Harper College

Geographic Information Systems Certificate

High-growth industry: Geospatial tech 

Program factsSocial Sciences icon

  • Credit hours: 18
  • Stackable to degree: No
  • Potential job outcomes: GIS technician, GIS analyst/programmer, cartographer, remote sensing technician/analyst
  • Format: Online

Learn how to apply geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) tech and methods with this 18-credit-hour certificate program offered 100% online for ultimate scheduling flexibility.

GIS is an exciting, rapidly changing technology. You can greatly enhance your career opportunities with knowledge of geospatial technology tools, such as GPS (Global Positioning Systems), GIS (Geographic Information Systems), and earth imagery from platforms such as satellites and unmanned aerial systems (drones). 

  • 100% online courses and support services fits your busy life.
  • Hands-on experience in cartographic design, spatial analysis, database design and implementation using geographic computing devices and accessories.
  • Service and internship opportunities. After graduation, you’ll be qualified to seek entry-level employment as an analyst or technician.
  • Choose to work in a variety of industries such as marketing, governmental, planning, health, tech, utilities, academia, emergency and public safety or agriculture.
  • With location intelligence expertise, you can help address today’s complex problems such as global and local wealth inequities, cultural diversity and demographic change, migration, sustainability etc. 
  • Learn directly from Masters and PhD level faculty with dozens of years of teaching and research experience.
  • Participate in biannual GIS study abroad programs and access "beyond the classroom" learning tools.

Take courses in business software packages, database systems, GIS and mapping principles, applications for GIS and more. All courses are taught by skilled instructors who are extremely knowledgeable in the GIS field.

This certificate program has been designed to be offered in an online format. For more information about online courses at Harper, see the Online Learning website.

Certificate program requirements

This 18 credit-hour certificate provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary to effectively apply Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and related technologies and methodologies in various business and public sector domains as a technician or analyst. This certificate provides course work and hands-on experience in cartographic design, spatial analysis, spatial database design, the fundamentals of remote sensing, as well as the use of geographic computing devices and accessories.

F = Fall only course S = Spring only course U = Summer only course


Number Course Title Credits
GEG 150 3

Description:  Provides an introduction to geospatial technologies, such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and Remote Sensing through hands-on computer based exercises. The essential principles of map use and design, and spatial analysis are also included in this course. Fundamental desktop computer skills assumed. IAI S4 905

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GEG 151   S   3

DescriptionThis course is only offered in the spring term.

Introduces the concepts and problem solving capabilities of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Spatial data sourcing and management will be learned using information acquired in the field or from other sources. Spatial analysis concepts will be introduced through hands-on exercises using GIS software.

Prerequisite: GEG 150 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GEG 152   S   3

DescriptionThis course is only offered in the spring term.

Continues GEG 151. Emphasizes the practical application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to solve problems and answer questions. Increases level of proficiency using GIS and performing spatial analysis of data. Introduces GIS operational and management issues.

Prerequisite: GEG 151 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GEG 153 3

Description:  Consolidates the concepts and techniques acquired through prior coursework within the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) certificate. Students will analyze case studies, understand geospatial technology as a professional field, and apply geospatial technology methods and workflows in classroom projects.

Prerequisite: GEG 152 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GEG 250   F   3

DescriptionThis course is only offered in the fall term.

Provides an introduction to remote sensing of the Earth. Topics include the physical principles upon which remote sensing is based; history and future directions; sensors and their characteristics; image data sources; image classification, interpretation and analysis techniques; and the integration of workflow outputs into GIS (Geographic Information Systems).

Prerequisite: GEG 150 with a grade of C or better.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

Electives: Select three credit hours from the following courses:

Number Course Title Credits
CIS 106 1 3

Description:  Provides students with a comprehensive introduction to computer programming using a currently popular programming language. Includes program logic, program structure, subroutines/functions/methods, variables, conditions, loops, arrays, files/data access, and object-oriented programming. A variety of programs are created throughout the course.

Prerequisite: Math placement into MTH 101 or higher. mathplacement.php

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GEG 100 3

Description:  Provides a systematic or regional introduction to the basic concepts of human geography using spatial analysis/awareness with both traditional and digital map analysis. Examines the causes and consequences of the uneven distribution of human activity, covering themes such as population, culture, economic activity, development, and urban patterns. IAI S4 900N

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GEG 101 3

Description:  Provides a thematic or regional introduction to the basic concepts of how world regions are constructed or classified. Using spatial analysis of both traditional and digital maps, factors will be explored to assess how regions evolve and are classified. Concepts will explore both developed and undeveloped regions connecting both human and physical geographical factors shaping and defining the classification of regions and interrelationships between them. IAI S4 906

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GEG 103 3

Description:  Examines the regions of the world conventionally called “developing” or “emerging,” including the spatial patterns of physical and cultural elements that impart unique identities within these regions using both digital and traditional maps to explore complex geopolitical relations and/or international conflicts among developing regions of the world. IAI S4 902N

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GEG 111 3

Description:  Examines the spatial distribution of elements of Earth’s four physical spheres: the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the lithosphere, and the biosphere including landforms, climates, weather, vegetation, and soils. Consideration is given to the causes of these distributions and to their effects on human populations. IAI P1 909

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

GEG 155 1-3

Description:  Provides a structured work experience in a supervised setting using GIS or other geospatial technologies. Students are exposed to the technical and managerial issues faced by a geospatial technician or analyst. Students prepare a written report at the end of the assignment.

Prerequisite: GEG 150 with a grade of C or better, and consent of program coordinator.

Class Schedule:  Summer 2024 | Fall 2024

1 - Placement into MTH 101 or higher.


Next steps

To learn more on potential careers or coursework, contact the Geography Department.

For more information about GIS courses, contact Admission Outreach at 847.925.6700, or submit a request information form. You can also apply online.

Last Updated: 4/8/24