Graduate Certificate in
Geographic Information Systems
The Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems is intended for students currently admitted to a graduate program at the University of Memphis or another university or students holding a graduate degree with an interest in using GIS as a problem-solving tool.
Admission Procedures - Brochure - Current Course Descriptions - Frequently Asked Questions
Application deadline: October 15 for Spring admission and April 15 for Fall admission. Admission into the program is competitive, and a selection among the applicants will be made by the Certificate Admission Commiittee on the basis on the information included in the application. Applications must include:
1. Two letters of recommendation;
2. A letter from the applicant describing reasons for attaining a graduate certificate in the area of GIS and how the program corresponds to prior experience and anticipated career plans.
3. Students applying ONLY to the GIS Certificate Program will need to submit a professional resume as professional experiences and expertise will be considered in lieu of the GRE.
4.Completed “Change of Status Form”. This form can be obtained from the Department of Earth Sciences Office or online.( http://www.memphis.edu/gradschool/applications/statusapp2.php)
For admission to The University of Memphis Graduate School, students submit:
4.Transcript of undergraduate degree program and transcripts of prior and current graduate study;
5. The GRE will be waived for students applying for the Certificate Program ONLY. See item 3 above. GRE scores are required for students who want to move into the Master's program.
6. For International Applicants: A minimum score of 550 on the TOEFL or 210 on the computer-based TOEFL (for students whose native language is not English)
The Graduate GIS Certificate Application Form and items 1, 2
and 3, 4 should be mailed to:
Dr.Esra Ozdenerol, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Memphis, 1 Johnson Hall, Memphis, TN 38152
Current Course Descriptions
Courses in Geographic Information Science are mainly offered through the Department of Earth Sciences. Courses with GIS and Geographic Information Science components are also offered by departments across the campus.
Total credits required for the certificate: 18 [Required courses: Total
credits: 9; Elective Courses: Total Credits: 9]
REQUIRED COURSES: Total credits: 9
Description of required courses and their web links:
GEOG 6515 Geographic
Information Science 3
GEOG 6525 Analytical Geographic Information Science 3
GEOG 7504-8504 Seminar in Geographic Information Science 3
GEOG 6515 Geographic Information Science (3).
Cross listed with City and Regional Planning. This course is designed as an introduction to geographic information systems (GIS). The overall goal of this course is to provide students with the theoretical and practical knowledge necessary to understand the fundamental GIS concepts, capabilities, and applications, with emphasis on the nature of geographic data and on the issues of data input, data models, database design, spatial analysis, and data output. At the end of the course, students are expected to have a good understanding of GIS development, capabilities and potential applications. Completion of this course will enable students to extend their learning to a variety of applications and software environments, and prepare them for more advanced training in GIS.
GEOG 6525 Advanced Geographic Information Science (3).
Cross listed with City and Regional Planning. This course is designed as a continuation of GEOG 4515-6515 Geographic Information Science. All students enrolled in the course should have successfully completed GEOG 4515-6515 or its equivalent. In this course students will gain hands-on practical experience with ESRI’s ArcGIS 9 software through lab exercises and project work, gain a greater understanding of topics relating to the principles of GIS, and explore the varied applications of GIS.
GEOG 7504-8504 GIS Seminar(3).
Cross listed with City and Regional Planning. This seminar provides
a setting to discuss the short term and long-term GIScience research topics
Consortium of Geographic Information Science (UCGIS). Special focus
will be on current/cutting-edge research and applications of GIS such as
GIS, possible effects of Internet GIS on society, Public Participation
GIS, Participatory GIS, GIS for Homeland Security, Geo-spatial society,
ELECTIVES: Total credits 9
Students are required to take 9 hours of electives. Brief descriptions of elective courses are listed. These electives could come from a variety of related fields with approval of the Certificate Program Committee.
