Geographic Information Systems

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) & Geospatial Technology

Geospatial technologies are becoming central to a variety of disciplines including environmental management, energy development, agribusiness, marketing and store location, supply-chain logistics, public health, social science, planning, and environmental science. The undergraduate certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Geospatial Technology builds on the long-standing tradition of spatial science education at the University of Michigan-Flint and is designed to meet the needs of the ever-growing geospatial job market. The main program goal is to provide students, pre-professionals, and working professionals a suite of marketable skills in spatial data analysis, geospatial technology, data management, field data collection, and visualization. The certificate can be obtained online and will complement a student’s major degree. The online and face-to-face formats of this certificate program provides the flexibility to accommodate working professionals, military service members, and international students.

The program offers:

  • A broad-based, but technical curriculum that can be completed in 3 semesters
  • Internationally recognized faculty
  • Hands-on training from leading GIS professionals
  • State-of-the-art facilities and industry standard GIS software
  • Service and internship opportunities. After graduation, you’ll be qualified to seek entry-level employment as an analyst or technician.
  • Spatial intelligence knowledge that you can use to address today’s complex social, urban, rural, environmental health problems


The GIS Certificate at UM-Flint consists of seven classes and 17-18 credits and be completed in as little as 3 semesters. You can view the complete class listing and descriptions in the catalog. The courses are largely online, but can be offered in mixed-mode and traditional formats. The curriculum is simple and organized into core courses and one elective.

Core courses: Key topics

  • Geospatial hardware, software, data, people, and methods
  • Data types: raster, vector
  • Projections
  • Metadata
  • Finding/evaluating data
  • Data management
  • Online mapping
  • Mapping ethics

Elective courses: Advanced topics

  • Geospatial analytics
  • Python programming in GIS
  • Public health
  • Smart Cities
  • Transportation analysis
  • Ecological modeling
  • GIS for environmental management
  • Location analytics
  • Spatial Statistics
  • GIS Project management
  • WebGIS
  • Cartographic analysis

Tier three: Content knowledge
At least one elective is required for the completion of the GIS Certificate. Elective classes cover a variety of topics related to GIS, including biology, natural resource management, urban planning, public health, and sociology.


Careers in GIS and Geospatial Technology continue to be in high demand. 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. Other facts include:

The GIS industry is expected to reach $17.5 billion by 2023. Additional research forecasts the larger geospatial analytics market to reach $73.91 billion by 2021.

The certificate coursework is formatted to provide training in the core geospatial abilities outlined by the U.S. Department of Labor Geospatial Technology Competency model.