Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems

In collaboration with the Dutton e-Education Institute and the World Campus, Penn State's Department of Geography has offered outstanding online geospatial education since 1999. The Certificate Program in GIS helps current and aspiring professionals to become knowledgeable and skillful users of geospatial data and technologies. The program is designed for working professionals who are studying part-time and at a distance.

All courses are instructor-led, and are offered in compressed ten-week terms. Students are expected to devote approximately eight to twelve hours of effort per week. Although assignments and discussion activities are due weekly, students are free to study at their convenience. A student can earn the Certificate in only 6 months if you take a class each term.

Anyone with a baccalaureate degree is eligible to enroll in the Penn State Certificate Program in GIS as a non-degree graduate student. (Please be sure to select "Certificate Admission - $65.00" when applying.) Under certain circumstances, students without a degree may also enroll in courses. Those who subsequently apply and get accepted to the Master of Geographic Information Systems (MGIS) degree program may count up to 15 credits earned in non-degree status toward the MGIS degree.

Postbaccalaureate Certificate in GIS - Core Courses

The Postbaccalaureate Certificate in GIS is designed to help novice and intermediate-level practitioners become more knowledgeable and skillful users of geographic information technologies. The program focuses on concepts and the latest skills that can be applied immediately in the workplace. Students complete 12 credits, which include a 3-credit course in the nature of geographic information, 6-credits of problem-based GIS courses, and 3-credits of an elective in your area of interest.

Postbaccalaureate Certificate in GIS - Experienced Professionals

The Postbaccalaureate Certificate in GIS can also be tailored for experienced geospatial professionals by focusing on more elective courses and fewer prescribed courses. This gives GIS professionals - mapping scientists, consultants, analysts, and licensed professional surveyors - the opportunity to tailor the certificate program to their area of interest. Students complete 12 credits, which includes a 3-credit course in professionalism in GIS&T OR a 3-credit course in the nature of geographic information, and 9-credits of electives in the student’s interest area. If you want to know more about how this can work for you, get in touch today with one of our faculty.

The GIS Certificate section includes:

Admissions Criteria and Application Procedures


Tuition and Financial Aid


You can also link to the World Campus, Penn State's online delivery unit, for more information.

Need Help or Advice?

If you have any questions on how to get started, or would like to talk with a faculty member about choosing the best option based on your needs and experience, email us at