Description of possible elective courses and their web links:
GEOG 6502 Computer Mapping (3).http://geography.memphis.edu/thad/courses.html :Cross listed with City and Regional Planning. The objective of this course is to introduce students to the art and the science of map making. The class provides a foundation in cartographic techniques and design. Theories and concepts presented in class provide confidence to produce maps for illustrating reports, papers, theses, and to critically analyze other maps. A broad range of computer related techniques and concepts are taught using programs such Freehand, ArcGIS 9, Trimble's Pathfinder Office, and Web Design Programs.
GEOG 6511 Remote Sensing of the Environment (4).Systematic treatment of elements and steps involved in interpreting, measuring, and mapping of images appearing on aerial photographs, survey of theory and application of Remote Sensing, use of color infrared, thermal and radar images generated from satellites for geographic, environmental, and planning purposes.
GEOG 6521 Quantitative Methods (3). Cross listed with City and Regional Planning. Introduction to quantitative methods in spatial analysis; univariate descriptive statistics, descriptive statistics for spatial distributions, elementary probability theory, Random variables and probability distributions, sampling, parametric statistical inference, estimation, hypothesis testing, two sample tests, correlation analysis, regression analysis, nonparametric statistics.
GEOG 6531. Field Methods (3). Basic methods of geographic analysis used in classifying, analyzing and reporting field-generated data including field mapping, sampling procedures, questionnaires and archival and public document research.
GEOG 6610. Spatial Statistics (3). This course reviews a range of spatial analytical techniques and their implementation in state of the art spatial statistics software. Specific methods covered include “traditional” spatial analysis, such as spatial interpolation and point pattern analysis, an introduction to spatial data analysis such as the analysis of spatial autocorrelation, and some spatial econometric techniques including spatial lag and error regression models. An important aspect of the course is to gain hands-on experience in applying these techniques with spatial statistics software.
GEOG 7613. GIS and Human Health (3).http://cas.memphis.edu/~eozdenrl/Teaching/Teaching.htm
This course is for geographers, public health practitioners, epidemiologists, medical anthropologists, nurses, geneticists, and community members interested in applying GIS to the study of human health problems. This course is designed to help students become conversant with some fundamental concepts in how GIS can be used to map and analyze the geographical distributions of populations at risk, health outcomes, and risk factors; to explore associations between risk factors and health outcomes; and to address health problems.
COMP 6001 Visual Basic (3)This course is an introduction to the concepts of computer programming while learning how to program with VB .NET which is a platform to customize ArcGIS 9 software.
COMP 6011 Advanced Visual Basic (3)Students must have taken Comp 4001-6001 Visual Basic (3) or have the equivalent VB. NET background. In this course students will learn the following Visual Basic topics: Developing Classes, ADO database programming, XML input and output, Web Programming with ASP, Web Services, Assemblies and Components, Versioning and COM Interoperability.
PLAN 7202 Land Use Planning (3) Theory and practice of land use planning, with emphasis on methods of land use analysis and economic and social basis for land use decisions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: I have many years of experience in the GIS field, but never completed an undergraduate degree. Can I get into the GIS Graduate Certificate Program?
A: No, a BA or BS degree from an accredited college or university is required.
Q2: I have a Bachelor's degree from a university or college which is not accredited. Can I get into the GIS Graduate Certificate Program?
A: No, a BA or BS degree from an accredited college or university is required
Q3: I have taken several ESRI software training classes. Does that qualify as an introductory GIS course?
A: No, software training by ESRI or any other vendor is not the same as a good university course in the fundamentals of GIS.
Q4: Is acceptance into the GIS Certificate Program competitive?
A: Yes. We review applications in April, January and September accepting 10 to 15 students into the program. Because we typically receive applications from more people than we can accommodate, some qualified applicants may not be admitted; however, they may re-apply for a later semester. Reapplications are considered.
Q5: How much does it cost?
