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Graduate Certificates | Geographic Information Systems

Geographic Information Systems

Entrance Exam: Not Required
College of Natural Resources

Would you like to establish yourself in GIS practice but are not yet ready to commit to a full graduate program? The Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems is for you! The Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems provides students with a graduate level academic credential in advanced Geospatial Information Science and Geographic Information Systems applications.

Building on NC State's strengths in technology, computational methods, and geographic information systems (GIS), this program provides professional, graduate-level academic preparation in the advanced application of GIS technologies to a wide spectrum of disciplines, including economics, public health, emergency planning and response, land use planning, environmental resources, etc. The certificate, which is also available to current NC State students enrolled in non-GIS graduate programs, forms the basis for the Master of Geospatial Information Science and Technology.


Admission to the certificate program requires a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university with at least a 3.0 GPA. Students with less than a 3.0 undergraduate GPA may still be considered for admission based on the remaining criteria, including other graduate coursework. These determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis. All applicants must submit:

  • Transcript showing Bachelor's degree conferred
  • A clear and concise personal statement/statement of interest
  • A resume/CV

For students already enrolled in another graduate program at NC State: You can apply to the certificate by using the contact information above and supplying your full name and student ID number prior to enrolling in your first certificate course or during the semester in which you enroll in your first certificate course.

Students may begin taking courses for the certificate in Fall or Spring academic terms.

Plan of Study

The Geographic Information Systems Graduate Certificate requires 12 credit hours. Six credit hours are core required courses and 6 hours are electives. The focus is on theory and applications of GIS and skill building. A final GPA of 3.0 or greater is required at the time of graduation to receive the certificate. Specific course requirements are listed on the program website.

Career Prospects

GIS careers exist in every imaginable discipline, from environmental science to mining to urban planning to commercial businesses to defense. Practitioners use GIS to visualize, analyze, and model systems to help in the planning and decision-making processes of their organizations. GIS is a burgeoning field, used across government, commercial, and educational organizations. Jobs and salaries vary widely by region, nation, discipline, and experience.