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GIS Certificate

A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer system for capturing, storing, querying, analyzing, and displaying geographic data. Since its beginning, GIS has been important in natural resource management, such as land use planning, timber management, wildlife habitat analysis, riparian zone monitoring, and natural hazard assessment. In more recent years the range of GIS applications has broadened to include emergency planning, market analysis, facilities management, and transportation planning. GIS has become a mainstream information system, specializing in information that has a geographic or spatial component.

The opportunity to enhance your educational foundation in geographical information systems (GIS) or to strengthen your GIS credentials is available through the GIS Certificate in the Department of Earth and Spatial Sciences. GIS is the computer technology that uses digital information about earth surface features and location patterns to produce useful maps and analytical solutions to complex problems in physical, environmental, social, and economic sciences. Applications of GIS have expanded continuously during the past decade and GIS software has become very powerful, enabling complex problem solving in a wide variety of public and private sector settings worldwide.

The GIS Certificate is designed to serve students and professionals who are not able to complete the B.S. or M.S. degree, but who want a basic understanding of techniques and application potential of GIS. It is intended for current University of Idaho students and recent graduates in non-GIS majors, and professionals interested in retraining or upgrading their skills in GIS. The classes in the certificate provide basic skills of GIS and an introduction to GIS applications, integration of remote sensing with GIS, and knowledge of the research directions in GIS technology. A modern computer integrated classroom is available for those students pursuing the GIS Certificate.

Declaring the Certificate

If you are an undergraduate student, you can officially declare the certificate through VandalWeb. If you are a graduate student, fill out the change of curriculum form. You only need the first page – fill out the section at the bottom related to Adding Certificates. The department chair signs the form and then you turn it into the Office of the Registrar. There is no fee and no penalty if you declare the certificate but do not fulfill the requirements.

Forms are also available in the main office of the Department of Earth and Spatial Sciences (McClure 201).

If you have questions regarding how long this process will take, please contact Student Services.


Department of Earth and Spatial Sciences

Physical Address:
McClure 201

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3021
Moscow ID, 83843-3021

Geography: 208-885-6216
Geology: 208-885-6192