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
Admission Procedures - Brochure - Courses - 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 Committee on the basis on the information included
in the application. Applications must include:
- Graduate GIS Certificate Application Form
- Two letters of recommendation
- 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
For admission to The University of Memphis Graduate School, students submit:
- Transcript of undergraduate degree program and transcripts of prior and current graduate
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: 12
Description of required courses:
ESCI 6515 Geographic Information Science 3 credits
ESCI 6525 Analytical Geographic Information Science 3 credits
Elective Course 3 credits
ESCI 7998 Capstone GIS Project
ELECTIVES: Total credits 3
Students are required to take 3 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:
ESCI 6431 Urban Geography (3)
ESCI 6443 Transportation Planning (3)
ESCI 6502 Computer Mapping (3)
ESCI 6511 Remote Sensing of the Environment (4)
ESCI 6521 Quantitative Methods (3)
ESCI 6531 Field Methods (3)
ESCI 6610 Automation Process In GIS (3)
ESCI 7320 Archeological Spatial Analysis (3)
ESCI 7504-8504 Seminar in Geographic Information Science (3)
ESCI 7613 GIS and Human Health (3)
COMP 6001 Visual Basic (3)
COMP 6011 Advanced Visual Basic (3)
PLAN 7202 Land Use Planning (3)
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
A: No, software training by ESRI or any other vendor is not the same as a 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. We receive applications in the Mid-South area and nationwide.
We welcome international applicants as well. We provide online courses and ArcGIS
software one year student license. Reapplications are welcome.
Q5: How much does it cost?
A: You can go to the tuition finder <link> to find the current cost of the courses.
Online courses are higher than the traditional courses.
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 accommodations 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 ($10) 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 department’s students can seek for funding. Memphis
Area Geographic Information Council (MAGIC) offers student scholarships.
Q8: Do the courses I take in the GIS Certificate program count towards a graduate degree?
A: You will need to check with your specific Department policies for dual-counting
hours to see how many credit hours you can apply to both.
Q9: Do the GIS courses I take during my undergraduate degree count towards the GIS Certificate
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.
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 Master’s 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. You will
need to check with your specific Department policies for dual-counting hours to see
how many credit hours you can apply to both.
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
A: Yes if you all the program requirements.
Q13: What is the application deadline for the Certificate program?
A: Applications are assessed as we receive them.
Q14: I have completed the required 12 hours of credit. Am I eligible to receive the certificate?
A: Not yet. You have to provide a poster at a conference on a GIS based project at
the end of the program.
Q15. What are the requirements of poster presentation?
Students are required to present their posters at our GIS day conference 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.
Q16: I have already graduated from the GIS Certificate Program – can I continue taking
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.
Q17: Can I subsitute 7000 level independent study for a core or elective course?
A: This is not recommended, but 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.
Q18: Do you have an internship option in the GIS Certificate Program?
A: Yes, there are local companies and government agencies employ our certificate students.
You can do an internship as part of your capstone GIS project.
Q19: Do you offer a course in GIS programming?
A: Yes, ESCI 6610 Automation Process In GIS.
Q20: 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.
Q21: 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.
Q22: 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.
Q23: 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.
Q24: Will you be offering any courses in the Summer term?
A: We offer online GIS courses in the summer.
Q25: Do you offer online GIS courses?
A: Yes. We offer an online GIS course every semester.
Q26: 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 12 credit hours, which is comparable to many
2. Most courses are taught in small classes by full-time tenured and tenure-track
3. We offer online courses.
Q27: 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/). Completion of the GIS certificate degree and graduate level
courses like the ones in the GIS Certificate Program count heavily towards GIS professional