GIS Certificate

Graduate Certificate Program

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is the process of managing and analyzing spatial data for decision-making purposes. Data have become more and more integral in the functioning of many businesses and industries. Uses include crime mapping, urban planning, logistics, environmental issues, environmental monitoring, business/public facilities location analysis, etc.

The Graduate Certificate is a 18 hour graduate three-semester sequence designed to prepare students for proficiency in the field. Students seeking admission to the certificate program are required to fulfill the general requirements for admissions to graduate programs at Chicago State University (CSU), which includes attainment of a 3.0 GPA at the undergraduate level. In addition, students who lack at least 3 hours of introductory computer programming and 3 hours of introductory GIS may be required to make up these deficiencies. Students who have already taken some of the required courses at CSU or elsewhere are encouraged to consult with the graduate advisor. Fieldwork and internships are a key part of the program. The department has established relationships with a variety of businesses, community organizations, and public agencies that hire frequently in the GIS area. For those students wishing to continue their degree program can register for one of the Master's degree program, i.e., the M.A. in Geography or the M.A. in Geography with  Geographic Information Systems Concentration.

Upon completion of the certificate students should be able to:

  • Explain earth-map relationships and distortions on map projections; 
  • Process analog and digital remote-sensing data to prepare imagery for analysis;
  • Analyze analog and digital remote-sensing data to extract/create new information;
  • Build spatial databases consisting of raster and/or vector data for GIS analysis and modeling;
  • Use analytical capabilities of ArcGIS and ERDAS IMAGINE for spatial analysis and modeling;
  • Design and implement a major/semester-long GIS project to address a significant research question(s);
  • Design a web map that allows viewers to display and query layers on a map; and
  • Organize analysis results into coherent written and oral presentations.


The Geographic Information Systems Laboratory at CSU consists of 16 Windows 10 workstations, two servers, and several printers for map output. The machines contain the latest releases ArcGIS and ERDAS IMAGINE software. Other map composition tools, geocoding and statistical software, including Corel Draw and SPSS are loaded on the workstations. Global Positioning Systems equipment is available for use in course and project work.

Also, several local and regional datasets are stored in the lab and are available for research purposes. Among these datasets are a library of Landsat satellite imagery for the past three decades covering Illinois and large parts of neighboring states, IKONOS imagery of the Lake Calumet Region, and several sets of census information. Other resources include the Calumet Environmental Resource Center (CERC) and the Fredrick Blum Neighborhood Assistance Center (NAC).

Certificate Courses (18 hours):

Geog 5800    Introduction to GIS

Geog 4810   Cartographic Design & Visualization

Geog 5820   Environmental Remote Sensing

Geog 5830   Advanced Geographic Information Systems

Geog 5840   Advanced Remote Sensing

Geog 5850   Geographic Information Systems Applications

Additional Information About This Program

This certificate primarily prepares students to work in various career areas that focus on economic development, business, government, teaching, advanced research and community development. For information about program costs, employment, and other information, click here for gainful employment.

For more information, please contact:

Dr. Daniel Block, Graduate Advisor

Office: SCI-254

Phone: (773) 995-2310