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2016-2017 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Technology - Certificate

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) allow you to map, model, query, and analyze large quantities of data according to their location. GIS benefits organizations in almost every industry. There is growing interest in the economic, environmental, and strategic planning value of GIS.

The GIS technology certification program is housed with the department of Geography and Sustainable Planning ( It is designed for GVSU students who want to add the GIS and remote sensing skills to their current major and/or minor and/or working professionals who wish to develop technical skills in GIS and remote sensing. The course focuses on practical applications of GIS and digital image processing technology and provides students with working competency and skillset required by potential employers. Students applying for admission into the certificate as a nondegree-seeking student should hold a high school diploma. Degree-seeking students must either be currently enrolled at a college or university, or hold at least an associate's degree from a recognized institution. Students may enroll part-time to complete the program. For more information, see

Program coordinator: Professor Gang Xu, Ph.D., department of Geography and Sustainable Planning

Reasons to study GIS technology:

  • An emerging field. Geospatial technology is one of the most important emerging fields in the United States according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
  • Marketability. GIS competency offers top jobs in a wide variety of sectors.
  • A competitive edge. Studying these technologies will give students an edge over peers in the current job market.
  • Practical application. Students will learn practical skills that will benefit their future careers.
  • Flexibility. Students can attend full- or part-time. Any major combined with this certificate creates a new hybrid skillset.
  • Affordability. An extra credential on your official transcript with little to no additional cost.

Our alumni have found rewarding careers such as environmental specialist, transportation analyst, urban planner, business GIS analyst, regional intelligence analyst, lead digital mapper, county GIS director.


Students will complete a minimum of 13 credit hours to receive certification in GIS. Up to six credits can be transferred from another institution (subject to course content approval).

Required Courses


Natural Resource Management Majors pursuing the NRM Resource Analysis Methods emphasis may substitute the following for GPY 200:

Topics Include:

  • GIS Science and Technology
  • Remote Sensing (satellite image interpretation)
  • Advanced GIS
  • Environmental, Social and Business Applications of GIS
  • Spatial Analysis Techniques
  • Computer Mapping

Geography Program Description

Click here for the program description.

If you are in need of assistance please submit any questions or comments.