Learn the core conceptual and applied underpinnings of GIS at your own pace and around your schedule. Our GIS Fundamentals program is 100% online and flexible, so you can earn your certificate without disrupting your career.

Is this program right for you?

With the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Fundamentals Capstone Certificate at UW–Madison, you will acquire the core technological skills needed to apply GIS regardless of your career – from engineering to natural sciences to business. Over the last few decades, GIS tools have become increasingly complex, prompting a large demand for individuals with formal training. After completing your certificate, you will be poised to join this expanding sector.


You will gain experience with common commercial and open-source GIS software (Esri, CARTO, Mapbox, QGIS, and more). Plus, taking our 3 core courses will train you across the three core competencies of GIS: cartography, spatial analysis, and GIS programming. Our flexible program is offered completely online, so you can take courses on your own schedule from anywhere in the world.


The Cartography/GIS programs in UW–Madison’s Department of Geography are world-renowned and have a long tradition of excellence in the field. After completion of the GIS Fundamentals Capstone Certificate, many students enroll in the Advanced GIS Capstone Certificate to expand their geographic information systems knowledge and gain a valuable career advantage.


What you Learn

  • How to apply GIS tools and technology for complex problem solving and communication
  • Core competencies in GIS, spatial analysis, cartography, map design, and Python programming
  • Experience using common commercial and open-source GIS software

Where & How you learn


  • Online


  • Our courses are 100% online, so you can learn the foundations of GIS study from anywhere in the world without disrupting your career
  • Take courses full- or part-time and complete your certificate in 1-3 semesters
  • If you have already taken a single entry-level GIS or Cartography course as an undergrad, you can transfer that single 4-credit course into the capstone, and then you have only 8 credits left to complete your certificate

Apply Now

All applicants must:

  • Have a four-year Bachelor’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 from an accredited institution of higher learning.
  • Non-native English speakers must take either the TOEFL exam or the IELTS exam with scores of:
    • TOEFL- 92 for internet-based test (IBT) and 580 for paper test
    • IELTS- 7.0
  • GRE scores are NOT required
  • Not be enrolled in another undergraduate or graduate program while completing our GIS Certificate program

Apply now or visit program website


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