geographic information scientist surveying
College of Arts and Sciences

Geographic Information Science

Advance Your Career. Earn Your GIS Certificate.

Update your skills in our flexible part-time GIS certificate program taught by the same award-winning scientists who teach the GISc master’s degree.

Course Delivery
100% online
Total Credits
15
Approximate Tuition Cost
$695 in state
$705 out of state
Time to Completion
Graduate in as few as 12 months
Program Overview

Kent State University’s Department of Geography offers you two online GIS certificate programs to choose from: the Environmental GISc Graduate Certificate and the General GISc Graduate Certificate.

Learn essential technical skills in this lucrative, rapidly changing field with targeted professional skills development courses. Gain the foundational knowledge you need to stay current with instruction on core concepts and principles.

Our geographic information systems certificate programs:

  • Are open to people with bachelor’s degrees
  • Offer asynchronous online flexibility
  • Have a part-time workload with focused, 7-week courses

See the Courses

Earning your GIS certificate could be just the beginning of your professional GISc education. You can transfer 12 credits from Kent’s online GIS certificate programs to the Master of Geographic Information Science (MGISc) degree when you decide to continue.

Because we know the value of your time, there is no GRE requirement and the application process is straightforward.

Learn More About Admissions

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Kent State ranks among the best in our category for our service to members of the extended military community, including active service members, spouses, and veterans. The Military Friendly® designation considers job placement, graduation and retention rates viewed through a mix of public and proprietary data and personal opinion surveys of veterans.

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Time for a Quick Career Upgrade?

You know that you need to keep up with the latest technology and advances to stay competitive in your career. But between work and family obligations, it can be hard to fit in the time to take GIS courses.

Earn your online GIS certificate from Kent State in as little as one year. Our flexible, 100% online courses make it easy to schedule your studies around your life. With two different certificate options, you can choose the program that fits your needs and interests.

Learn the Technology and the Science Behind It

Like the online MGISc, our two GIS certificate programs give you a strong conceptual grounding to help you master current and future technology, plus instruction on today’s widely used tools.

Learn from award-winning professors who embody the idea of engaged science and collaborate with other working professionals in small-cohort classes. Build your professional network as you build your credentials.

Build an Industry-Spanning Skill Set

The skills you hone with a GIS graduate certificate from Kent State can open up career possibilities across industries, ranging from marketing and logistics to environmental science, government and non-profit agencies. As industries across the spectrum increasingly rely on data and technology, your professional GIS skills will be in high demand.

Geographic information science (GISc) is a broadly applicable degree that can be used in many fields around the world, including healthcare, climatology, urban development, national parks and more. Working in GISc could take you to places as different as a laboratory or the deep wilderness.
$83,680
Average geoscientist salary1


Post-graduation salaries average from $68,900 to $104,100 depending on the job title and sector.2 The industry-spanning GIS discipline and related geospatial industry contribute $350 billion to the global economy each year, and the demand for GIS professionals is still growing.3, 4

The salary and security, along with the high levels of personal satisfaction and work-life balance that GISc professionals report, can repay your investment of time, money and effort in the GIS certificate many times over.



Learn more about potential careers in

What are the benefits of an Environmental GISc Graduate Certificate?

Students in the Environmental GISc certificate program will focus their work on the use of GIS to understand environmental resources, changes and hazards. Experts in the fields of emergency management, public safety and homeland security depend on geospatial technologies and mapping for planning, response, mitigation and recovery activities.

Graduates will be prepared for a wide range of government and private sector consulting positions that assist with these activities.

Our graduates often pursue careers with:

  • Local, state and federal government agencies
  • Logistics-focused businesses
  • Nonprofit agencies in health services and environmental management

What skills will I develop with an Environmental GISc Graduate Certificate?

As a student in the Environmental GISc certificate program you can choose courses that suit your interests. Through your coursework, you can gain fluency in:

  • Standard mapping and spatial analysis procedures
  • Forms of data dissemination
  • Methods and applications of some of common statistics found in geographic work
  • Techniques used to process, manage, visualize and analyze environmental data using GISc
  • Essential concepts and skills needed to create and develop a geodatabase
  • Map design and the art of map construction
  • The basic principles of environmental remote sensing

A basic knowledge of GIS is required. Otherwise, the student will need to take an additional introductory GIS course (GEOG 59071 Fundamentals of GIS).

When you enroll, your Admissions Outreach Advisor can help you design the optimal course list.

