Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems

The Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provides students with a graduate level academic credential in advanced GIS applications. This program is designed for students who wish to establish themselves in GIS practice, enhance current skill sets, or are not yet ready to commit to a full graduate program. The Certificate can be completed entirely online and is also available to current NC State students enrolled in a non-GIS graduate degree. The entire Graduate Certificate in GIS program requires 12 credit hours. Up to 12 credit hours can be applied to the MGIST degree if accepted into that program.  The Certificate program is administered through the Center for Geospatial Analytics, the intellectual hub for geospatial education and research at NC State.


Prospective Students (Not Currently Enrolled at NC State)

Admissions to the Graduate Certificate in GIS program is based on performance as an undergraduate in a related discipline and potential for success in graduate level GIS courses.  To be admitted into the program, at a minimum students must have:

  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited university with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (lower GPA’s may be considered case-by-case).
  • Interest and/or experience in GIS and its applications

Please visit our Apply page for a detailed description of the application process and necessary materials that must be submitted with your application.

Current NC State Graduate Students

Graduate students in other disciplines across campus are eligible to pursue the Graduate Certificate in GIS, as long as 18 credit hours (Masters) or 36 credit hours (PhD) remains unique to those programs.  Students must submit the appropriate form to enroll in the certificate program. Visit our Apply page for full details.

NC State Undergraduates

If you are a NC State undergraduate interested in taking courses towards the GIS Certificate, you must first talk with your advisor and contact us.

Per the Graduate School Policy, undergraduate students who wish to enroll in graduate level courses (500 and above) may only transfer 6 credit hours into the Certificate program for courses not taken as part of another degree requirement. Therefore, to receive the GIS Certificate, current undergraduates can only take 6 credit hours of 500 level GIS courses before graduation. Upon graduation, the student must apply to the Graduate Certificate in GIS program through the Graduate School using the steps above to complete the remaining courses. The same course restrictions apply.


Visit NC State’s Graduate Online and Distance Education Tuition rates page for detailed information about graduate tuition and fees.  The total cost of your program will vary based on several factors, including residency status (in-state or out of state), program (distance education or on-campus), and the total credit hours you take.

Technology and Software Requirements

The Graduate Certificate in GIS, by its nature, requires knowledge and use of technology to perform course assignments and project tasks.  At a minimum, computers should meet the following specifications:

  • Intel i5 (or AMD equivalent) process or faster
  • 8 GB of RAM (minimum)
  • 250 GB hard drive (500 GB recommended)
  • Windows operating system (or ability to run windows on a Mac)
  • Strong Ethernet connection

Students will be exposed to a variety of software programs throughout their time in the program. All of the software we use in our program will be freely available to students and can generally be accessed in several ways, either by downloading a copy to a personal computer and accessing a remote license, or using NC State’s Virtual Computing Laboratory and Remote Desktop to remotely access necessary software on an NC State computer. Much of the software is also available on-campus in computer laboratories.


The Graduate Certificate in GIS curriculum is designed to provide a well-rounded education to students seeking to increase their basic GIS credentials. To earn a certificate, you are required to complete 12 credit hours (2 required courses and then your choice of electives).

Students who wish to substitute a different 500/600 level GIS course for one of those listed below should consult with the program, otherwise the course may not count towards the Certificate. No transfer credit is allowed for courses taken outside NC State.

Students that took GIS 410 as an undergraduate at NC State cannot transfer those hours into the Certificate but may be able to waive GIS 510 and substitute another course to meet the 12 credit hour requirement.  Students in this situation should consult with the program.

Core Required Courses (6 credits)

Electives (6 credits)

At least 3 credit hours of electives must come from a course with a ‘GIS’ prefix.

GIS Electives

Some of our other advanced GIS courses (such as GIS 540, GIS 550) are restricted to Masters students as a required part of their curriculum. For any restricted course, if there is space, exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case evaluation by contacting the instructor.

Other Electives
There are a number of electives outside of GIS that many of our students have also found useful.  Some of these are listed below.  Students should consult the course catalog for the most up to date course descriptions and semester offerings.  For courses not listed here, students should consult with the program for approval prior to enrolling in the course.

Engineering, Biological, and Agricultural Electives

  • BAE 535 Precision Agriculture Technology
  • BAE 536 GIS Applications for Precision Agriculture

Forestry and Environmental Resources Electives

  • Check back soon!

Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Science Electives

  • MEA 511 Introduction to Meteorological Remote Sensing
  • MEA Special Topics

Soil Science Electives

  • SSC 540 GIS in Soil Science and Agriculture
  • SSC 545 Remote Sensing Applications in Soil Science and Agriculture

Statistics Electives

  • ST 507 Statistics for Behavioral Science I
  • ST 508 Statistics for Behavioral Science II
  • ST 511 Experimental Statistics for Biological Science I
  • ST 512 Experimental Statistics for Biological Science II
  • ST 533 Applied Spatial Statistics
  • Other 500-level ST courses

Learning Environment

Students in the Graduate Certificate in GIS program will have access to state-of-the-art online course delivery methods and will participate in unique, interactive experiences throughout the program.  Our program primarily uses Moodle and Blackboard Collaborate to manage and deliver course content to students via recordings, live online lectures, and interactive forums, in conjunction with more traditional lecture materials, such as PowerPoint presentations and texts.  Students will learn both synchronously (live interaction at a set time) and asynchronously (flexible timing).

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Upcoming Deadlines

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

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