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Undergraduate Certificate in Environmental Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Next start date is April 5. Applying is easy and free!

Environmental scientists can analyze and interpret environmental data while Geographic Information Systems (GIS) scientists can manage and manipulate data. Unity College’s Undergraduate Certificate in Environmental Geographic Information System (GIS) will prepare students to meld the two by integrating spatial technologies and environmental information.

Hands-on experience through online projects and research will engage students in course activities and allow for increased comprehension of the science, concepts, and skills they need to become leaders in their chosen environmental fields.

Courses taken when earning this certificate can be used towards obtaining a B.S. in Environmental Geospatial Technologies.


Complete 9 credits from the following:

  • ENVS 101 Sustainable Solutions to Globalization

    This course is designed to enhance literacy skills needed to understand major environmental issues facing the world in the 21st century. This and other core courses at Unity are designed to address prominent issues during your education at Unity Online. These are issues that will affect your chosen career, your future lifestyle, and the lives of your family and future generations. What are the most pressing environmental issues of our time? What do we need to know to address them? The course tackles these questions from variety of disciplines to provide the bigger picture and put our environmental challenges in a global context.

  • ENVS 201: The Warming Planet: Understanding Climate Change

    Climate change is one of the most urgent and complicated issues we face today. This course explores the science of climate change by teaching students how the climate system works, what factors cause climate to change, how climate has changed in the past, how scientists use models, observations, technology, and theory to make predictions about future climate; and the possible consequences of climate change for our planet. Finally, students will explore the connection between human activity and the current warming trend and consider some of the potential social, economic, political, and environmental consequences of climate change.

  • ESCI 101 Geology and Our Environment

    Desertification, acid rain, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, radon poisoning ? what do these have to do with geology? In this course students will explore how the geology of our environment influences ecological processes and environmental issues. Students focus on the influence of geological processes, exploring both the large-scale events of natural disaster such as earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, and landslides, and less obvious influences of geology on pollution, soil loss, groundwater availability, distribution and effect of mining and petroleum exploration, and other environmental issues. Issues will be explored through case studies with an emphasis on recognizing the role of geological process in solving or creating environmental issues.

  • EVPC 201: Environmental Issues: Deforestation, Biodiversity Loss, and Overpopulation

    This course is part of a two-course sequence that provides students with an understanding of the interconnectedness of the looming environmental issues that the world faces. This class will provide students with a basic scientific understanding of deforestation, biodiversity, and overpopulation and address what societies can do that they aren’t currently doing. Upon completion, students will be able to critically assess these issues and provide models for making more sustainable choices.

  • EVPC 202: Environmental Issues: Energy, Water Scarcity, and Waste

    This course is part of a two-course sequence that provides students with an understanding of the interconnectedness of looming environmental issues that the world faces. This class will provide students with a basic scientific understanding of energy, water scarcity, and waste, and overpopulation and address what societies can do that they aren’t currently doing. Upon completion, students will be able to critically assess these issues and provide models for making more sustainable choices.

Complete 15 credits from the following: 

  • CIST 101 Introduction to Coding for Environmental Applications

    This course introduces students to the different types of programming languages used for geospatial customization. Students learn the basics of computing language and learn when and how they are applied. The course will provide background about the different coding environments highlighting the process of object-oriented programming and its relationship to critical thinking statements involved in conditional, loops, and functions.

  • GISC 101: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

    In this course, students will explore key concepts used in Geospatial Technologies. Topics include the use of scale, coordinate systems, geodesy, direction, projections, traditional land surveying techniques, and global positioning systems (GPS). Students explore the fundamental knowledge and techniques used in Geospatial Technology careers. This course also introduces students to remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), and cartography to start identifying and quantifying environmental patterns. Students will critically evaluate information and use quantitative reasoning skills such as patterns with urban heating in relationship to heat stress on a population. Students who finish this course are prepared to continue on to GISC 201 Geographical Information Systems for a Changing World.

  • GISC 201: Geographic Information Systems for a Changing World

    This course introduces students to fundamental theories and practices of cartography and visualization.  By learning symbology, coordinate systems, map projections, topographic representations, interpolation, classification schemes, students will think and communicate visually using a variety of environmental GIS data. Assignments and the final project will teach students to visually display and examine pressing environmental problems.

  • GISC 301: Applied Spatial Analysis and GIS Application

    This course is intended to build upon introductory GIS knowledge. Students apply more advanced methodologies using GIS and remote sensing technologies. Types of data used will include vector and raster spatial data, imagery, maps, and topographic data to examine environmental problems. Data assessed will include spatial information regarding human and natural hazards and disasters, land use and land cover, surface temperature, climate change, wetland delineation, wildlife corridor mapping, coastal erosion, human impacts on the environment, and more.

  • GISC 303: Conservation Cartography and Visualization

    This course covers fundamental concepts of cartography and visualization using geographic information systems (GIS) and illustration programs (Adobe Illustrator) as it is applied for conservation organizations and projects. Students employ design principles to create effective maps, incorporating data from a variety of formats used to communicate complicated environmental issues to a diverse map user audience. Hardcopy and web maps are produced to communicate conservation patterns and outcomes targeted for a diverse map audience. Infographic, animations, 3D maps, and other visualization techniques are explored to convey the importance of environmental conservation through the science and art of cartography.

  • GISC 305: Environmental Impact using Remote Sensing

    This course covers remote sensing fundamentals as they apply to mapping of Earth’s surface and understanding how the earth works. These approaches include Earth observation in varying forms such as from sensors on satellites, aircraft, drones and ships. Understanding the electromagnetic spectrum of radiant energy and the radiation emitted from Earth’s surface provide a foundation for understanding of the types of imagery available and their characteristics. Image enhancement, classification and quantitative techniques are explored with attention to integration with GIS datasets. Application of remote sensing for land cover change, vegetation classification, and environmental quality are explored. Students will observe environmental changes over spatial and temporal periods through the qualitative and quantitative processing of remote sensing at a local, regional, and global scale.

  • GISC 307: Field Data Collection for GIS

    In this course students learn best practices to design, configure and deploy ArcGIS software for field-productivity apps to meet their environmental data collection needs. Put your environmental data collection needs to the test and create a dynamic solution based on your non-profits, governmental agency or conservation data needs. This course covers the design and implementation of geographic databases for GIS data capture and management. Included are essential concepts and practices of relational database management systems, with specific application to GIS. Volunteered Geographic Information scenarios will be addressed and applied to a final project.

  • GISC 401: Advanced GIS Analysis for Environmental Solutions

    This course covers data accuracy and quality, and standard and advanced geospatial data models such as changes in glaciers, bird migration, urban heat islands and disappearing coastlines. Students will be exposed to the workflow of processing remote sensing image analysis using R. Students will also learn data integration and analysis, constraint analysis, location-allocation analysis, and metadata standards and documentation. Geospatial ethics and environmental industry applications of geospatial analysis will also be covered.