Geographic Information Systems

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) & Geospatial Technology

The University of Michigan-Flint is offering a revised undergraduate certificate program in GIS and Geospatial Technology Certificate to fill a growing demand for geospatial professionals. The program offers a blend of hands-on training and foundational GIS concepts, in both online and traditional learning environments. The certificate will provide students with a suite of spatial thinking and mapping skills that will allow them to understand how geospatial technology can enrich analysis and improve decision making in a variety of disciplines.  

The GIS and  GIS and Geospatial Technology Certificate meets a growing demand for geospatial professionals with advanced skills in spatial analysis and spatial data science. The program offers a blend of hands-on training and foundational GIS concepts, in both online and traditional learning environments. The certificate will provide students with a suite of spatial thinking and mapping skills that will allow them to understand how geospatial technology can enrich analysis and improve decision making in a variety of disciplines. The certificate will also serve to complement a student’s major degree, especially if there is an interest and need for cartography, database management, or spatial analysis skills.

The certificate is open to all students admitted to degree or non-degree study at the University of Michigan-Flint. In order to receive the certificate students must complete all course work with a mean GPA of 2.5 or higher.


The program offers:

  • A broad-based curriculum
  • Internationally recognized faculty
  • Hands-on training from leading GIS professionals
  • A diverse and active student body
  • State-of-the-art facilities and resources
  • Flexible scheduling options, including online courses offered in late-afternoons, evenings; and mixed-mode and online classes to accommodate students who work full-time

Certificate Format

The Certificate in GIS and Geospatial Technology at UM-Flint consists of five classes and 17-18 credits. The content is specifically designed to provide training in accordance with the U.S. Department of Labor Geospatial Technology Competency model. You can view the complete class listing and descriptions in the catalog.

The majority of courses are offered online, but some are also in a traditional or mixed-mode format. The curriculum is organized in two basic tiers:

Tier one: Core topics 

  • Five parts of a GIS (hardware, software, data, people, methods). 
  • Data types: raster, vector
  • Projections
  • Metadata
  • Finding/evaluating data
  • Data storage (geodatabases, shapefiles)
  • Web GIS

Tier two: Advanced topics

  • Spatial data science
  • Spatial statistics
  • Project Management
  • Advanced geoprocessing
  • GIS programming
  • Focused applications such as: biology, natural resource management, urban planning, public health, anthropology, and sociology)

Careers

Thanks to continuous advances in technology, the GIS industry is growing at a rapid rate. Some sectors that employ those skilled in GIS include:

  • Environmental Sciences
  • Archaeology
  • Defense & Intelligence
  • Public Health
  • Urban & Regional Planning
  • Government

The GIS industry is expected to reach $17.5 billion by 2023. Additionally, The Geospatial Information and Technology Association (GITA) has indicated that geospatial information technology has steadily been growing by 35% per year, and the U.S. Department of Labor recently identified the geospatial technology sector as one of the three technology areas that would create the greatest number of new jobs in the next decade.

Next Steps

If you’d like to learn more about the GIS Certificate, contact Dr. Greg Rybarzyk, GIS Program Director, at grybar@umich.edu. Please put “GIS Certificate” in the subject line. 

You’re encouraged to reach out as soon as possible, to identify a schedule that will allow you to complete the certificate in a timely manner. We look forward to hearing from you!


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