A: The courses in the Graduate Certificate Program are regular graduate level courses. At present the tuition for a 3-credit graduate level course is around $750 for Tennessee residents. So the entire program of 6 courses would be around $4500. Each course will require some additional materials (e.g. textbook, reading package), the cost of which typically will not exceed $100 per course. No fee is charged for use of the computer lab facilities.
Q6: Do you have any form of financial aid of assistantships for certificate students?
A: Financial support at present is limited to full-time graduate students in Earth Sciences, not for students only enrolled as certificate students.
Q7: Is there any financial support for conference registration and accomodations to present a poster at a conference?
There is no funding from the Certificate Program for conferences. If you go to a conference, it will be in your expense. GIS day conference registration at UM is relatively cheap for students($15) and if you participate to the Poster competition, registration is waived for students (This rule subject to change every year). There are other scholarship opportunities in the college and departments students can seek for funding.
Q8: Do the courses I take in the GIS Certificate program count towards a graduate degree?
Yes, but it depends. The courses being offered for the GIS Certificate Program are regular graduate courses that can count towards a graduate degree. UM’s policy states that up to 12 credit hours of graduate courses taken as a non-degree student (which includes certificate students) may be applied towards a graduate degree. Below are several scenarios:
1. If you are already a graduate student at UM, and you are taking GIS-related courses but are not interested in the GIS Certificate, the courses can serve as electives towards your graduate degree if your Department accepts the courses as electives.
2. If you are already an Earth Science (or City and Regional Planning) graduate student at UM, and want to pursue both a Masters’ in Earth Sciences (or City and Regional Planning) and the GIS Certificate, you can only apply up to 6 credit hours towards both. In other words, if you want both, you will need to take 12 credit hours of courses in addition to the regular Master’s program.
3. If you are a graduate student in another Department at UM, and want to pursue both a graduate degree and the GIS Certificate, you will need to check with your Department to see how many credit hours you can apply to both.
4. If you are a GIS Certificate student and then get accepted into a graduate program, the same double-counting rules as above apply if you want to pursue both a graduate degree and the GIS Certificate; however, keep in mind that UM’s general policy is that only 12 credit hours of graduate courses taken as a non-degree student (which includes certificate students) may be applied towards a graduate degree. So if you are taking several GIS-related courses as well as several other courses, and you are ultimately interested in a graduate degree, do not take more then 12 credit hours before applying to a graduate program.
Q9: Do the GIS courses I take during my undergraduate degree count towards the GIS Certificate program?
A: No, all course work must be at the graduate level. But we allow to substitute that course with a different graduate level GIS related course or they have to pass an exam to substitute the GIScience course they took during undergraduate. The exam is administered every semester upon request.
Q10: Do the courses I took during my graduate degree count towards GIS Certificate program after I completed my degree requirements and graduated?
A:If you graduated with a Masters Degree at UM, took courses that are applicable
to the GIS certificate program, and want to pursue the GIS Certificate after
your graduation, you need to apply to the graduate school again as a non-degree
seeking student and get accepted. You also need to apply to the Certificate
Program. You can only apply up to 6 credit hours of GIS related course work
towards both. In other words, if you want both the Master’s degree
and GIS certificate, you will need to take at least 12 credit hours of courses
in addition to the regular Master’s program you have completed.
Q11: Can I transfer credit from another institution?
A: Up to 6 credits will be reviewed on an individual basis.
Q12: Can I apply and graduate at the same semester if I met all the requirements of the certificate program?
No. You need to be admitted to the program at least two semesters prior to graduation.
Q13: What is the application deadline for the Certificate program?
Fall Semester: April 15
Spring Semester: October 15
Q14: I’m interested in taking only one of the GIS-related courses – is that possible?
A: In theory, yes. However, most courses have pre-requisites, so your options are somewhat limited. Non-degree students also get lower enrollment priority than certificate and graduate students.
Q15: I have completed the required 18 hours of credit. Am I eligible to receive the certificate?
A: Not yet. You have to provide a poster presentation on a GIS based project at the end of the program.
Q16. What are the requirements of poster presentation?
