Old Dominion University
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College of Arts and Letters

Department of Political Science and Geography



Capstone Requirements


Degree Programs

Certificate in GIScience


The certificate in Geographic Information Science provides a program for students and professionals pursuing careers in geographic information systems (GIS) and related spatial technologies (remote sensing, global positioning systems, cartography, and spatial data handling and analysis).  Awarded upon completion of the requirements, the certificate is an affidavit of academic proficiency and is administered by the Department of Political Science and Geography.  Students must take courses in the areas listed below and complete them with a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher and no grade below a C (2.00).  The certificate is available to undergraduates, graduate students, and non-degree seeking professionals who meet the requirements.  Students with comparable professional experience may be able to satisfy competencies in selected courses through examination.

Students seeking undergraduate certification must complete the 300- and 400-level courses (18 credits), and those seeking graduate certification must complete the 500-level courses (18 credits):

I. Core Courses:
GEOG 300 Maps and Geographic Information or GEOG 408/508 Cartography (3 credits)
GEOG 402/502 Geographic Information Systems (3 credits)
GEOG 404/504 Digital Techniques in Remote Sensing (3 credits)

II. Developmental Courses: Select nine (9) credits from the following courses:
GEOG 330 Field Methods
GEOG 368 Internship in Geography*
GEOG 400W/500 Seminar in Geography*
GEOG 408/508 Cartography
GEOG 411/511 Urban and Regional Planning*
GEOG 419/519 Spatial Analysis of Coastal Environments
GEOG 425/525 Internet GIS
GEOG 432/532 Advanced GIS
GEOG 490/590 Applied Cartography/GIS
GEOG 495/595 Topics in Geography*
GEOG 497/597 Independent Research in Geography*
* These courses require advance approval

Contact Information:
Dr. Hua Liu
BAL 7012
Tel: (757) 683-3846


Students are required to register online before taking any certificate classes.  Students will need to submit the Application Form for Completion of Certificate in Geographic Information Science in the last semester.  We process eligible applications for the completion at the end of fall, spring, and summer terms, but applications must be submitted before the last day of classes.  

Access to online registration

Note: An ODU MIDAS account and password are needed for online registration.  Once your registration is submitted, your information (e.g., email address) will be added to a database maintained by the certificate program.  Announcements will be delivered to that registered address when needed.

Access to Application Form for Completion of Certificate in Geographic Information Science  

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I enroll?

The GIScience certificate is open to any admitted undergraduate or graduate student that satisfies the prerequisites of introductory GIS (3-6 credits of introductory geography.) Professionals may pursue the certificate by applying for admission to the university as "non-degree-seeking" students.  Professionals who have previously earned a bachelor's degree may then register for 500-level courses for possibly application of credits to university degree programs or subsequent transfer.

How long does it take?

The certificate is available to fit your schedule, so it takes as long as you pursue it.  To the extent possible by faculty staff, required courses are offered every semester.  Most full-time students complete the requirements within a year and a half.  Professionals may pursue the certificate on their own schedule, one or two courses per semester until completed.  Given the dynamic nature of software, students are encouraged to immerse themselves insofar as their schedules allow.

Who offers the certificate?

The faculty of the Geography Program offer most courses in the GIScience certificate and provide the state-of-the-art in theory and application, from a geographic and spatial analytical perspective.  Since there is no national accreditation or curriculum program in GIScience, the Old Dominion GIScience Certificate routinely models itself upon the trends in leading programs nationwide.  Individual courses are modified virtually ever semester to maintain currency and excellence of instruction.

What software is used?

Old Dominion University maintains a site license for ESRI GIS and Leica Geosystems' Erdas IMAGINE software.  In addition to a variety of productivity, statistical, and visualization software, these are the staple systems used in most GISci courses.

When is the certificate awarded?

The GIScience certificate is awarded in the final semester of coursework.  For graduating students, the certificate is awarded pending final course grades after commencement ceremonies.  For graduate students and professionals, the certificate is awarded pending course completion.  It may then be picked up from the department or mailed to your permanent address.  The certificate is only awarded upon completion of courses and the required application form.


 Last updated: 12-21-2009