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Applied Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in Natural Resources Undergraduate Certificate

The geographic information systems (GIS) in natural resources certificate program prepares students to apply GIS skills to analyze features and patterns of natural resources based on location and spatial relationships.

Visit the program website for more information.

Program Overview

This certificate offers options in a variety of courses for you to gain well-rounded skills related to GIS across several disciplines. You will learn to apply GIS applications in areas of environmental conservation, endangered species, wildlife, forestry, fisheries, watersheds, aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and nature education using Global Positioning Systems and software such as ESRI ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Pro.

This certificate is open to all degree and nondegree-seeking students.

Why Study Applied GIS in Natural Resources at Grand Valley?

  • Hands-on, experiential learning in indoor and outdoor field-based classes.
  • Understand how to collect field-based location data and imagery using state-of-the-art technology.
  • Develop spatial analytical skills emphasizing problem-solving, communication through maps, and the use of online GIS applications.
  • Gain well-rounded skills related to GIS across several disciplines.
  • Earn an extra credential to give you an edge over peers in the current job market.


For new students, visit the Admissions website for undergraduate requirements. Upon acceptance and for current students:

  • Declare your certificate via myBanner (Login to Banner Self-Service, click on Student, Student Records, Add a Certificate or Badge to your Program, Select the appropriate certificate from the drop down list, and click Submit)
  • Speak with the appropriate certificate coordinator to ensure criteria are being met (you will be able to track your progress toward the certificate in myPath as well!)
  • Once you are done with the requirements, apply to receive the certificate via myBanner.
  • Once the completion of your certificate has been verified, the certificate will be posted to your student record and will be viewable on your transcript. 

Location & Format

Undergraduate students in this major study at Grand Valley's Allendale Campus.

  • Face To Face


The certificate is 12-13 credits. Required:

  • NRM 250  Natural Resource Measurements and Mapping
  • NRM 405  GIS Applications in Natural Resources
  • NRM 450  Applied Spatial Analysis of Natural Resources

And one of the following:

  • CIS 160  Learn to Code in Python
  • GEO 425  GIS Applications in Geology
  • GPY 370  Introduction to Remote Sensing
  • GPY 407  Advanced GIS
  • STA 418/518  Statistical Computing and Graphics with R

Career Options

According to market analysis, the number of unique monthly job postings specifying competency in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has increased by 285% over the past 5 years. GIS is a common "add-on" skill for jobs related to wildlife biology, fisheries science, landscape ecology, field ecology, and natural resources management. More than 10% of job postings in those fields required GIS skills (, May 28, 2021).

For More Information

Biology Department
3300a Kindschi Hall of Science
(616) 331-2470

Admissions and Recruitment Office