Geographical Information Systems

Columbian College of Arts and Sciences

Graduate Certificate, Graduate Certificate
Location(s): Foggy Bottom - Main Campus

Program Overview

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) allow us to capture, manage, query, analyze and model geospatially referenced data. GIS ties the idea of location to information, making it possible to visualize it all in map form. Using geospatial techniques we combine and overlay data to show complex scenarios from a geographic perspective. GIS also allows us to integrate data from diverse sources, helping identify relationships, trends, and patterns of distribution.

Our certificate program provides students with a solid grounding in geospatial theory and techniques, combined with the practical skills to apply these techniques to real world problems. Students are exposed to a combination of industry standard software and open source programs in classes that encourage an extensive hands-on approach. We feature service learning components in our courses that increasingly incorporate the growing field of open source GIS.

The demand for geospatial science skills is exploding in today’s job market, and GIS is increasingly popular in many different disciplines and industries, such as; scientific investigation, resource management, marketing, archaeology, environmental research, urban planning, demography, development, policy, public health, emergency management, and logistics.

Certificate students have an opportunity to pick from a broad range of electives that match their interests. Our state-of-the-art Spatial Analysis Lab is available for student research and our faculty members have expertise in GIS, remote sensing and spatial analysis.

The certificate requires the completion of 12 graduate credit hours. Students take three required courses and one elective class. All students are expected to complete the program in two years (four semesters).


This is a STEM-designated degree program.

Admission Requirements

Admission deadlines:

Fall – April 1 
Spring – November 1

Applications received outside of these deadlines will be considered on an individual basis.

Recommendations required: 

One (1) recommendation required.

Prior academic records:

Transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended, whether or not credit was earned, the program was completed, or the credit appears as transfer credit on another transcript. Unofficial transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be uploaded to your online application. Official transcripts are required only of applicants who are offered admission.

If transcripts are in a language other than English, English language translations must be provided. The English translation alone should be uploaded into your application.

Prerequisite requirements:

A bachelor’s of arts (B.A.) degree or bachelor’s of science (B.S.) degree with a GPA of at least 3.0. Applicants with a GPA below 3.0 may be considered if they submit a letter of recommendation from a professor in a related field.

Statement of purpose:

Not required.

International applicants only: 

Please note: International Students who require a student visa from GW are not eligible to apply for admission to this program. 

For more information on the admission process, please visit the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Frequently Asked Questions page.

Supporting documents not submitted online should be mailed to:
Columbian College of Arts and Sciences – Graduate Admissions Office
The George Washington University
801 22nd Street NW, Phillips Hall 215
Washington DC 20052

Contact for questions:
[email protected] ~ 202.994.6210 (phone) ~ 202.994.6213 (fax)
8:30 am – 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday