Apr 24, 2024  
2022 - 2023 Graduate Catalog 
2022 - 2023 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

GIS Certificate

The Certificate in Geographic Information Science provides students with a post-baccalaureate level academic credential in geospatial technologies including geographic information systems, remote sensing, global positioning systems, and more. This program is designed for individuals who wish to enhance current knowledge and skills they may be using professionally, or want to pursue a fuller understanding of professional practice applying geospatial technologies to increase their competitiveness, or may not yet be ready to commit to a full graduate program. 

The Certificate can be completed in one year full-time, but may be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. This certificate is not available to current William & Mary undergraduate students. The Certificate in Geographic Information Science program requires a minimum of 15 credit hours of specified coursework. 

Individuals seeking admission into the GIS Certificate Program must have completed a Bachelor’s degree prior to their first semester enrolled as a Certificate program student. The Certificate program is administered through the Center for Geospatial Analysis, the intellectual nexus for geospatial education and research at William & Mary.

The requirements and restrictions unique to the GIS Certificate are spelled out here; otherwise, GIS Certificate students have access to the services and are governed by the policies spelled out in the Arts & Sciences Section of this Catalog.


The Post-Baccalaureate GIS Certificate Program has rolling admissions. The Center for Geospatial Analysis welcomes applications for admissions with a decision deadline of March 1 for fall course enrollments. You will be notified of the decision about one month after we have received your application.

Individuals who wish to apply to the program should submit the following materials to the GIS Certificate Coordinator:

  • Application. A completed application for the GIS Certificate Program.
  • Transcripts. Official transcripts from all colleges or universities you have attended, with date of actual or expected degree(s) clearly indicated. This should be sent to the GIS Certificate Coordinator at the address found in the application.
  • Application to Determine Physical Residency and In-State Tuition. All appplicants must complete and submit the Application to Determine Physical Residency and In-State Tuition form.
  • Letter of Recommendation. A minimum of one letter of recommendation from an employer or professor. This must be sent directly to the GIS Certificate Coordinator at the address found in the application.
  • A Resume or CV (curriculum vitae) and Personal Statement. A resume or CV must be provided stating relevant work experience. If the applicant has no geospatial work experience, then the applicant must include a personal statement, not more than one single-spaced page, explaining their interest in, or prior experience with GIS and other geospatial technologies, and how this certificate program will meet their personal or professional goals.
  • Application Fee. See application for submission address and fee amount.

International applicants needing F-1 student visa sponsorship will not be enrolled in the program until the university has received approval from the Department of Homeland Security for inclusion of the program on its I-17.

Applicants whose first language is not English must be able to demonstrate English language proficiency through one of the following ways:

  • A test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) minimum composite score of 100 for the Internet Based Test (IBT) or 600 for the paper-based score; or an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score minimum of 6.5 on the academic exam.
    •  In cases where a test score is within 5% of the above scores, a student may be admitted pending a successful oral interview with the GIS Certificate Coordinator.
  • Successful completion of undergraduate or graduate study in a school where English is the language of instruction.

Program of Study

The courses for the GIS Certificate Program are as follows (all courses are 3 credit hours, unless otherwise noted) :

Fundamentals and Foundations of Geospatial Technology

  • GIS 501: Fundamentals of Geographic Information Science and Analysis (required)
  • GIS 505: Geovisualization & Cartographic Design Techniques (required)
  • GIS 510: Introduction to Remote Sensed Imagery and Analysis (required)

Advanced Geospatial Topics/Discipline Uses of Geospatial Technology

  • GIS 520: Advanced GIS Analysis and Programming (required)
  • GIS 550: Independent Research in GIS (1-3 credits variable) (optional)
  • GIS 590: Topics: Geospatial Technologies GIS (1-4 credits) (optional)

Courses of interest related to the professional work or career interest of the student at the 400/500-level in departments across campus, may be submitted for review with the GIS Certificate Coordinator. For example, a wildlife biologist enrolled in the Certificate program may wish to take a 400-level course in Biology such as Ornithology. This request would be reviewed for its relevancy to the work of the individual and the applicability to the Certificate program.

Students who wish to substitute a different 400/500 level GIS course for one of those listed below must consult with the GIS Certificate Coordinator in advance; otherwise the course will not count towards the Certificate. No transfer credit is allowed for courses taken outside of William & Mary.

Students who have taken INTR 204/GIS 201 as an undergraduate at W&M cannot transfer those hours into the Certificate but may be able to place out of the GIS 501 through a skills and knowledge demonstration and substitute another course to meet the credit hour requirement. Students in this situation should consult with the GIS Certificate Coordinator.

Enrollment Expectations

GIS Certificate Students are expected to enroll in at least 1 course per regular semester; otherwise, they will not be considered as making satisfactory progress in their certificate program.

Continuance Requirement

To continue as a student in the GIS certificate program, you will need to meet these minimal requirements:

Cumulative Course Credits            Cumulative G.P.A.

1 - 6                                                   2.50

7 - 12                                                 2.75

13 - 18                                               3.00

Certificate Requirements:

  • Earn a minimum of 15 credit hours of required coursework; and
  • achieve a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in all courses taken for certificate credit at William & Mary after admission to the certificate program.

Tuition and Fees

This post-baccalaureate GIS certificate program charges students at a  tuition rate based on enrollment in this program. The Tuition and Fees do not include room & board, books, travel, and incidentals. The per-credit hour rate for the GIS Certificate applies to all students who enroll in the GIS Certificate program, regardless of residency status. Tuition and fees are due and payable by the due date as established by the Bursar’s Office. The cost of the program will be based on number of certificate courses taken per semester and is calculated as a fee. After the Add/Drop period tuition and fees will be non-refundable.

The 2019-2020 per-credit hour rate for the GIS Certificate is $560.00. A majority of the courses will be three credit hours and the program may be completed with a minimum of 15 -credit hours.

Financial Aid is not available for GIS Certificate Program students.

There are a number of William & Mary services available for students enrolling in the GIS Certificate program:

  • Swem Library
  • Dean of Students Office
  • Student Accessibility Services
  • Parking & Transportation (requires a purchase of permit)
  • Writing Resources Center
  • Cohen Career Center

There are William & Mary services not covered in the GIS Certificate Program fees if you are not also a full-time student (paying full tuition and fees); these include:

  • Free admission to Athletic Events; you are welcome to attend but there will be a minimal cost.
  • Campus Recreation Center; certificate students can purchase a membership for regular access.
  • University Sponsored Events; many events are open to the public or may be available at a minimal cost.
  • Student clubs and organizations.