Professional Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Professional Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Classroom Program


12 months


24 Units

UCR Extension

Our instructors are pioneers in the field of GIS, bringing an incredible 140 years of GIS experience to the classroom. They work in government, private corporations and provide real-world expertise. Gain the knowledge, skills and hands-on experience to use GIS in any industry, and be recognized as a GIS professional.

Designed For

Individuals who:

  • Wish to enter the field of GIS or apply GIS applications in their current profession
  • Wish to sharpen current GIS skills and obtain a certificate to validate their expertise

What You'll Learn

  • Learn concepts and applications of GIS technology.
  • Obtain hands-on experience using the latest GIS software.
  • Use geospatial technology to develop solutions to issues facing communities and industry.
  • Explore interdisciplinary elements of GIS including cartography, topology, database design and spatial analysis.
  • Understand how GIS is used within health care, public works, natural and historical resources, environmental management and other fields.

What You Can Do With This Certificate

Positions are available in a variety of industries, and can be found in small firms or companies, corporations, government, or nonprofit organizations. They might include:

  • GIS Technician
  • GIS Analyst
  • GIS Coordinator or Manager
  • GIS Developer

Program Overview


18 Units


6 Units

“Utilizing GIS has helped my department's management team decide how to best allocate resources. The dynamics of the subject areas made this educational experience an amazing one!”

Maria Martha Moreno

CIS Business Systems Analyst III
Riverside County Department of Mental Health
Riverside, CA

Earning the Certificate

Prior to enrolling, please ensure that you meet the following minimum requirements:

Technology Requirements

You must have a PC with internet access and appropriate software.

GIS Internship

Participate in a GIS field study/internship (minimum: 60 hours) to earn 1.5 units toward your requirements.

Gateway to a Master's Degree

Some course credits may be applied toward a specialized MBA at La Sierra University.

For more information see How to Earn a Certificate

Certificate Courses

Our certificate programs are designed to be flexible, allowing you the option to take just a few courses or to earn the complete certificate. If choosing to complete the certificate, we recommend you get the most out of your experience by following the suggested completion path below.

Quarter 1

Practical Approaches for Implementing Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

ERT X450

3 units

Overview of the history, fundamentals, and techniques of the GIS industry and the basic implementation issues for business and governmental entities.  Main topics include:

  • GIS strategy in needs assessments
  • business processes,
  • application development
  • database specifications
  • project definitions

GIS software will be used hands-on to demonstrate practical solutions to real-world problems.

Quarter 2

Cartographic Design

ERT X104

3 units

One of the first things requested after an analysis is made with a geographic information system (GIS) is a map. This course is an in-depth study of cartographic techniques and methods employed in the creation of maps. Map design and content, design procedures, and production techniques are discussed. The course involves students in:

  • color selection
  • the use of text with maps
  • the creation of a "visual hierarchy" to assist the map reader getting the best out of the map

Thematic and general mapping with the use of GIS data are explored. Cartographic design strategies for both printed maps and web maps are discussed.

Introduction to Spatial Analysis

ERT X450.2

3 units

A general survey of available quantitative methods for spatial analysis using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Learn about the functionality of GIS as an effective tool to model and analyze complex spatial relationships. Examine:

  • Fundamental and theoretical components of spatial information for building topological relationships among spatial features and multiple map layers
  • Quantitative methods for pattern analysis and problem solving
  • Models and techniques for surface analysis, such as krigging, smoothing, filtering, inverse distance weighting, and distance-decay

Quarter 3

GIS Database Design

ERT X454.5

3 units

The goals and industry tools available for planning and implementing each phase. Physical design is emphasized using the ESRI Geodatabase. Geodatabase architecture is discussed and a variety of geodatabase behaviors, such as:

  • Domains
  • Subtypes
  • Annotation
  • Topology
  • Relationship

GIS Applications Lab

ERT X453.4

3 units

This course explores the tools in ArcGIS to develop and implement GIS projects from conception to finished product. Topics include:

  • database creation
  • data analysis
  • geodatabase concepts
  • spatial analysis concepts

Databases from local agencies are integrated into the course for analysis and to provide hands-on practice with real-world applications.

Quarter 4

Principles of Web GIS Applications

ERT X453.61

3 units

Web GIS is a promising field with great applicability to government, business, and our daily life. This course teaches you the state-of-the-art Web GIS technologies, including:

  • ArcGIS Online
  • Cloud GIS
  • ArcGIS Enterprise (Portal and Server)
  • smart mapping
  • story maps
  • web app templates
  • Web AppBuilder
  • Operations Dashboard
  • online analysis
  • ArcGIS API for JavaScript
  • Collector
  • other mobile GIS apps
  • 3D web scenes

Drones, real-time GIS, internet of things, and big data technologies will also be discussed in the context of Web GIS.

“I carried out my first GIS project while I was in high school in Ghana, plotting all government schools using ArcView GIS. I love teaching and sharing my knowledge in GIS with others. My students will go back to their jobs, or start a new one, with a new skill set and renewed minds as it relates to spatial thinking.”

Soloman Nimako

GIS Analyst
City of Rancho Cucamonga
Rancho Cucamonga, CA

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