Sep 27, 2023  
2023-2024 SGPP Catalog and Student Handbook 
2023-2024 SGPP Catalog and Student Handbook

Geographic Information Science (GIS) Certificate

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Program Description

The Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science (GIS) is a technology-centered certificate program for those seeking professional geospatial technology skills to support increasing workplace demands for geospatial technology use and decision making. The certificate is comprised of 15 credits.  Courses offered in the certificate parallel skills and knowledge needed for continued professional certification from the GIS Certification Institute. All courses are offered at the graduate level.

Learners are exposed to the latest software, technology, and resources for applied geographic information systems (GIS) and related technologies in fields such as natural resources, business intelligence, emergency management, surveying, urban planning, programming, public safety, and data management.  In addition, experiences are enhanced by providing core training in operating GIS hardware/software, development of databases, GIS data analysis, and foundations of programming.

The program is structured to help maximize all experience levels and backgrounds - whether a person has a rich background in GIS or is completely new to the field.  With geospatial technology’s ability to be applied to limitless fields and its increasing demand as a current and emerging career, it is a valuable science to possess within the digital technology era.

Program Outcomes

Graduates of the Graduate Certificate in GIS are expected to be able to do the following:

  1. Analyze geospatial data.
  2. Demonstrate proficiency in data collection and database administration.
  3. Develop custom applications and scripts for visualization and analytics.
  4. Engage in complex critical thinking.

Program Structure and Delivery

The Geographic Information Science Certificate is delivered in an online format.

Students completing a master’s degree from the Schools of Business and Technology may add the GIS Certificate (15 cr) for just 9 earned credits. Aforementioned students pursuing their master’s degree from a technology-oriented program may complete the GIS Certificate for just 6 earned credits. Certificate course plans will be approved and designed by the Data Intelligence and GeoAnalytics program director on a case-by-case basis.

Degree Requirements

All students complete 15 credits to earn the Graduate Certificate in GIS.


The faculty members for this program have earned doctorate or master’s degrees. Faculty are selected for their combination of educational and professional experience and expertise.

Admission Requirements

Applicants may apply for admission to graduate programs at any time during the year. Applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution and maintained an overall grade point average of 2.75 on a 4.00 scale. Applicants must demonstrate the language proficiency necessary for successful graduate coursework. All applicants must complete an interview with a program administrator.

Application Process

Applicants must submit:

  1. Completed application form with the nonrefundable application fee (fee not required for alumni or students seeking readmission or veterans and active military personnel and their immediate family) and,
  2. An official transcript issued to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota from the institution posting the applicant’s completed bachelor degree and other relevant transcripts documenting program prerequisites and potential transfer credits. (An official transcript is one that is sent to the university by the credit-granting institution. Transcripts from countries other than the U.S. must be evaluated on a course by course basis by a university accepted evaluation service, such as World Education Services, Educational Credential Evaluators, Educational Perspectives, or One Earth International Credential Evaluators and be deemed equivalent to accredited U.S. university standards).  Evaluations from an approved member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services ( will also be accepted. 
  3. A personal statement which includes:
  • brief description of the applicant’s background, training, and experience and,
  • statement indicating the career goals of the applicant and his or her reasons for seeking admission to the program and,
  • description of the areas the applicant considers to be his or her strengths and areas in which the applicant wishes to develop greater strengths and abilities and,
  • personal information the applicant wishes to share.
  1. Names of two people (including title, organization, email, phone number) who could serve as professional references, if needed, during the application review process. The best references are those who know you in a professional capacity, such as current or former supervisors.
  2. A current résumé listing educational background and work experience.

See individual programs for additional application requirements.

Please Note: Application materials should be sent to the attention of the Office of Admission on the Twin Cities Campus.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
Office of Admission
2500 Park Ave S
Minneapolis, MN  55404

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