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How long does the program take? 
Portland State University is on a quarter system. GIS classes are mainly offered fall, winter, and spring terms, and are 4 credits each. If you take 1-2 classes per term, the 20 credits could be completed in 3-5 terms. 

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. 

Students who do not enroll for 4 or more consecutive terms will be “deactivated” by the Office of Graduate Studies, and should submit a Re-enrollment Form to be able to register.

How much does it cost? 
Price per-credit varies, depending on resident or non-resident status. A tuition estimator can be found here:

There is a small lab fee for most of the GIS classes. 

When can I start? 
You can apply to any term except summer. At this time, the GIS program is on a rolling enrollment schedule; however there are only 2 application deadlines: 

       For admission to Fall or Winter terms: Deadline is May 1 

       For admission to Spring terms: January 15 

What if I can’t register for the term I’m admitted? 
If you do not register for the term to which you are admitted, your admission will be canceled unless you notify the office of admissions and the geography department prior to the beginning of that term. You may defer up to 3 terms within the same academic year using the change of admission term form.

What if my undergraduate GPA was less than 3.0? 
If your undergraduate GPA was 2.75 or better, you may be admitted conditionally. More information can be found at:

If you take 9 graduate credit hours with a GPA of 3.0 or better, the graduate GPA can be used in lieu of your undergraduate GPA.

What if I have not taken the Geography 380 (or equivalent) prerequisite?
Your application will be evaluated to determine if you may be admitted conditionally without the prerequisite. If you are admitted conditionally, you will be required to complete the course with a B or higher during your first term. Once you have completed Geography 380 with a B or higher, please notify the GIS Certificate Program Coordinator and your admission status will be changed from conditional to regular.

What if I earned a grade below a B in Geography 380? 

If you do not pass Geog 380 with a B or higher, there are two options to remove conditional admission and become a regular admit to the program. Please note that regular admission is required for completion of the program. Here are the two options:
1) Re-take Geog 380 and earn a B or higher
2) Submit a petition to Geoffrey Duh, the GIS Certificate Program Coordinator. The petition entails a written statement indicating the reason(s) you failed to meet the academic standard (B or above) in Geog 380 and how you will prevent the same situation from happening again. You also need to request a written statement (email is fine) from the 380 instructor to verify and support your petition.

Do community college credits transfer to an equivalent course at PSU? 
No, community college credits cannot be used to fulfill the certificate requirements because all certificate courses must be taken at the 500 level. Portland Community College (PCC) course GEO 264 is equivalent to PSU's GEOG 380, and can be used to waive the 380 prerequisite for the certificate.

If I take GEOG 488 as an undergraduate, will it transfer as GEOG 588 when I am accepted into the GIS program? 
No, only GEOG 588 (GIS I taken for graduate credit) can be used toward the Certificate program. GEOG 588 is a core requirement of the Certificate. Students who took GEOG 488 may request a waiver for GEOG 588. If the waiver is approved, they must take GEOG 575, 581, or 597 to make up the 20 graduate credits needed to complete the GIS Certificate program. 

I am thinking about taking GIS courses at PSU, with the possibility of applying for the GIS Certificate later. What do I need to do to get registered for a class? 

You will need to apply for the non-degree enrollment option (described below) or postbaccalaureate status in order to register for class. Then, if you still wish to apply to the Certificate program, you must apply before the deadline.

Note: Non-degree students are restricted to part-time, not-formally-admitted enrollment. Student services, student housing and course availability are more limited. Non-degree students are not entitled to financial aid.

For more information on non-degree enrollment or postbac status, please follow the links below.

Non-degree enrollment:

Postbac application:

I want to obtain a Geography Master’s Degree with emphasis on GIS. Does the GIS Certificate program count toward this? 
Yes, the Certificate credits can count toward a master’s degree with certain restrictions. Up to 1/3 of your total credits (e.g., 15 credits for a 45 credits program) can transfer from the Certificate and/or other institutions to the Geography Master’s Degree. Please note, however, the application processes for the Certificate and the Master's Degree are entirely separate. Just because you are accepted into the GIS Certificate does not guarantee acceptance into the Master’s Program. 

If I am enrolled in the GIS certificate program and decide to pursue my Geography Master’s Degree, how many credits from the certificate program will transfer into the Master’s program? No more than 1/3 of the required credits for a master's degree can be taken prior to official admission. For example, when 45 credits are needed to receive a Master’s degree, 15 credits (1/3 of your total graduate credits) can be transferred from the GIS certificate program.

What are my responsibilities to complete the GIS certificate program? 
1) Take all required and elective courses for a letter grade (A-F) and achieve a  cumulative PSU graduate GPA of 3.0 or higher and a cumulative program GPA of 3.0 or higher. Note that satisfactory completion of a graduate course is defined as a letter grade of B- or higher.

2) Fill out the Application for Awarding Graduate Certificate. Note: This must be done in the first week of the term in which you wish to graduate. 

Without completing this application, the Office of Graduate Studies does not know to process your program completion and award the Certificate. Your Certificate will be sent by mail, so make sure you put your current address on the form!  2. The Office of Graduate Studies will notify the Geography Department about your application to graduate. If you have met all of the requirements, the Geography Department will submit the final paperwork to the Office of Graduate Studies.

What career opportunities are available for graduates of the GIS Certificate program? 
We have many successful stories of our Certificate students. The GIS skills taught in our curricula are sufficient for many GIS positions. As you know, education is just one of the components of a successful career. The learning environment at PSU also offers many opportunities for students to prepare for a career in GIS.