Geographic Information Scientists (GIScientists) have an ongoing concern with the collection, analysis and display of high precision spatial data. The Department of Geography (GEOG) and the Department of Computer Science (CSCI) are offering a joint undergraduate certificate in GIS and Computational Science. The program draws upon faculty expertise in both departments, providing interdisciplinary training in spatial data analysis and computation, both of which characterize GIS in most career paths.  Computational geospatial skills are in high demand on campus and in local, regional and national job markets such as government employment, industry or consulting careers, and graduate school. The certificate is available for all majors and may be of particular interest for students in other earth science disciplines and social science disciplines. Non-matriculated students may enroll at CU through Continuing Education and once admitted, may apply for the certificate.


Certificate Intent

The undergraduate certificate in GIS and Computational Science will teach students to identify, analyze and understand spatial patterns, with an emphasis on computation and analytical problem solving. Required coursework in GIS, basic statistics, and basic programming, coupled with advanced electives in GIScience will give students the computational knowledge and skills to tackle society’s important and pressing environmental problems. The interdisciplinary nature of the certificate introduces students to the special characteristics (scale dependence, spatial autocorrelation) that complicate spatial data analysis, and offers additional programming skills relative to the basic GIS concentration. The computational emphasis will also increase students’ competitive edge in the job market and when applying to graduate school. 

How to Apply

Students must apply to and be accepted into the certificate program, simply by emailing a transcript (unofficial is acceptable) to the certificate coordinator (listed below). 

Program Requirements

Students must earn a C- or better in all coursework in the certificate, and may not take certificate courses Pass/Fail. The certificate requires 18-20 hours of coursework, including required courses and electives (but not including prerequisites).  Core courses are offered each semester and Geography electives are offered at least once per year. Students undertaking the certificate as well as a GEOG minor can count no more than 9 credits from the GIS GEOG courses listed below toward the GEOG minor requirements.

Course Requirements
Prerequisites for the certificate program (7-8 credits; alternatively, can be met by completing AP coursework in high school)

GEOG 3023 Statistics and Geographic Data (formerly titled Statistics for Geography) (or equivalent course w/ spatial statistics focus) (4 credits)


One of the following:

CSCI 1200  Introduction to Computational Thinking (3 credits)
CSCI 1300  Computer Science 1: Starting Computing (prereq or coreq of MATH 1150 or equivalent) (4 credits)
INFO 1201 Computational Reasoning 1: Expression and Media Transformation (4 credits) (prior to Summer 2022)
INFO 1701 Programming for Info Science 1 (4 credits) (effective Summer 2022)

Required core courses (10-12 credits):
One of the following:
INFO 2201  Computational Reasoning 2: Representations of Data (prereq INFO 1201/1701 or CSCI 1300/1200 (4 credits)
CSCI 2270 Computer Science 2: Data Structures  (prereq CSCI 1300 and prereq or coreq of MATH 1300 or equivalent) (4 credits)

One of the following:
GEOG 3053 Geographic Information Science: Mapping (formerly titled Cartography Vis & Info Design) (4 credits)
GEOG 4603 GIS for Social and Natural Sciences (taught summer semester annually) (3 credits)
GEOG 4103 Geographic Information Science: Spatial Analytics (formerly titled Intro to Geographic Information Sciences) (prereqs GEOG 3023 or equivalent, and 3053 or 4603) (4 credits)

Two or more GIS electives to reach 18-20 credit hours from the following list:
GEOG 4043 Advanced Geovisualization and Web Mapping (4 credits)
GEOG 4093* Remote Sensing of the Environment (4 credits)
GEOG 4203 Geographic Information Science: Spatial Modeling (formerly titled GIS Modeling Applications) (4 credits)
GEOG 4303 Geographic Information Science: Spatial Programming (formerly titled Spatial Programming in GIScience) (4 credits)
GEOG 4403 Geographic Information Science: Space Time Analytics (3 credits)
GEOG 4503 Geographic Information Science: Project Management (3 credits)
GEOL 3050 GIS for Geologists (2 credits)
GEOL 4093* Remote Sensing of the Environment
One or two upper division GIS-based courses in another A&S department (syllabi to be approved beforehand by certificate oversight faculty committee) (2-4 credits each)

On occasion, a GIS-based Special Topics class in GEOG or a cognate unit will be considered for inclusion as an elective. For example, the course GEOG 4003 Machine Learning and Spatial Science is acceptable as an elective. Syllabi for any special topics electives must be approved by the certificate oversight faculty before a student enrolls in the class.

*Only one remote sensing-focused course may count towards the GIS certificate.