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The UF Department of Urban & Regional Planning and the UF GeoPlan Center are excited to offer this online graduate certificate in Geographic Information Systems

This certificate program allows participants to learn foundational GIS concepts and modern GIS software, methods, and applications to build their credentials and to take advantage of the increasing demand in the job market for GIS-specific expertise.

In the field of urban and regional planning, GIS is tightly integrated in the daily workflows of professional planners for its robust capabilities of visualization, analysis, modeling, and sharing of geographic data. As such, a common job requirement for planners is working knowledge of GIS and mapping. The field of GIS and the need for skilled GIS practitioners continues to grow to meet the demands of its users and applications.

This certificate supports the preparation of robust planning professionals with GIS expertise through the teaching of modern, industry-standard software, skills, and critical thinking to address urban planning issues.

Curriculum Overview

The program is 12 credit hours. There are 3 required courses (9 credits) and one elective course (3 credits).

Courses are 8 weeks long. The entire certificate is designed to be completed in four 8-week semesters.

Courses are taught by UF Urban & Regional Planning faculty and UF GeoPlan Center staff.

Required Courses Cover:

  • Foundations of GIS
  • Geospatial modeling
  • Software proficiency with ArcGIS
  • Exposure to Open Source software
  • GIS Data and Project Management
  • Web Mapping and Publishing

Elective Courses Cover:

  • 3D Modeling and Visualization (including SketchUp/ CityEngine)
  • Automation/ Scripting/ Coding for geospatial modeling and analysis
  • Spatial statistics
  • Internet GIS

Required Course List & Syllabi (9 credits)

Elective Course List - Pick one (3 credits)

Admission Requirements

To be eligible for this program, students must meet the following qualifications:

  • Each applicant must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or equivalent from an international college or university.
  • 3.0 Upper-Division GPA or better
  • Resume or CV

GIS Certificate FAQs

General Questions

  • How long does it take to complete the certificate program?
  • The certificate is designed to be completed within 9-12 months. The length of the program depends on when you start the program and which elective you choose. Classes are offered at least once per year, with some classes offered twice per year.

  • What GIS Software do you use in the courses?
  • We use several software packages for the GIS courses, including but not limited to: ArcGIS Desktop (ArcMap and ArcCatalog), ArcGIS Pro, SketchUp, and QGIS. All the GIS software used is free to students through the University of Florida campus site license with ESRI.

  • What kind of computer is recommended?
  • Esri software (ArcGIS Desktop) can only be run on a Windows operating system. Most laptop or desktop computers will be powerful enough to perform the processing required for the class. For more information we recommend looking at the system requirements for ArcGIS Desktop or ArcGIS Pro. Macs can run Esri software if Boot Camp or Parallels is installed. Another option if you have a Mac is using UF-Apps, but performance can vary based on time of day, your internet connection, and other factors.

Tuition, Fees & Financial Aid

  • Is the GIS certificate program covered under the State Agency Employee Tuition Fee Waiver or the Employee Education Program(EEP)?
  • No. The GIS Certificate is an off-book program that is not funded by the State. Hence, the courses are not covered for State Agency or State University Employees.

  • Can GI Bill Funds be used to cover the certificate tuition?
  • Yes. Please contact the Office of Student Veterans Affairs to file the appropriate paperwork.

  • Can Florida pre-paid be used for online programs?
  • Yes, you can use pre-paid for online programs. Please note, prepaid only pays at the undergraduate rate.

  • Is there a different tuition rate for in-state versus out-of-state residents?
  • No, the price of the online certificate is the same for all students regardless of location.

  • What are the potential financial aid opportunities?
  • The University of Florida only provides financial aid for degree seeking programs. This is a certificate program, so there is no financial aid available.

Online Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning

  • I’m a recent graduate of the Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning program, and I’ve already taken a few of these courses. Do I have to retake them?
  • Up to 6 credits of the following courses are eligible towards the certificate (students must have earned a B or better in the course):

    • URP6270 – Introduction to Planning Information Systems
    • URP6271 - Spatial Statistics/ Urban Spatial Analysis
    • URP6272 – Automation for Geospatial Modeling and Analysis
    • URP6905 - 3-D Geospatial Visualization and Modeling

    Please note: URP6270 must be taken within 2 years of enrolling in the GIS certificate to count towards the certificate program.

  • Do credits earned in the GIS certificate count towards the Online Master’s in Urban & Regional Planning program?
  • Yes! All 12 credits earned in the GIS certificate program (with a grade of B or better) can be applied towards the Online Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning.

  • Can I pursue the Online Master’s degree and GIS certificate at the same time?
  • Yes. The GIS Certificate credits can count as electives towards the Online Master’s degree. No additional credits (above the 52 required for the master’s degree) should be needed.

  • Can I pursue the on-ground Master’s degree and GIS certificate at the same time?
  • No. Currently, only online students can pursue the GIS certificate. We are hoping to expand the certificate to on-ground students in the future.

  • I am an Online Master’s student - how do I apply for the certificate program?
  • Go to the following website, complete steps 1 & 2, and notify Kyle Dost and Melissa that you intend to complete the GIS certificate:


    Please Note: Do not apply for the GIS certificate until you are at least half way through URP6270. If you did not fare well in 6270 and/or you do not enjoy the material, then chances are you will probably not enjoy the rest of the certificate courses.

At a Glance

Tutition and Cost

  • 12 Credit Hours
  • $675 per Credit Hour (including fees)
  • Approximate Cost of Degree: $8,100

Curriculum Overview

  • Four 8 week courses
  • Can be completed in 9-12 months

Application Requirements

  • Bachelor's Degree
  • 3.0 Upper-Division GPA or Better
  • Resume or CV
  • No GRE required

Application Process

  • Complete Department Application form
  • Complete the UF Certificate Application
  • Send your official transcripts
  • Email your resume or CV