GIS and Geospatial Technology

This five-course, fully online certificate is developed in partnership with UCLA Department of Geography. It provides a comprehensive foundation of knowledge and skills associated with geographic information systems (GIS). It teaches computer-based mapping and spatial analysis techniques with hands-on, project-based instruction using industry-standard GIS software platforms. Upon completion of the program, participants will be prepared for a GIS job and/or integrate GIS technologies into their current professions. 

This program is perfect for...

  • This certificate is an entry-level GIS program designed for anyone looking to get started or learn about the fields of GIS and geospatial technology
  • Early career professionals seeking a competitive edge in a variety of fields, as well as mid-career and late-career professionals seeking to augment or update their existing competencies
  • People interested in learning how to make maps, analyze geographic data, or make decisions using the spatial dimension of data
  • Any professional or student who wants to integrate GIS and related geospatial technologies into their current career or organization
  • Students who want to learn how to use location-based data to better understand the world
  • Professionals from varied industries

What you can learn.

  • Learn to make maps and analyze data using the most popular industry-standard (ArcGIS Desktop) and free open source (QGIS) GIS software platforms
  • Learn how to ask geographic research questions and solve problems with a spatial dimension
  • Master computing and problem-solving skills whose applications extend beyond GIS
  • Acquire skills in data collection, data analysis, and data processing
  • Become proficient in working with spatial data and geographic information systems (GIS)

Know More

GIS advanced remote sensing

Join our online info session. This free information session, conducted entirely online, provides a comprehensive overview of our Geographic Information Systems Programs, including sample videos and a live Q&A with Dr. Nick Burkhart, who will also offer career insights.

Frequently Asked Questions

Get your answers to commonly asked questions like process to enroll in a certificate, pay as you go, suggested course sequence, GISP certification and more.

How to enroll in a certificate? 

  1. Register for GEOG XL 7: Introduction to GIS, as the gateway to the certificate.
  2. Declare certificate candidacy by paying the 'candidacy fee' to establish you as a formal certificate seeking student.

This fee can be paid at any time after or before enrolling in any course(s). Click here to know more about the process in detail.

What are the admissions criteria for the certificate program? 

It is an open enrollment program. 

Students enrolling from outside of English-speaking countries must meet a language proficiency requirement, which can be demonstrated by submitting a copy of one of the following English proficiency tests above the listed minimum scores:
TOEFL: 550 (paper), 213 (computer), 79 (Internet)
IELTS: 6.5
CAE I CPE: Level CI Grades A, B, C

Will I be earning transferrable UCLA course credit?

Yes. All of the courses in the certificate program are accredited and approved by the UCLA Academic Senate as credit-bearing courses. Courses carry both lower-division (Intro) and upper-division (all other courses) undergraduate credit.

Do I need to pay for the entire certificate amount upfront? 

No. Pay as you go, when you sign up for individual course(s). We offer courses every quarter. 

What are the courses like?

No synchronous online or in-person meetings are required. All courses are online and flexibly scheduled, with weekly deadlines providing structure. Our courses are asynchronous, meaning that students are free to work on course-related activities at any time that is convenient and optimal for their individual schedules. However, students are expected to meet a series of weekly deadlines. 

Weekly activities include:

  • Reviewing video lectures, technical screencasts, and readings; Completing practical assignments involving the use of GIS methods to address real-world scenarios; Self-assessment using automated non-graded quizzes; and more.

No high-stakes exams are required: all activities are project-based and centered around practical applications of GIS techniques. Weekly practical assignments are the cornerstone of the program's structure. These assignments are not the typical step-by-step GIS software tutorials: they encourage critical thinking and problem solving, and completing the projects helps in the development of intuitive mastery of GIS tools and methods.

How much time do I need to set aside for coursework?

Students report spending an average of 10 hours per week, per course on completing coursework for this program. However, this is just an average. Student workloads tend to be highest in the Intro course as well as when students choose to take multiple courses concurrently.  

Since the courses are fully online, how are students supported?

We make every effort to ensure that students in the certificate program feel supported. On-demand course content provides everything you need to successfully complete all course activities, but your instructors and the program's administration regularly hold office hours. Office hours are provided at the UCLA campus, online, and by phone. Students and instructors also frequently engage in stimulating conversation in discussion forums integrated within each course module.

What about GISP certification criteria? 

