Specialized GIScience training and skills: How does that relate to the job market?
There are a range of careers that use Geographic Information Science (GIScience). In 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration divided the GIScience workforce into 10 distinct occupations, including various kinds of scientists, technicians, surveyors and cartographers.
Table 1. Estimated 2010 US employment for 10 geospatial occupations and projected employment growth
Source: DiBiase, Strengthening the GIS Profession, 2012, Web.
US Bureau of Labor Statistics available at: http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/15-1199.05
How many students are normally enrolled in each program?
We currently service 100-110 undergraduate and graduate students on an annual basis, as well as the hundreds of students who take selected GISci courses for their degrees programs, career development, or general interest and skill-building. Our number of certificate program graduates is 25 per year for the graduate certificate and 30 per year for the undergraduate certificate.
We offer an undergraduate certificate for currently enrolled students, both online and on-campus. We offer a graduate certificate for currently enrolled students, both online and on-campus. We also offer an online-only, graduate certificate for working professionals who already possess a baccalaureate degree. As of Fall 2017, we are offering an on-campus-only, baccalaureate degree in Geography and Geospatial Science. This on-campus-only BS degree replaces the Geography Undergraduate Option within the Earth Sciences major.
How many credits are required?
Twenty-seven (27) credit hours are required for the undergraduate certificate, and 19 for the graduate certificate, and 85 for the BS degree in Geography and Geospatial Science.
How will I know when courses are offered?
In terms of when classes are offered, please click on the course numbers listed in the Curriculum for your chosen certificate program. Each of those numbers links to the online OSU catalog, which tells you when a course is offered during the academic year.
Which track should I choose (GIS, Cartography, Remote Sensing, or Geomatics)?
You should seek some advising from one of the Core Faculty members in the program. See Core Faculty. Also, see the Elective Tracks links of Geographic Information Science web site that tell you more about Cartography, GIS, Remote Sensing, and Geomatics. Note also that the geomatics track is available only for the undergraduate certificate.
What is the cost of the certificate program?
There is no additional cost for the undergraduate or graduate certificate programs as the required courses will be taken as part of an existing degree program that the student is already enrolled in.
Students enrolled in the online-only graduate certificate pay E-campus tuition and fees. E-campus courses are the same price for Oregon Residents, Non-residents, and international students. For more information, see the E-campus Tuition & Fees web page.
Does financial aid apply to the online-only graduate certificate program?
Yes, students enrolled in only graduate certificate programs may qualify for federal loan financial aid. In addition, a need-based grant is available to fully-admitted E-campus students. Please see the E-campus Financial Aid web page for more information.
What materials, if any, are supplied by the program?
None. The student must purchase textbooks as required by the credit courses.
What are the recommendations for computer hardware, software, and Internet access?
If you are taking a course on the OSU campus, this information will be provided to you by your instructor, and you will receive the necessary hardware, software and Internet access as part of the course. If you are taking a course by way of distance education (through OSU Extended Campus, ESRI Virtual Campus, and/or OSU QuickSkills), please be advised that you will need access to a computer with the following MINIMUM requirements in order to successfully run any software needed for the laboratory component of a course, as well as to download the many large PowerPoint, PDF, and movie files that normally accompany lectures:
- Pentium computer (laptop or desktop) with at least an 2.2 GHz processor
- running either Windows 2003, Windows 2008, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, or Windows 8 as an operating system. Please note that the software will not function properly in Windows 95/98/Me/NT.
- 2 GB RAM
- approximately 2.4 Gb of free disk space
- standard graphics cards that come with today’s latest laptops and desktops should be more than sufficient.
- robust Internet connection, i.e. BROADBAND (cable Internet or DSL)
And the necessary software is usually provided as part of the cost of a distance ed. course
Is there any fieldwork or final thesis involved?
What is the minimum GPA (grade point average) required while in the program?
At this time we are not enforcing a minimum GPA but will seek a student out for counseling if his/her GPA in certificate coursework falls below 3.0.
Is there a maximum time allowed for a student to complete a certificate?
