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:

Recent FLC GIS and Remote Sensing Syllabi:

What software do I get to use?

Fort Lewis College has a site license for Esri's ArcGIS Desktop software (currently version 10.3) as well as an ArcGIS Online organizational account.  The desktop software is available on all Windows-based computer labs on campus.

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 Arts and 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:

For course descriptions and prerequisites,
refer to the current Fort Lewis College Catalog of Courses.

Required GIS Courses (4) Credits
GEOG 310 Intro to Computer Mapping and GIS [taught Fall and Spring semesters] 4
GEOG 315 GIS Programming and Web Mapping [taught Spring semester] 2
GEOG 350 Intermediate GIS [taught Spring semester] 3
GEOG 400 Advanced GIS [taught Fall semester] 3
Prerequisite for GEOL 325 Intro to Remote Sensing (Choose 1)
GEOL 105 Earth and the Environment [taught Fall and/orSpring Semester] OR 4
GEOL 107 Earth Systems Sciene [taught fall and/or Spring Semester] OR
GEOL 113 Physical Geology [taught Fall and Spring semesters] OR
Prerequisite for ENG 205 Intro to Geomatics and Engineering Surveying (1)
Math 121 Pre-Calculus [taught Fall and Spring semesters] 4
Engineering/CAD, Surveying, and Remote Sensing Courses (Choose 1)
GEOL 325 Intro to Remote Sensing [taught evey odd-year Spring semester] OR 4
ENG 205 Intro to Geomatics and Engineering Survey [taught every even-year Fall semester] 4
GIS Capstone Course (Choose 1)
GEOG 480 Internship in GIS OR 1,2, or 3
GEOG 499 Independent Study 1,2, or 3
Total Required Hours for GIS Certificate 21, 22, or 23


FLC Undergraduate Certificate Policies

  • It is strongly recommended that the student have an earned BA or BS degree along with the GIS Certificate.
  • A minimum "C" grade must be earned in each course applied toward the certificate program.
  • All coursework must be in graded courses. Pass/fail work will not be accepted toward certificate requirements.
  • At least 50% of the coursework toward the certificate must be earned at Fort Lewis College.
  • Both degree-seeking and unclassified students may be admitted to a certificate program; however, all students must be matriculated through the Office of Admission and Advising.
  • Certificate coursework may also be applied in fulfillment of requirements for departmental majors or minors.
  • Course substitutions within a certificate program may be requested by a student, but require written approval of both the program director and the appropriate dean.
  • Courses taken prior to admission to the certificate program can be counted toward the certificate only with the program director's specific approval.
  • Certificates will not be awarded to individuals who have completed all of the coursework prior to admission to the certificate program.

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 planned course offerings at Fort Lewis College.