Students planning to pursue GISP certification can apply our courses toward satisfying the GISP's Educational Achievement Component. Students will earn Student Activity Hours (SAH) at a rate of 150 for our Intro to GIS course and 120 for each of the other courses. All courses are transferable and are accredited, approved by the UCLA Academic Senate as credit-bearing courses. 

What is the suggested course sequence? 

It depends on students, their work load and choice of flexibility. But below are two common patterns. 

If student wants to enroll two courses per quarter, follow the below sequence - 

  • Start in Winter with Introduction to GIS & Cartography, followed by Intermediate GIS & Advanced GIS (Spring), GIS Databases and Enterprise GIS (Summer)  
  • Start in Spring with Introduction to GIS & Intermediate GIS, followed by Cartography & GIS Databases and Enterprise GIS (Summer), Advanced GIS (Fall).
  • Start in Summer with Introduction to GIS & Cartography, followed by Intermediate GIS & Advanced GIS (Fall), GIS Databases and Enterprise GIS (Winter).
  • Start in Fall with Introduction to GIS & Intermediate GIS, followed by Cartography & GIS Databases and Enterprise GIS (Winter), Advanced GIS (Spring).

If student wants to enroll one course per quarter, follow the below sequence -

  • Start in Winter with Introduction to GIS, followed by Intermediate GIS (Spring), Cartography (Summer), Advanced GIS (Fall), GIS Databases and Enterprise GIS (Winter).
  • Start in Spring with Introduction to GIS, followed by Cartography (Summer), Intermediate GIS (Fall), GIS Databases and Enterprise GIS (Winter), Advanced GIS (Spring).
  • Start in Summer with Introduction to GIS, followed by Intermediate GIS (Fall), Cartography (Winter), Advanced GIS (Spring), GIS Databases and Enterprise GIS (Summer).
  • Start in Fall with Introduction to GIS, Cartography (Winter), Intermediate GIS (Spring), GIS Databases and Enterprise GIS (Summer), Advanced GIS (Fall).
Show More

Course Availability

Courses/Quarters Winter Spring Summer Fall
Introduction to GIS Yes Yes Yes Yes
Intermediate GIS   Yes   Yes
Advanced GIS   Yes   Yes
Cartography Yes   Yes  
GIS Databases and Enterprise GIS Yes   Yes  


GIS Certificate at UCLA Extension

What our certificates have done for our students.


feel a certificate helped them enhance their careers

1 in 4

received a salary increase after starting a certificate program


switched careers after completing a certificate program


recommend a certificate program to others

Source: UCLA Extension Certificate Graduates Survey


Click below to view the required and elective courses, if applicable, for this program.

Required Introductory Course
Start here with this introductory course.
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer
Required Courses
Take these courses in any sequence after completing GEOG XL 7: Introduction to GIS.
Typically Offered: Winter, Summer
Typically Offered: Winter, Summer
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

Estimated Cost Breakdown

All courses in this program are paid for individually, unless otherwise noted. An application form is required to establish candidacy in this program. From the 'Apply Now' button, complete the online application and pay the application fee if applicable.

Application & Candidacy Fee


Estimated Program Tuition


Estimated program textbook/materials


*The Application & Candidacy Fee establishes your candidacy in the program for a period of time covering normal progress toward completion and may allow you to access a variety of program benefits.

**Federal Financial Aid Gainful Employment Disclosures

The U.S. Department of Education requires colleges and universities to disclose certain information for any financial aid eligible program that, “prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation”. This information includes program costs; occupations that the program prepares students to enter; occupational profiles; on time completion rate; and for the most recent award year: the number of students who have completed the program, the number of students who complete the program within the estimated duration, the job placement rate, and the median Title IV and private loan debt incurred by those who complete the program. For gainful employment information for this program, visit our Financial Aid page.

Contact Us

Speak to a program representative. Hours: Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm.

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The GIS field has grown so much since I took an introductory course in college, and it’s been invaluable to get connected with professors that are so passionate about the field. The program courses feel current, challenging and engaging. The pace has been fast but not overwhelming, and it's been easy to settle into a rhythm with completing assignments and quizzes each week. I'm most impressed by the program's comprehensive focus on both the technical foundation of GIS, as well as the supplemental open source programs, online apps, and design tools.

David McCreary
GIS and Geospatial Technology Student
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