The undergraduate certificate must be completed by the time the student’s baccalaureate degree is conferred. The graduate certificate must be completed within a time frame of 7 years. A student not completing a graduate certificate by this time, but who at a later time wishes to do so, may receive a subsequent certificate through the Alumni College with the permission of the GIScience certificate program core faculty members.
Do the credits taken apply to other college programs or CEUs (continuing education units)?
Yes, credits earned at OSU in courses taken for the any of the certificates should be transferrable to other accredited universities or applicable as continuing education credits for post-baccalaureate students.
The GIS Certification Institute (www.gisci.org), runs a national program for the certification of GIS Professionals, including an ascription to a GIS code of ethics. The program was originally piloted by the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA). OSU geographic information science courses and certificates DO count toward this national certification (GISP).
If I was enrolled in the original professional certificate program (2004-2006), will my courses be transcripted?
Yes, the courses that you take for credit will be transcripted. However, the required non-credit QuickSkills and ESRI Virtual Campus courses will NOT be transcripted. The professional certificate, when awarded, will not be recorded on the transcript. You will receive a paper certificate from OSU Geosciences to indicate your completion of the certificate program.
What are the admission/residency requirements or prerequisites for the certificate program?
Undergraduate and graduate students must already be enrolled in good standing in any major course of study or degree program at OSU. Students desiring the undergraduate certificate must also have background training in college algebra and trigonometry, and introductory statistics, while students desiring the graduate certificate must have background training in college algebra/trig, introductory cartography, and introductory statistics/statistical methods.
For those interested in online offerings only, here is a list of completely online GIS certificates or degrees offered elsewhere.
If I am an international student, may I be admitted to the certificate program?
If you are an international student already admitted to a formal undergraduate or graduate degree program here at OSU, you may certainly undertake the undergraduate or graduate certificate.
Are GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores required for the graduate certificate?
What coursework is required?
Please see the Curriculum portion of the Geographic Information Science web site..
Who are the instructors? What are their qualifications?
The instructors are all highly qualified in their fields. Most of them hold the doctoral degree and all of them are well-published and well-respected in their fields. A brief profile of instructors may be found in the Faculty sections of the Geographic Information Science web site. Oregon State University is also a founding member of the University Consortium of Geographic Information Science, a group of leading U.S. institutions in the field with regard to basic and applied research and education.
What university unit is in charge of the certificate program?
The College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences has main administrative charge over the program, although the main teaching is shared with the Departments of Forest Engineering, Resources & Management, and Forest Ecosystems & Society.
Who is the head or the director of the certificate program?
Kuuipo Walsh at the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. See Kuuipo’s web site.
How do I schedule an advising appointment?
Kuuipo Walsh is the Undergraduate and Graduate Adviser, and well as the Online Grad Certificate Adviser. To request an appointment with the GIScience certificate adviser, please send an email to Kuuipo Walsh at firstname.lastname@example.org requesting an appointment. Your email should include the following information:
- Days and times you are available
- Whether you are a current OSU Student or a Prospective Student
- If you are an OSU student, your OSU ID#
- Any additional information you think would be relevant
How long has the certificate program been operational?
The program became officially operational in the Fall of 2004.
Do I need to request a leave of absence?
No, although courses completed no more than seven years prior to the graduate certificate award may be used to satisfy certificate requirements. Students enrolled in certificates without concurrent enrollment in a graduate degree program are not subject to the continuous enrollment policy during the time allowed for certificate completion.
How do I obtain or renew an ArcGIS license?
You may obtain ArcGIS 10.x through Information Services.
Just fill out the form at:
For help contact the OSU Service Desk via email or 541-737-8787.
Note: Currently the College of Forestry and the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences both use ArcGIS 10.4.1 in a majority of courses and labs this academic year (fall term 2016-spring term 2017). For other colleges, check with your instructor or lab manager.
How do I obtain training in ArcGIS through Esri’s web-based short courses?
A new Esri training site was launched over the summer. All students, faculty and staff at OSU now have free access to a number of web-based courses offered through Esri and no longer need an access code. You will first need to create an Esri account (https://accounts.esri.com/signup) and then contact Cory Langhoff, an OSU training administrator, to link your Esri account with training resources. Once authorized, you’ll have access to over 100 self-paced training modules. You may contact Cory via email at email@example.com.