Department of Geosciences

GIS Certificate

GIS Certificate Program Coordinator:

Dr. W. Scott White, Associate Professor
Office: 303 BH
Phone: 970-247-7475

What is GIS?

Fort Lewis College Google Earth LinkA Geographic Information System (GIS) is a digital map database and set of software programs that include an integrated set of tools for storing, querying, analyzing, and displaying georeferenced information. GIS merges theoretical and practical aspects of spatial analysis across many different disciplines, such as environmental biology, geology, archaeology, agriculture, computer-aided drafting (CAD) and engineering, computer science, business administration, and, of course, geography. A GIS is used to build cartographic databases, create attributes for map information, and analyze and visualize complex spatial relationships in the mapped information. Students enrolled in the GIS Certificate Program take courses in which they gain valuable experience using industry-standard GIS software (Esri's ArcGIS Advanced), as well as familiarity with various modern field mapping procedures, such as Global Positioning System (GPS) units. Surveying, remote sensing and programming and web mapping courses provide additional fundamental skills related to GIS. Completion of the GIS Certificate will provide the student with skills and experience that are in high demand in today’s workplace.

What kind of jobs exist?  There are many job opportunities in GIS.  For more information, see the following web sites:

GIS and Remote Sensing class web pages at FLC:

What software do I get to use?

Fort Lewis College has a site license for Esri's ArcGIS software.  Currently, we use version 10.2 of ArcGIS  Advanced, including the 3D, Spatial, Geostatistical, and Network Analyst Extensions.  The software is networked and available campus-wide.

How do I start the GIS Certificate?

Start with the GEOG 310 (Intro to Computer Mapping and GIS) course, taught both Fall and Spring semesters.

Contact Dr. Scott White about your intentions to pursue the Certificate.  He keeps track of student progress, and reports to the Dean of the School of Natural and Behavioral Sciences.

Final outcomes includes a printed Certificate and indication of successful completion of the GIS Certificate on the student's college transcript.

Requirements for the Certificate in Geographic Information Systems:
-- an asterisk ( * ) indicates that a course has at least one prerequisite --


Required GIS Courses (4) Credits
GEOG 310 Intro to Computer Mapping and GIS [taught every Fall and Spring semester] 4
 *GEOG 315 GIS Programming and Web Mapping [taught every even-year Spring semester] 2
*GEOG 350 Intermediate GIS [taught every Spring semester] 3
*GEOG 400 Advanced GIS [taught every Fall semester] 3
Total 12
 GIS Capstone Courses (Pick 1)
 *GEOG 480 Internship in GIS  1, 2, or 3
 *GEOG 499 Independent Study  1, 2, or 3
Total 1...3
Engineering/CAD, Surveying, and Remote Sensing Courses (Pick 1)
*ENGR 205 Intro to Geomatics and Engineering Surveying [taught every odd-year Fall semester] 4
*GEOL 325 Introduction to Remote Sensing [taught every odd-year Spring semester] 4
Total 4
Total Required Hours for GIS Certificate 17...19

A minimum “C” grade must be earned in each course applied toward the GIS Certificate program.  Students must either have an Associate's or a Bachelor's degree from an approved college or university prior to admission, or be seeking a Bachelor's degree at Fort Lewis College

For more information about GEOG 480 or 499, including Webopus registration details, contact the Program Coordinator, Dr. Scott White.

Click here for full descriptions of these courses and see the latest edition of the Fort Lewis College Catalog. Please check prerequisites for courses marked with an asterisk ( * ) above.

Click here for a list of current semester courses at Fort Lewis College.