Geographic Information Science

Bachelor of Applied Science

Professional Certificate

Geographic Information Science (GISci) refers to the many branches of geospatial science and technology including Cartography, Remote Sensing, Geographic Information Systems. The use of GISci has become increasingly popular in the U.S workplace.

To meet these needs, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls has developed two continuing education options in GISci, leveraging more than 30 years of experience in teaching cartography and geospatial sciences.  

Since 2010, UW-River Falls has offered a certificate in GISc and now also provides the option of a Bachelor of Applied Science in GISci. The new degree provides a way for individuals who have associate's degrees in geographic information sciences or a related area to continue their education, obtain a bachelor's degree and improve their career options.

Who Should Apply

  • Individuals who want to obtain GISci knowledge to apply in their current workplace or increase their employment opportunities

  • Individuals with an associate's degree in geographic information science or a related field who want to earn a bachelor's degree


  • Students will learn about geospatial theory and literature that drives data collection, storage, analysis, and mapping.

  • They will also build proficiency in the use of state-of-the-art GISci technologies including GISci and Remote Sensing software applications, GPS and GISci data collection, data analysis, web mapping, and digital image processing, among others. 

  • Apply previously obtained college credits toward your degree 

  • Access to specialized labs and facilities and experienced faculty 

  • Pay same tuition rate regardless of where you live 

  • Students may be eligible for financial aid 

  • Gain skills in areas where increased jobs are projected 

  • Complete your degree in three years or your certificate in two years

Degree Curriculum

The curriculum includes 30 credits of university general education courses and 30 credits of core courses in GISci.  Applicants who bring in fewer than 60 college credits from a previous degree plan will need to take additional courses.

Transferring Credit

Credit will be awarded for college-level course work completed at accredited institutions. While general education credits are generally accepted from two-year colleges, this new program makes it possible for students to receive university credit for technical and work specific courses as well. For more information on how your college credits will transfer to UW-River Falls, visit the Transfer Credit Policy web page or contact the Admissions transfer officer.

Geographic Information Science
(30 Credit hours)

GEOG 250 Introduction to Cartography and GIS 3 cr.
GEOG 351 Map Design 3 cr.
GEOG 360 GIS: Theory and Methods 3 cr.
GEOG 365 Quantitative Techniques for Geographers 3 cr.
GEOG 368 Geoprocessing Techniques 3 cr.
GEOG 401 Senior Colloquium in Geography 3 cr.

Intermediate Directed Electives: 3-6 cr. hrs.
Advanced Directed Electives: 3-6 cr. hrs.
Electives: 3-9 cr. hrs.

Certificate Curriculum

Certificate Requirements

Students complete three required courses and two elective courses that focus on your chosen area of specialization in GISci. In addition to finishing the coursework, students submit a final professional portfolio, complete an exit interview, and have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 upon completion of the program.

Core Courses: 9 credits

GEOG 250 Introduction to Geographic Information Science (GISci) - 3 cr.
GEOG 360 GIS: Theory and Methods  - 3 cr.
GEOG 460 GIS: Modeling and Analysis - 3 cr.

Elective Courses: 6 credits

Choose any two courses from the following
GEOG 351 Map Design - 3 cr.
GEOG 365 Quantitative Techniques for Geographers - 3 cr.
GEOG 366 Field Methods and GPS - 3 cr.
GEOG 368 Digital Image Processing - 3 cr.
GEOG 455 Advanced Map Design - 3 cr.

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Tuition Fees

Degree students will pay $300 per credit plus campus fees for classes, regardless of where they live. Certificate students will pay the tuition rate based on their residency, as provided on the Student Billing web site.

Admissions Process and Requirements

To begin their program, students must apply for study at UWRF as an undergraduate transfer student for the degree program and as a nondegree/special undergraduate student for the certificate program. Apply online.

  • Minimum combined grade point average of 2.25 for college credits taken 

  • Completed online application for undergraduate study and paid application fee prior to the fall or spring term

In addition to these requirements, those individuals applying for the bachelor of applied science degree must also have:

  • Associate degrees of Applied Science, Science or Arts in a study area related to GISci or evidence of significant progress made toward an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in this are 

  • Transcripts sent directly from previous institutions to the UWRF Admissions Office: 

  • UWRF Admissions
    112 South Hall
    410 S. Third St.
    River Falls, WI 54022

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