Students are required to present their posters at our GIS day conference on UM campus that takes place in November of every year. They can also substitute this requirement by submitting their posters at other conferences in their own expense. There are several GIS and geography related local, regional, national and international level conferences such as American Association of Geographers(AAG), SouthEastern Division of AAG(SEDAGG), University Consortium of Geographic Information Science(UCGIS), Tennessee Geographic Information Council (TNGIC). Students from other disciplines can also present posters at conferences specific to their discipline.
Q17: If I am currently in a degree program, and I want to seek both my masters and the certificate, which forms additionally I need to fill in?
Right after your admission to the Certificate, You need to fill in "Change of status application form" and submit that form to the Admissions so that Admissions will add your Certificate application with the degree program you are currently seeking. This online form can be accessed from the Graduate School website. This form is to add the Certificate along with your Master degree. It is not for eliminating one and picking up another.
Q18: I have already graduated from the GIS Certificate Program – can I continue taking courses?
A: All our GIS-related courses are open to non-degree students, provided they meet the prerequisites for a particular course and provided space is available in the course – certificate students and graduate students who still need a course to meet their program requirements get priority enrollment.
Q19: Can I subsitute 7000 level independent study for a core or elective course?
This applies in rare cases. For example, PhD candidates needing 7000 level courses. This can be only done if the student attends to the 6000 level course and completes the course content and does extra work to be counted to 7000 level. This must be followed by contract agreement and a letter from the professor.
Q20: Do you have an internship option in the GIS Certificate Program?
A: No, not at the present time.
Q21: Do you offer a course in GIS programming?
A: No, not at the present time.
Q22: Once I’m accepted into the GIS Certificate Program, can I transfer into the Master’s in Earth Science program?
A: The Master’s program has a separate application process and admission is based on different criteria. Acceptance into the GIS Certificate Program does not guarantee acceptance into the Master’s program.
Q23: Am I required to take at least one course every term?
A: Yes, if students skip a semester(summer does not account), they have to reapply. If they skip a whole year of 12 months, they need to reapply and pay a fee.
Q24: Can I take more than one course per term?
A: You can take as many courses as your schedule and time allow, as long as you meet the pre-requisites for each course.
Q25: Do you plan to offer any evening class?
A: At present, most of our certificate courses are taught as daytime classes – some evening classes are present such as ‘GIS seminar’ and ‘GIS Applications in Public Health’. Evening offerings may be considered if program enrollments continue to increase.
Q26: Will you be offering any courses in the Summer term?
A: Occasionally, we will be in a position to offer elected courses during the Summer term on a year-by-year basis. Course selection will be based upon anticipated enrollments.
Q27: The course offerings in the GIS Certificate Program do not meet my specific needs. What other options do I have?
A: Some of you other options are:
1. ESRI instructor-led training classes which are offered by ESRI at various centers in the country (for a recent training schedule, check www.esri.com/training). ESRI classes focus on learning recent software and do include some topics which the certificate program does not cover, like ArcIMS and ArcSDE. Courses run at about $400 for one full day.
2. ESRI on-line courses – check campus.esri.com for a list of offerings. Courses run at about $100 for a single course.
Q28: How does this GIS Certificate program compare to similar programs elsewhere.
A: The GIS Certificate Program at UM compares very favorably to similar programs elsewhere, for several reasons:
1.The program consists of a total of 18 credit hours, which is more than
is required in many other programs.
2. Most courses are taught in small classes by full-time tenure-track faculty members.
Q29: How does the GIS Certificate Program relate to the Certification of GIS Professionals.
A: The GIS Certifcate Program is NOT a certification program. Certification is recognition of an individual skills and experience in a particular professional field, typically carried out by a professional organization; a university therefore cannot “certify” you. Certification of GIS professionals is in the hands of the GIS Certification Institute (http://www.gisci.org/). Graduate level courses like the ones in the GIS Certificate Program count heavily towards GIS certification.