Public Health Data    
Further Exploration of ArcGIS  
Processing GIS Data ModelBuilder & Python    
Building a Geodatabase    
Introduction to R    
GIS for Sustainable Planning & Urban Design    
Ecological Applications of GIS    
2D & 3D Mapping with Drones    

Elective Courses (Certificate in Environmental Analysis)

In order to guide students through an effective series of courses, environmentally focused courses are categorized into two tiers. Tier I consists of courses that emphasize fundamental skills related to environmental GIS analysis. Tier II is composed of courses that allow students to specialize in particular areas such as satellite image processing or GIS programming. Completing the program will result in as many as 20 CEUs and a cost of as much as $4,840, depending on the electives chosen.

Tier I elective courses and the semesters in which they are offered

TIER I - Course Title Fall Spring Summer
"•" indicates that the course is offered
Raster GIS & Analysis  
Processing GIS Data ModelBuilder & Python    
Ecological Applications of GIS    
Watershed GIS    
Introduction to Remote Sensing    
Spatial Analysis & Modeling    
GIS & Remote Sensing Applications for Coastal & Marine Scientists    
Using GPS for GIS    

Tier II elective courses and the semesters in which they are offered

TIER II - Course Title Fall Spring Summer
"•" indicates that the course is offered
Remote Sensing with LiDAR    
Scientific Visualization in GIS    
Introduction to Programming ArcGIS    
Building a Geodatabase    
Introduction to R for Spatial Data Analysis    
Developing Rich Internet Mapping Applications    
GIS for Sustainable Planning & Urban Design    
2D & 3D Mapping with Drones    

Waivers

We will waive GEOG 9003: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems if you have successfully completed an equivalent GIS course at another university. However, we do not allow any additional waiving of courses. Please note that all our courses are now taught in ArcGIS Pro, so if this is new to you, we recommend working through some of the tutorials on Esri Training to familiarize yourself with the new interface. Note that you will still be required to complete the minimum number of CEUs (17.6) to apply for a certificate after waiving GEOG 9003. When applying for the certificate after you have completed all coursework, include documentation of intro-level GIS experience (e.g., a transcript or description of work experience) and write “Waive” in the term registered line of the application form.

If you have prior work experience that may qualify you to waive GEOG 9003, please consult the Associate Director, Anna Studwell (astudwel@sfsu.edu) or Director, Jerry Davis (jerry@sfsu.edu) to determine whether you're eligible.

Substitutions

We will allow direct substitutions for College of Extended Learning GIS Certificate courses for SF State students according to the GIS Certificate SF State Equivalencies List (PDF). In order to apply academic coursework toward the GIS certificate, an unofficial transcript must be included when submitting the GIS certificate application and write “Substitute, GEOG 90XX” with the equivalent course name in the term registered line of the application form.

Textbooks & Materials

All materials for classes are provided by the program and included in the cost. To assist in the hands-on learning process, free one-year (time out) student license of Esri ArcGIS (Advanced level) and Spatial, Geostatistical, and 3D Analysts ($29,000 retail value) are available to students completing the certificate program. Additionally, students completing the program are provided free access to certain Esri Virtual Campus courses, online training options for learning Esri software and GIS concepts, to supplement their training experience through the SF State GIS certificate program.

How to Apply for the GIS Certificate

Once a student has completed the necessary coursework, an application for the Certificate of Completion must be submitted. Applications for the certificate are due, along with a $50 non-refundable fee and unofficial SF State transcripts, after all grades have been submitted, showing completion of all necessary classes.

Download the GIS Certificate Application below. Mail applications with check made out to SFSU-CEL to:

SF State Extended Learning
GIS Certificate Program/Special Sessions
835 Market Street, 6th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

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