In just one year, build the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) skills that government agencies and private businesses want. The UW-Madison GIS Certificate program provides hands-on, real-world experience and personal connections to help you prepare for and find your ideal job.

Is this program right for you?

If you are drawn to data, maps, and information—and seek a growing field—the UW-Madison accelerated Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Certificate could be the right fit. Employment of geographers is expected to grow 29% in the next decade, much faster than the average for other occupations.


At UW-Madison, our GIS students stand on the shoulders of our reputation as a renowned geography department. We are one of the top programs in the nation, and most of our students secure employment immediately upon completion of their GIS certificate.


In just one year, you will be able to integrate and analyze spatial and non-spatial information for mapping, planning, and decision making. These skills are sought by government agencies, private engineering firms, non-profit organizations, consultants, utility companies, and other employers around the world.


You will attend classes with our master’s degree students and PhD candidates and gain practical experience working and studying in places like our Robinson Map Library, UW Cartography Lab, or the Wisconsin State Cartographer’s Office.


To complete your certificate, you will cap off your studies with an internship project that takes advantage of your skills and interests. With our help, you will find a host, develop a proposal, and carry out a project that communicates your results involving data development, spatial analysis, and the production of maps. Often students find that their internship lays the groundwork for future employment. Many former students are today’s employers, and they come to us seeking the best candidates to fill their GIS positions.


The UW-Madison GIS Certificate offers a highly specialized and deeply personal experience for each of our students. We provide intensive, one-on-one interactions to make sure you find the best fit for your background and interests, secure a meaningful internship, and are ready to take on a role as a GIS specialist, analyst, or project manager.


What you learn

  • Become grounded in the conceptual underpinnings of GIS technology in order to make informed use of current GIS applications
  • Acquire the technological skills needed to construct new GIS applications in a wide variety of disciplines
  • Use common GIS techniques to collect, analyze, process, and display geographic data
  • Apply GIS to solve real-world problems
  • Gain experience with common commercial and open-source GIS software

Where & how you learn


  • Face-to-face


  • Complete the GIS Certificate in one year, plus an internship; students may also complete the program attending part-time
  • Begin in fall or spring semester

Apply Now

Deadlines for submitting applications to the UW-Madison GIS Certificate program are April 15 for fall admission and October 15 for spring admission. Applications received after these dates may be considered if space allows.

All applicants must:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree (preferably in a physical or social science)
  • Have a minimum undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale; Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required
  • Have completed an introductory course in statistical methods, or take an intro statistics course prior to taking the Advanced Quantitative Methods class
  • Not be enrolled in another undergraduate or graduate program while completing our GIS Certificate program
  • Submit official student transcripts, a one-page statement of interest, and three letters of recommendation; non-native English speakers must also submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score

Apply now or visit program website.