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Geographic Information Science (Graduate Certificate)

SLU’s graduate certificate in geographic information science addresses an increasing demand for professionals with geospatial science skills. It offers a combination of GIS theory and practical training.

About the Program

SLU’s graduate certificate program in Geographic Information Science (GIScience) focuses on current issues, including environmental quality, climate change, sustainability of natural and nonrenewable resources, and the impact of human activities on the environment.

Courses cover the latest image-processing techniques for optical, thermal, RADAR and LiDAR remote sensing. You’ll also explore geospatial methods and principles of spatial analysis, database design, cartographic representation, machine learning, computer vision, management and data-mining with integration of GIS, remote sensing and GPS.

Theory and lectures are supplemented with hands-on projects involving risk assessment and mitigation, environmental modeling, resources exploration, sustainable development, natural resource management and transportation, subterranean mapping and forest fire management.

Students typically complete the program in 18 months to two years.

MS in GIScience Flyer

Program Highlights
  • A focus on advanced remote sensing, GIS and geospatial methods
  • Use of the latest image processing techniques
  • Coverage of diverse applications in various disciplines
  • Training with industry-leading hardware and software systems (ArcGIS, ENVI+IDL, SARscape) and open-source platforms (e.g., QGIS, Boundless Desktop)
  • Late afternoon or evening classes that accommodate working professionals
  • Instructors with advanced degrees who work and conduct research in the field
  • State-of-the-art research labs equipped with modern computing, commercial and open-source software tools, various remote-sensing sensors and manned and unmanned aircrafts
Curriculum and Program Details

The graduate certificate in Geographic Information Science (GIScience) is a 15-credit-hour program that students can pursue on a full- or part-time basis, usually completing the certificate in less than two years.

You will complete nine to 12 credit hours of required courses:

  • GIS 5010 – Introduction to GIS (fall only)
  • GIS 5040 – Introduction to Remote Sensing (fall only)
  • GIS 5020 - Intermediate GIS (spring only)
  • GIS 5060 – Geospatial Methods in Environmental Studies

Then, in consultation with your adviser, you’ll select three to six credit hours of electives to complete the certificate. Students with previous GIS experience or coursework may be allowed to take an advanced elective in place of the required Introduction to GIS course.

Approved electives:

  • GIS 5070 – Research Methods
  • GIS 5080 – Digital Cartography and Geovisualization
  • GIS 5090 – Programming for Remote Sensing
  • GIS 5100 – Microwave Remote Sensing: SAR Principles, Data Processing and Applications
  • GIS 5110 – Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar
  • GIS 5120 – Geographic Information Science, Society and Sustainability
  • BIOL 5190 – GIS in Biolog

Note that not all courses are offered each semester or every year, and students should check Banner Self-Service for course scheduling and availability.


  • Greg Brunner, M.Sc.
  • Jack Fishman, Ph.D.
  • Jason Knouft, Ph.D.
  • Daniel M. Hanes, Ph.D.
  • Elizabeth A. Hasenmueller, Ph.D.
  • Sidike Paheding, Ph.D
  • Zaitao Pan, Ph.D
  • Vasit Sagan, Ph.D. (Program Coordinator)
  • J.S. Onesimo Sandoval, Ph.D.
  • Ethan Shavers, PhD
Graduates from SLU’s graduate GIS certificate program have a very good employment outlook. According to the Geospatial Information and Technology Association, employment in this field is growing at an annual rate of almost 35 percent, with the commercial subsection of the market expanding by 100 percent each year.

Recent graduates from this program have been employed by various environmental, remote sensing and GIS companies, including Monsanto, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
Tuition and Fees

Saint Louis University takes pride in being one of Barron's Best Buys in College Education and Kiplinger's Best Values in Private Colleges.

For information regarding the upcoming academic year’s tuition rate, fees and financial aid, visit SLU Financial Services.

2017-2018 Tuition and Fees
Cost Calculator
Financial Aid

Scholarships and Financial Aid
Students in SLU’s GIS certificate program are not eligible for assistantships or fellowships but can apply for external fellowships, need-based aid and other financial assistance through Student Financial Services.

Applicant Criteria

  • Minimum GPA: 3.0

Applicants with GPA below the minimum GPA will be considered on a case-by-case basis. To request an exception of the minimum GMAT, LSAT or GRE scores, submit a petition to the program director. 

Students already enrolled in any graduate program at Saint Louis University do not need to reapply and should submit a Petition for Post-Baccalaureate Certificate Admission (Form No. 15). Other applicants must submit the following: 

Applicant Requirements
Official transcripts
One letter of recommendation
Professional goal statement (500 to 800 words)

Requirements for International Students

  • A completed Declaration of Financial Support packet with all accompanying documents
  • TOEFL score (minimum: 80) or IELTS score (minimum: 6.5)
  • Applicants may be asked to schedule an online interview before final acceptance.

Application Deadlines

The final deadline for fall admittance is May 1 for international students and July 1 for domestic students.

Program Coordinator 
Dr. Vasit Sagan 
Associate Professor of GIScience 
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences 
Saint Louis University