What are the benefits of a General GISc Graduate Certificate?

Our General GISc certificate program helps you prepare for interesting, impactful roles in both the public and private sectors. Use your expertise in geospatial technology to manage large systems and work with large data sets to map and analyze conditions and resources.

Our graduates often work in:

  • Local, state and federal government agencies
  • Logistics-focused businesses
  • Marketing and engineering companies
  • Nonprofit agencies in health services and environmental management

What skills will I develop with a General GISc Certificate?

As a student in the General GISc Certificate program, your core courses will cover GIS data management, analysis, modeling, programming tools and cartographic design.

Electives shape the curriculum to suit your interest and hone your skills in your choice of these areas:

  • Data science, algorithms and programming
  • Quantitative methods and spatiotemporal analytics
  • Cyber applications of GIS
  • Health applications of GIS
  • Urban and economic applications of GIS
  • The use of GIS in hazard research and management
  • The basic principles of environmental remote sensing

No prior GIS experience required. Learn the basics to get up and running.

Courses

Access your course content anytime, anywhere you can connect to the internet with our user-friendly digital platform. Easily connect with your classmates and instructors for meaningful collaborations and learning experiences.

GISc Certificate Courses
Choose a minimum of 15 credits from the following courses:*

GEOG 59072 GIS and Health (3 Credits)

Geographic theory and methods serve as the connection among disparate disciplines focused on how and why “health” varies between regions, cities and neighborhoods. Students examine how geospatial technologies, especially GIS, have become an important health analysis tool.

GEOG 59078 Geographic Information Science and Environmental Hazards (3 Credits)

The study and management of natural hazards are inherently reliant on both physical and human processes and spatial patterns. Given the many variables involved and the variety of scales at which they operate, use of geographic information system (GIS) has become standard practice in research on hazards and in their management by government agencies at all levels. Students are exposed to a wide array of spatial data that is used in these activities, as well as standard mapping and spatial analysis procedures and forms of data dissemination.

GEOG 69004 Quantitative Methods in Geography (3 Credits)

Explores the methods and applications of some of the most common statistics found in geographic work. It explores probability theory, spatial statistics, estimation procedures, hypothesis testing, spatial sampling, methods of areal association, correlation and regression analysis, and principal components analysis. Theory and execution of these methods are equally emphasized, and applications to geographic problems are examined within each theme.

GEOG 69079 Environmental Geographic Information Science (3 Credits)

Prerequisite: GEOG 59070

GPS and environmental spatial data are commonly used in a variety of management and assessment plans in fields related to environmental science to achieve effective decision-making and environmental resource management. This course will focus on techniques used to process, manage, visualize and analyze environmental data using GIS. Students will learn how to collect and process GPS and online sources of geospatial data and how to employ techniques such as suitability modeling, measuring distributions and calculating landscape metrics.

GEOG 69083 Geodatabases (3 Credits)

Prerequisite: GEOG 59070

Essential concepts and skills needed to efficiently create a geodatabase, add data to it and realistically model the real-world spatial relationships inherent to the data. Students will learn about geodatabase features that help ensure data integrity over time and about storing and managing geographic data.

GEOG 69164 Cartographic Design (3 Credits)

Introduces students to the principles of map design and the art of map construction. Students will become familiar with the cartographic process, especially as they apply basic mapping concepts such as scale, projections, typography, generalization, symbols, color scheme and classification to the design and production of thematic maps. Students will also learn how to describe and manipulate spatial data and how to select an appropriate map type for a given task and data set. This course builds on students’ experiences with GIS to focus on the design needed to disseminate information beyond users of the software and produce effective print and web maps. Class exercises will provide hands-on experience in using GIS and graphic software packages. Principles and experiences learned in class will equip students with the fundamental skills necessary to effectively communicate graphic information through maps.

GEOG 69231 Environmental Remote Sensing (3 Credits)

Introduction to the basic principles of environmental remote sensing, including the electromagnetic spectrum, spectral properties of Earth objects, aerial photograph analysis and interpretation, and satellite image analysis and interpretation. Special focus will be on environmental applications, especially as they pertain to understanding vegetation, water and land use mapping and impacts.

Tuition and Financial Aid
Ohio ResidentsOut of State
Per Credit Hour$695$705
Approximate Program Cost $10,425$10,575

An additional distance learning fee for all students enrolled in a distance learning course is $12 per credit hour. Program tuition and costs are estimated and subject to change. For comprehensive tuition information, please refer to the tuition rates posted on the Bursar’s website.

