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Image courtesy of Dr. Yulong Zhang

The Graduate Certificate Program in Geographic Information Sciences offered within the Department of Geography and Environment is designed to educate and train students in Geographic Information Sciences with a focus on remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), and spatial analysis. The UNC-CH program is unique in the combination of basic theory with a focus on the practical application of knowledge in public health, ecology, planning, business, and other areas. The program is designed to serve (1) current students who wish to acquire cutting edge geospatial technical expertise to support the topical knowledge gained in their undergraduate and graduate programs, and (2) returning students who wish to acquire specialized education and training to meet current or future job requirements calling for knowledge in geographic information sciences.

Program & Requirements:

  • Complete 18 credit hours of relevant coursework (see the GISc Grad Certificate Handbook for list of possible courses).
    • Transfer credit for appropriate previous courses (6 credits maximum) can be requested from the program director.
  • Finish in 1 year for full-time students; part-time students have up to 4 years to complete.
  • Cost based on rates for graduate tuition & fees and depend on credit hours enrolled (see ).


Application Deadlines:

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, but must be received no later than:

June 15 for fall semester start

November 15 for spring semester start

If you ARE currently enrolled as a graduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill:

Send the following via email to the Program Director (Dr. Erika Wise, by the application deadline:

  • Interest Statement. Email indicating your interest in joining the certificate program with your requested start semester, PID, and UNC email address.
  • Advisor Note. Have your advisor send a brief email stating that they support your enrollment in the program.

If you are NOT currently enrolled as a graduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill:

There is a TWO PART application process:

PART 1: Apply to UNC through the Digital and Lifelong Learning center.

PART 2: Apply for the certificate program by sending the following via email to the Program Director (Dr. Erika Wise,

  • Screenshot showing acceptance of the above PART 1 application..
  • Undergraduate and/or graduate transcript(s). You must have a Bachelor’s degree (any field) to enter the graduate certificate program and have taken an introductory course in statistical methods (stats course can be added to first semester, if needed).
  • Personal essay. Describe your interest in the program and your professional goals, indicate your requested start semester, and provide your current full contact information (2-page maximum).
  • Recommendation Letter. One letter of recommendation from someone who is qualified to serve as a professional reference. You may include the letter directly with your application or you can include the name, position, and contact information in your application & ask your letter writer to email the letter to

Both parts should be completed by the application deadline.

For More Information:

Please see the GISc Grad Certificate Handbook for additional information and complete program details.  Further questions can be directed to Dr. Erika Wise, Director of the GISc Certificate Program, at

Image courtesy of Dr. Yulong Zhang