College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences > Academics > Geography > GIS Certificate > FAQ

GIS Certificate FAQ

How long does it take to complete the certificate?

DePaul operates on the quarter system (Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer) and there are five courses required for the certificate. Therefore, if you take one class per quarter, it would take about a year and half to complete the program. However, many students choose to take two classes at a time and are able to finish in three or four quarters. We often offer introductory GIS courses (141 or 441) in the Summer quarter. See requirements​.

How much will the certificate cost?

If you are a full-time DePaul undergraduate student, there is no additional cost for the certificate program if you take the five courses in conjunction with your existing studies as electives or learning domain requirements. Otherwise, the tuition charged for the GIS Certificate is part-time undergraduate tuition. The 2018-2019 tuition is $630 per credit hour. Each certificate course is four credit hours and there are five courses. Therefore the tuition will be $12,600.  In addition to tuition, there are fees and the cost of books. If you are a graduate student, you should check with your degree program about how to incorporate the GIS Certificate into your program of study. Some graduate programs may allow undergraduate GIS courses to be counted towards a graduate degree; others may not. Many graduate students who complete the 5-course GIS Certificate are in a master's in Public Service, Master of Public Health, master's in Psychology (e.g. Community Psychology) and master's in Sociology program. ​​​

When and where are the classes offered?

The GIS Certificate classes are primarily offered during the day, two days a week for an hour and a half each session. On occasion a course may be offered at night, one evening a week for three hours. At this time there are no plans to offer more evening classes. Consequently, you will not be able to complete the 5-course GIS Certificate if you only plan to take courses scheduled at night. All of the courses are taught on the Lincoln Park Campus. At this time, the courses are not taught online. ​

Is there a prerequisite?

Yes. GEO141 GIS I has a prerequisite of LSP120 Mathematical and Technological Literacy I (MTL I) OR an equivalent college-level math course. For questions regarding the proficiency exam for testing out of LSP 120 please go to and click on ‘Placement.’ If you have already completed a BA/BS degree, the LSP 120 requirement will probably be waived. Contact to confirm this wavier. ​

What if I have an associate’s degree?

A student with an associate’s degree​ must apply to DePaul as an undergraduate, degree seeking student. Once accepted into DePaul as an undergraduate, you can enroll in the GIS Certificate. ​

What if I have a BA/BS or an MA/MS degree already?

You should enroll in the GIS Certificate as an undergraduate, non-degree seeking student. Further application information can be found at DePaul's Non-Degree Admissions Page. If you have additional questions regarding undergraduate non-degree seeking student admissions process please contact The GIS Certificate is not a graduate certificate. ​

If I’m currently taking courses at another university, can I enroll in GIS courses at DePaul?

A student from another university, who wishes to enroll in GIS Certificate courses at DePaul, must be in good academic standing at that university and should enroll as a student-at-large at DePaul. ​

When do I need to enroll in classes for the GIS Certificate?

You cannot enroll in any DePaul courses until you have been admitted as a student to DePaul University. Once you have been admitted and have a DePaul ID number, you can enroll in GIS courses through Campus Connection. The deadline for enrolling in any GIS Certificate course is the ‘Add Classes’ deadline for all DePaul courses. This is typically one week after the start of the academic quarter. ​

Can I transfer classes from other universities?

This is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. As the Certificate requires only five courses, it is department policy to only allow a maximum of one previously completed non-DePaul GIS course to be counted toward the certificate. ​

I am not currently a DePaul student. How do I enroll?

​Students interested in completing the GIS Certificate who are not currently enrolled at DePaul University need to apply to DePaul online as an undergraduate, non-degree seeking student (even if you have already earned an undergraduate or advanced degree). Please indicate that you are interested in pursuing the GIS Certificate Program. For more information, please contact the department at 773-325-7669. Also please visit the main DePaul Admission website. ​

I am a current DePaul student. How do I enroll?

If you are an undergraduate student, you need to declare the program on the Major Declaration Form. Indicate in the “Minor 1” field that you want to declare the “GIS Certificate Program.” If you are a Geography major and the system will not let you declare your GIS Certificate in this way, send an email with your name, DePaul ID number and a statement that you wish to add the GIS Certificate to

If you are a current DePaul student but are a graduate student, then you must apply to the university separately as a “non-degree seeking undergraduate” and declare the GIS Certificate Program in that application. In some cases, arrangements can be made with the department in which you are completing your graduate degree for a GIS course to count towards that degree. If you are a current DePaul student and wish to enroll in the GIS Certificate, for additional information please contact

What is the status of the GIS Certificate program as regards more widely accepted GIS Certification?

The DePaul Geography Department's GIS certificate was created as a coherent set of courses in 1997 in response to a general demand for credentials in geotechnology, before there were any formal certification standards in GIS. These standards have been developing over the last 10 years or so - mainly through the GIS Certification Institute (GISCI) which was formed by URISA, the AAG and the ACSM in 2001 to develop standards for GIS certification and to create a post baccalaureate certification process. You can find more about this at

Bottom Line: The education that you get either through pursuing a BA in Geography at DePaul or the GIS certificate alone (when combined with an allied major) is a great start to pursuing a formal professional certification from GISCI. ​

What is the NSPS?

The National Society of Professional Surveyors (NSPS) is the main professional organization of land surveyors and has become a growing resource for GIS professionals. They have an education section linked from their website that has a listing of colleges and universities offering training for certification as a land surveyor (this depends on the state you are working in typically). ​

Where do graduates of the certificate program find employment?

Recent graduates of the Department of Geography’s Certificate Program work for the U.S. Government (NSA, EPA, National Imaging and Mapping Agency, Department of Labor, Bureau of the Census), engineering and environmental consulting firms, cartographic production firms (Rand McNally, Mappix, Nystrom), and state and local government agencies such as the Illinois Department for Natural Resources or the City of Chicago. Many students also find employment in the burgeoning non-profit sector. ​