We recognize that pursuing a graduate degree is a significant investment. Your Admissions Outreach Advisor can answer your questions on program costs, discuss how a Kent State degree compares to others and connect you with financial aid representatives when you are ready to discuss your financial options.

Please contact an Admissions Outreach Advisor for more information on tuition and fees either by email at online@kent.edu or call us at +1 330-672-8671

Admissions Requirements

The master’s and graduate certificate programs have the same straightforward requirements:

  • Completed online application
  • Complete bachelor’s degree, with a GPA of 2.75 or higher (on a 4.0 scale), from an accredited university
  • Two letters of recommendation from professors and/or employers
  • Application fee: $45
  • Official transcripts
  • Goal statement
  • Resume/CV
  • No GRE required for admission
Important Dates
Dec
1
Application Deadline
Spring 2024 Term
Jan
16
First Day of Classes
Spring 2024 Term
May
1
Application Deadline
Summer 2024 Term
The application process is simple and we’re here to guide you through it.

Our Admissions Outreach Advisors are available to answer your questions regarding admissions requirements for the program. If you have questions, please email us at online@kent.edu or call us at +1 330-672-8671.

Application FAQs
Create an account in the online application system to save your work and track the progress of materials submitted via the application system.

I am a U.S. citizen. Where should I send my application materials?

If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident, all required application materials should be sent to the Division of Graduate Studies at gradapps@kent.edu or by mail to:

Division of Graduate Studies
Kent State University
Cartwright Hall
P.O. Box 5190
Kent, OH 44242

Please be sure to include your full name and Kent State ID (9-digit number starting with 8) on all submitted documents. For questions, contact Graduate Admissions at +1 330-672-2661 or gradapps@kent.edu.

I am not a U.S. citizen. Where should I send my application materials?

If you are not a U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. resident, all required documents should be submitted to the Office of Global Education at intladm@kent.edu or by mail to:

Office of Global Education
Kent State University
106 Van Campen Hall
625 Loop Rd.
Kent, OH 44242
USA

For questions, contact International Admissions at +1 330-672-7970 or intladm@kent.edu.

Technology Requirements

Courses are delivered through our course management system, Canvas. Course content consists of text, narrated PowerPoint presentations, video and audio, live chats, discussion groups, and other learning enhancements.

Course requires access to GIS software to complete coursework. Ensure that your computer meets ArcGIS Pro requirements.

To participate in this online program, you will need a computer and broadband Internet connection. Your program may have further requirements that include the ability to record video and audio. If you have questions regarding technology requirements for the program, please contact your Admissions Outreach Advisor at online@kent.edu or at +1 330-672-8671.

Other Programs You Might Like
As a student in our online Master’s in GISc, you will have the opportunity to learn from thought leaders in such diverse areas as applied climatology, agriculture, conservation, economic geography, public health, urban growth and sustainability, crime, disaster relief and spatial privacy. Our online MGISc program helps you advance your career through a combination of essential theory and applied skills, including technology, analysis and programming.
Kent State University’s Department of Geography offers you two online GIS certificate programs to choose from: the Environmental GISc Graduate Certificate and the General GISc Graduate Certificate. Learn essential technical skills in this lucrative, rapidly changing field with targeted professional skills development courses. Gain the foundational knowledge you need to stay current with instruction on core concepts and principles.
Kent State University’s online Master of Arts in Criminology and Criminal Justice helps you harness your analytical skills and professional drive for an impactful career in public service. Shape the justice system from the inside as a skilled criminologist or criminal law professional with the theoretical and practical insights gained in the interdisciplinary master’s in criminal justice.

Related Reading from the Kent State Online Blog

Check out one of our featured blog posts below
Careers in GIS are in demand more than ever. Equipped with data visualization and spatial analysis skills, GIS professionals qualify for occupations in countless fields.1
Even if you’re considering enrolling in a GIS program and pursuing a GIS master’s degree, you may not realize how prevalent Geographic Information Science (GISc) is in our world.
The American Geophysical Union (AGU) recently appointed Scott Sheridan, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Geography and professor in the online Geographic Information Science (GISc) programs, to its inaugural cohort for the Leadership Academy and Network for Diversity and Inclusion in the Geosciences (AGU LANDInG). AGU LANDInG’s Academy is a 2-year commitment supporting its participating Fellows to move from diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) advocacy to DEI leadership through concrete efforts with a focus on evidence-based resources and practices.