Manipulate, Analyze and Apply GIS Data
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Geographic information systems (GIS) combine the age-old science of cartography with powerful technology to generate all types of valuable spatial and geographic data. These systems have countless applications in industry, government and academia and are continually being used in new ways to change our view of the world around us.
In this certificate program, you’ll gain in-depth knowledge about GIS and the diverse workplace applications for these systems. We’ll examine the range of information sources that can be combined to build a GIS database, including raw data, scanned maps, GPS positions and aerial photography. You’ll learn how these systems are used to support research and decision making in a wide variety of fields, including land-use planning, environmental science and disaster preparedness.
Professionals who use GIS in their current role and those interested in entering the field.
If you need a refresher or solid foundation before beginning this program, we recommend GIS: Presentation, Analysis & Problem-Solving.
If you're not a native English speaker, you’ll need to have basic English language skills to participate in this program. To learn more, see English Language Proficiency Requirements.
To enroll in this program, international students must have a visa that permits study in the United States. This program does not enable students to obtain or maintain F-1 visa status. For more information, see Admission Requirements for International Students.
You must have a computer that is no more than 5 years old with adequate memory, OS configuration and monitor resolution and a high-speed Internet connection. In terms of software, you’ll need Internet Explorer 5 or greater and the latest version of Firefox or Safari, and Windows Media Player. You may also need MATLAB, Maple and Microsoft Silverlight. Discounted student versions of some software are available at the UW Book Store. Visit Mediasite to see the requirements for viewing a Mediasite presentation.
You earn the certificate by regularly attending class and successfully completing all required courses. For more information, see Completing Your Program.
Instructors of the Certificate in Geographic Information Systems, discuss the many uses of GIS, curriculum highlights and the professional diversity of students in this hands-on program.
You’ll create a map based on GIS data using Esri ArcGIS for Desktop software (free one-year license provided).
Complete the courses listed below to earn the certificate. You may be able to take individual courses without enrolling in the certificate program; check the course pages for details.
Principles of Cartography & Thematic Design
GIS Data & Database Design
GIS Project Planning & Implementation
GIS Modeling & Analysis
Advanced GIS Analysis & Applications
GIS in Practice in the Pacific Northwest
Certificate in Geographic Information Systems
Approved by the UW Department of Geography and the UW College of Built Environments.
View this program's advisory board.
Each of our programs uses an advisory board to review content, guide design and recommend updates to ensure the program remains current as the field of study evolves. By tapping the minds of the top thinkers, doers and leaders in the field, we offer a transformational learning experience. The following individuals serve as the advisory board for this program.
Marina Alberti, Associate Professor, Department of Urban Design and Planning, University of Washington
Martin Balikov, Director of Consulting Services, ESRI
Rovy Branon, Vice Provost, University of Washington Continuum College
Kirsty Burt, Kirsty Burt Geographic Information Services
Philip Hurvitz, GIS Specialist, College of Forest Resources, University of Washington
Eric McConaghy, Legislative Analyst, Council Central Staff, Legislative Department, City of Seattle
Tom Nolan, Information Technology Director, City of Seattle and Seattle Public Utilities
Timothy Nyerges, Professor, Department of Geography, University of Washington
John Schlosser, President, Schlosser Geographic Systems
Janice Thomson, Landscape Scientist, The Wilderness Society
With the exception of the one-time application fee, certificate program fees are charged on a quarterly basis. Payment is due when you register.
Course fees do not include any costs for class materials such as textbooks and software.
Drops, Withdrawals & Refunds
Attend class in person at one of our convenient locations. You’ll engage face to face with your classmates and instructors as part of a highly interactive curriculum. An online learning management system may be required to access some course materials and assignments.
Our special blended programs combine the convenience of online study with the vibrancy of in-person classes for a unique learning experience.
Not available for this program
Enjoy the flexibility of online learning, which allows you to participate in class activities, assignments and discussions on your schedule, from anywhere. Experience cutting-edge technology and a supportive, diverse learning community.
Senior GIS Analyst, Seattle Public Utilities
Corporate GIS Manager, City of Seattle
Supervisor, GIS Products & Services, City of Seattle
Applications Developer, Seattle Police Department
Steve Savage, GISP
Senior GIS Analyst
City of Seattle - SDOT
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