GIS - Courses



View all information shown below by downloading the Graduate Certificate -  Geographic Information System (.pdf) document.

Students must complete 20 graduate credits, including 8 credits of core courses and 12 credits of courses selected from the list of electives.  All certificate program courses must be taken for a letter grade (A-F). The program prerequisite, GEOG 380 (Maps and Geographic Information (.pdf)), cannot be used toward the certificate requirements.

Students have up to 3 years to complete the Certificate program. Only courses taken within 3 years of the program completion date can be used to fulfill the program requirements.

Required core courses (8 credits)*:


GEOG 588/USP 591                                   

GEOG 588L/591L

GEOG 592/USP 592

GEOG 592L/592L

GIS I: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (.pdf)

Concurrent registration in GIS Lab sessions

GIS II: Applications (.pdf)

Concurrent registration in GIS II Lab sessions

4 credits                     

0 credits

4 credits

0 credits

*USP 531 or G 524 may be substituted for GIS I.

You may request a waiver of these 2 courses from the program director on the basis of prior educational background under the following circumstances:

1) If you have taken the courses at the undergraduate level or taken them as part of an undergraduate program at PSU.

2) If GIS I and GIS II equivalent courses were taken at another institution you must submit syllabi from those courses as part of your waiver request.

Waivers are at the discretion of the program director. If the waiver is not approved you must take GIS I and GIS II. If the waiver is approved you must take additional credits from the following list to fulfill the required 8 credits of core curriculum:

GEOG 575 Digital Compilation and Database Design - 4 credits

GEOG 581 Digital Image Analysis I: Intro - 4 credits

GEOG 597 Advanced Spatial Quantitative Analysis - 4 credits

Electives (12 credits):


G 525

GEOG 575

GEOG 580

GEOG 581

GEOG 582

GEOG 584

GEOG 585

GEOG 589

GEOG 590

GEOG 593

GEOG 594

GEOG 595

GEOG 597

USP 543

USP 593

Approved 510 courses

4 credits

4 credits

4 credits

4 credits

4 credits

4 credits

4 credits

4 credits

4 credits

4 credits

4 credits

4 credits

4 credits

4 credits

3 credits























Transfer Credits

Transfer credit is defined as eligible graduate credit taken at other accredited institutions.  Two-thirds of the Graduate Certificate program requirements or 15 credits minimum, whichever is larger, must be taken at Portland State University.  Transfer credits must be letter-graded with a B or higher and eligible for use in master’s degree programs at PSU.  The Proposed Transfer Credit form (.pdf) (GO-11GC) must be used for approval of transfer credit.

Experimental 510 Courses

Due to the fast developments in geospatial technologies, some experimental courses can be used toward the Certificate with the approval of the Program Director. Please verify the eligibility with the instructor or Geography department before taking a 510 course to fulfill the Certificate requirements. Each student can have a maximum of one 510 course per program. The experimental course can only be used as a substitute for an elective, not a core course. Joint campus courses (JC 510) are considered transfer credits for which all transfer credit limitations apply.

Course Overlap between Degrees and Certificates

Graduate courses can be applied to a master’s (or a doctoral) degree and a graduate certificate. However, graduate courses cannot be applied to two different graduate certificates. See PSU Bulletin for more information about course overlap.