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GIS Certificate

GIScience is an emerging specialization that combines various aspects of computer science with geographic information systems (GIS), remote sensing, cartographic visualization, spatial statistics, and global positioning systems (GPS) in studying and solving geographical problems. The purpose of the program is to prepare students to acquire, analyze, manage, visualize, and develop applications with geo-spatial data in public and private organizations.

The Certificate in GIScience is made possible through the joint efforts of the Departments of Geography and Computer Science.

Certificate Requirements

To earn the Certificate in GISciences, students must (a) apply for admission to the program by contacting the program director before the completion of 12 semester units of courses listed below and (b) complete the required units with a 2.5 grade point average. Non-SDSU students must enroll with SDSU Global Campus prior to taking courses. Nonmatriculated students can enroll in the certificate through the Open University program. For Open University information please see the Global Campus website or call the Global Campus registration office at 619-594-5152.

Certificate Curriculum

The Certificate requires 26 units distributed between the Departments of Geography and Computer Science as follows:

  • 104 - Geographic Information Science and Spatial Reasoning
  • 381 - Computerized Map Design
  • 484 - Geographic Information Systems (Required)
  • 580 - Data Management for Geographic Information Systems
  • 581 - Cartographic Design
  • 582 - GIS Programming with Python
  • 583 - Internet Mapping and Distributed GIServices
  • 584 - Geographic Information Systems Applications
  • 585 - Quantitative Methods in Geographic Research
  • 589 - GIS-Based Decision Support Methods
  • 591 - Remote Sensing of the Environment
  • 592 - Intermediate Remote Sensing of the Environment
  • 593 - GIS for Business Location Decisions
  • 596 - Advanced Topics in GIScience
  • 150 - Introductory Computer Programming (Required)
  • 150L - Introductory Computer Programming Lab (Required)
  • 160 - Intermediate Computer Programming (Required)
  • 160L - Intermediate Computer Programming Lab (Required)
  • 210 - Data Structures
  • 320 - Programming Languages
  • 503 - Scientific Database Techniques
  • 514 - Database Theory and Inplementation
  • 537 - Programming for GIS 
  • 551 - User Interface Environments

Courses with relevant content may be substituted for the geography and computer science courses listed above with the approval of the certified advisors.


For more information on how you can obtain a Certificate in GIScience while you meet the requirements for your undergraduate major, or as a post-baccalaureate student, contact:

Dr. Piotr Jankowski
Department of Geography
Office: SH 301C
Phone: (619) 594-0640
Email: [email protected]

Dr. Roger Whitney
Department of Computer Science
Office: GMCS 561
Phone: 619-594-3535
Email: [email protected]