GIS and Geospatial Technology

Learn how to use location-based data to better understand the world. Offered in partnership with the UCLA Department of Geography, this certificate provides an introduction to the methods and techniques used within the field of GIS and geospatial technology. Available Format: Online

This program is perfect for...

  • Individuals looking to gain a competitive edge by learning how to make data-driven decisions using maps and spatial analysis
  • Young professionals looking to get started in the fields of GIS and geospatial technology
  • Seasoned professionals seeking to augment or update their existing competencies with highly marketable GIS techniques
  • Any professional or student who wants to integrate GIS and related geospatial technologies into their current career or organization

What you can learn.

  • Create maps and analyze data using industry-standard GIS software and open source platforms, including Esri ArcGIS and QGIS
  • How to think spatially, produce maps, conduct data analysis with GIS, and communicate effectively with cartography
  • The design, development, and management of geospatial databases, including multi-user enterprise geodatabases
  • Advanced spatial analysis and data visualization methods used to solve real-world problems

About the program.

GIS advanced remote sensing

UCLA Extension's GIS and Geospatial Technology Certificate, created in partnership with the UCLA Department of Geographyprovides a comprehensive introduction to the state-of-the-art methods and techniques used in the field of geographic information systems (GIS) and geospatial technology.

The program teaches computer-based mapping and spatial analysis techniques with hands-on, project-based instruction using industry-standard GIS software platforms.

All courses are designed to accommodate the schedules of working professionals, and no prior GIS experience is required or assumed. Participants who complete the program can expect to be sufficiently prepared for an entry-level job in GIS and/or related geospatial industries.

The certificate program is offered 100% online and may be completed in as little as one year.

Map out a better future.

Expect more from your education.

Learn from Industry Leaders

''Eighty percent of the world's data contains a location component, and geospatial technology is the key to understanding and making decisions using location data science. Our students benefit from a practical GIS education in which they develop a professional portfolio as they complete coursework.''

Sierra Burkhard
Sample Module

Online Info Session

Get a comprehensive overview of the program, gain career insights, and learn what it takes to create a map of professional quality using GIS software.

Enroll Now

The UCLA Extension GIS program has taught me extensive GIS knowledge and problem-solving skills with valuable hands-on experiences using powerful ArcGIS and QGIS software. Every course is well organized and executed as an online program. I highly recommend it for any entry-level GIS professionals and enthusiasts.

Jae-il Shin
GIS and Geospatial Technology Student

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: Fall, Spring
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring
Typically Offered: Winter, Summer

What are the admissions criteria for the certificate program? 

The certificate program is an open enrollment program, meaning that any interested prospective students can enroll in the program regardless of previous educational experience. 

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
  • ITEP: 5
  • CAE I CPE: Level CI Grades A, B, C

How do I enroll in the certificate program?

1. Enroll in GEOG XL 7: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) 

2. Establish certificate candidacy by clicking "Apply Now" below, following the prompts, and paying the candidacy fee. 

You may declare yourself as a certificate candidate at any time after enrolling in the Introduction to GIS course. This entitles you to certain benefits and establishes you as a student formally seeking the certificate. No formal application process is required given that this program is structured as an open enrollment program. 

Learn more about certificate candidacy

Will I be earning transferable 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. You’ll enroll in and pay for each course individually each quarter. 

What are the courses like?

All courses are online and flexibly scheduled, with weekly deadlines providing structure. We strike the right balance between flexibility and structure: we move through course content together as a cohort, but when you review the content and complete the required activities each week is up to you. No synchronous online or in-person meetings are required.

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

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. Assignments 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?

On average, students report spending approximately 10 hours per week, per course on completing coursework for this program. 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 the Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) course and 120 for each of the other courses. All courses are transferable and accredited, approved by the UCLA Academic Senate as credit-bearing courses. 

    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.

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