GIS Certificate Details

Geospatial Information Science (GIS), known to some as “computer mapping,” is used to store, manage, analyze, synthesize, and display spatial data and information. In the College of Architecture and Planning we use GIS to analyze and understand space, to answer the place-based questions posed by our stakeholders and our clients, and to create the planning- and research-oriented maps that are critical to communicating with our stakeholders. Our work with GIS in the college is built on the many advances in Geospatial Information Science over the last 40 years.

This certificate program is intended for motivated people with a strong interest in the application of GIS to the design and planning professions. It is targeted both at students currently enrolled in a University of Colorado degree program who wish to add a credential to their degree and working professionals who do not wish to enroll as degree students, but who wish to pursue a certificate to improve job skills.

Students who earn this Certificate through the College of Architecture and Planning at the University of Colorado Denver will exit the program with the following:

  1. An understanding of GIS theory and concepts
  2. Technical mastery of general GIS methods using ArcGIS as well as familiarity with remote sensing
  3. Familiarity with common public geospatial data sources, as well as metadata standards
  4. Knowledge of data interoperability, including how to move data and maps from one software platform to another; examples of software includes Adobe Creative Suite, 3D Studio Max, SketchUp, RhinoTerrain, ArcMap, and Quantum GIS
  5. Specialized skills in geospatial technologies and methods related to the design and planning professions, including rendering and visualizations, infrastructure and transportation network analysis, cadastral mapping, site selection and analysis, geodesign, and many others.

GIS is a rapidly growing field and an increasingly important job skill. GIS skills are showing up as requirements for architects, landscape architects and planners. Our GIS Certificate holders are currently working as: environmental planners, transportation planners, city planners, urban designers, landscape architects and software developers.

A minimum of a 3.0 GPA in all GIS related course work is required to earn the GIS Certificate, and for certificate credit a B- or better is required in all GIS certificate courses.

Course Requirements

Achieving the GIS certificate in your degree program requires you to follow the appropriate advising sheet.You can download the relevant advising sheets below.

Part 1: Introductory GIS class (3 credits)

  • URPL 6250 - GIS Analysis
  • URPL 6800 - Introduction to GIS
  • LDAR 5540 - Introduction to GIS

Part 2: Advanced GIS class (3 credits)

  • URPL 6260 - Advanced Geospatial Methods

Part 3: One of the following (3 credits)

  • GEOG 5060 - Remote Sensing 1
  • GEOG 5070 - Remote Sensing 2
  • Boulder: GEOG 4093 - Remote Sensing of the Environment

Part 4: Specialized advanced class (9 credits)

  • GEOG 5081 - Cartography and Computer Mapping (required for MLA GIS Certificate)
  • GEOG 5090 - Environmental Modeling with GIS
  • GEOG 5085 - GIS Applications for the Urban Environment
  • GEOG 5230 - Hazard Mitigation and Vulnerability
  • GEOG 5095 - Deploying GIS Functionality on the Web
  • CVEN 5382 - GIS Spatial Database Development
  • CVEN 5385 - GIS Relational Database Systems
  • CVEN 5800 - Geomatics for GIS
  • LDAR 6686 – Advanced Topics in GIS
  • Any course from the Part 3 list (either track) not already used to fulfill the Part 3 requirement
  • Up to 3 credits from a studio course where intensive GIS is used. This must be done by submitting a petition to the coordinators describing the GIS activities undertaken.
  • Up to 3 credits for an internship using GIS in a planning or design context, also by petition. Please see the coordinators before you start the process of looking for an internship.
  • Other relevant courses by permission

Part 5: Portfolio

  • A digital portfolio of GIS-related work completed for work undertaken in classes in the College of Architecture and Planning is required as part of the completion of the GIS Certificate.
  • Requirements for the portfolio will be made available to students when they sign up for the GIS Certificate.

Note: Students pursuing the GIS Certificate in the College of Architecture and Planning are expected to use GIS data and software in their design and planning related classes.

Students who have completed all of the requirements for the GIS Certificate must submit their GIS Certificate form at the start of the semester that they plan to graduate.

Hours: 18 credit hours

Eligibility and Application

The certificate program is open to all. Applicants already enrolled in a University of Colorado degree program need only submit an internal application to the CAP GIS certificate program. Applicants who are not currently enrolled in a degree program must apply to CU Denver as non-degree seeking students and also submit an application to the CAP GIS certificate program. More details on the process are available from the coordinator.