GIST Online Undergraduate Level Courses

NC State and the Center for Geospatial Analytics continue to develop new and exciting GIST online undergraduate level courses to introduce students to the fundamentals of theory and application of geospatial science and GIS across disciplines.

The courses listed below provide in-depth study of GIS. A number of other courses also exist in various departments, such as Forestry and Environmental Resources, Natural Resources, Environmental Technology, and Soil Science and Agriculture, that introduce the basics of GIS as applied in these settings. Students should consult with their advisors and the course catalog for specifics on those offerings.

Clicking on a course title below will lead you to a full description for that course. Topics and schedules are subject to change and students enrolled in the course should refer to the current semester’s syllabus presented by the instructor. GIST online undergraduate level courses are labelled ‘online‘ while courses meeting in a traditional classroom setting are labelled ‘classroom.

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
GIS 205 Spatial Thinking 3
GIS 295 Special Topics in GIS 3
GIS 280 Introduction to GIS 3


GIS 205: Spatial Thinking

  • Credits: 3
  • GEP: Interdisciplinary Perspectives
  • Prerequisites: None
  • Setting: Online
  • Mode of Interaction: Internet
  • Semesters Offered: Spring

Geospatial scientists are tasked with helping to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems, from managing disease outbreaks, ensuring adequate water resources, and planning for emergencies, to tracking landscape changes due to climate change, identifying susceptible populations, and protecting natural environments. This course serves as a general introduction to spatial and geospatial thinking within the context of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), exposing students to the foundational concepts of geospatial science with a focus on mulit-disciplinary spatial problem-solving and reasoning applicable in a wide range of fields. Students will be exposed to a variety of geospatial concepts to develop a solid foundation for applying geospatial thinking to everyday problems through demonstrations, lectures, and hands-on experiences using a variety of tools, while gaining the knowledge necessary to pursue additional technical coursework in GIS.


GIS 295: Special Topics in GIS

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisites: Contact Instructor
  • Setting: Depends on Topic
  • Mode of Interaction: Depends on Topic
  • Semesters Offered: Depends on Topic

Courses listed at GIS 295 are special topics courses at the undergraduate level that may change from semester to semester. Students should contact the instructors listed in the course catalog for course details and requirements. The current terms special topics offerings are listed below:

  • Spring 2018
    • Not available

GIS 280: Introduction to GIS

  • Credits: 3
  • Prerequisite: None
  • Setting: Online
  • Mode of Interaction: Internet, Face-to-Face Lab Sessions (optional)
  • Semester Offered: Fall, Spring

This course provides an overview of the operations and functions of geographic information systems [GIS]. Students develop a fundamental understanding of geographic information management and analysis methods. Emphasis is placed on the nature of geographic information, working with spatial data, and elementary geospatial analysis and modeling techniques. Students learn effective operation of GIS software and gain exposure to GIS tools that support these emphasis areas. Extensive independent learning and computer experiences include online laboratory sessions, alongside optional online or in-person weekly help sessions.

Upcoming Deadlines

  • Apply by Oct 15 for Spring
  • Apply by April 15 for Fall

Ready to get started?

Student Highlights

Student Project: Delineating Food Deserts in Raleigh

Explore GIST Career Paths