Description of Courses

The current courses are listed below. Students must maintain a B (GPA 3.0) average to graduate with the certificate.


GIS 501 (3 ch) / 502 (1 ch).  Fundamentals of GIS.

Summer (4) Hamilton. Prerequisites: Post baccalaureate status and consent of instructor. 

GIS combines spatial data, often alongside tabular data, to map, analyze, and offer answers to questions posed in many differing disciplines. At William and Mary, GIS is used to model nutrient inputs from agriculture into the Chesapeake Bay, evaluate the role of school boundaries in determining neighborhood demographics, analyze international aid flows, create species distribution models, assess the role of fire in agriculture, monitor social discord in Africa, asses local health outcomes, and measure the extent of coastal deforestation in South America. The GIS fundamentals course will use GIS-based research projects to introduce the fundamentals of vector data, raster data, database operations, and interpolative techniques within a GIS environment.


GIS 510 (3 ch) / 511 (1 ch). Geospatial Pattern Analysis and Visualization.

Summer (4) Staff. Prerequisites: Post baccalaureate status and consent of instructor. 

Spatial patterns, like the clustered results of an electoral outcome map, hot spots of disease infestation, or the uneven distribution of fresh produce venues in a city, are the outcome of important social and environmental processes and give us clues about the causes, impacts and the potential actions that can help enhance or inhibit them. Geospatial technology, analytical methods and visual capabilities provide a crucial toolkit to identify, extract, measure, analyze, and interpret spatial patterns, as well as to communicate analytical results in compelling visual ways according to various medium and to diverse audiences. This course is designed to cover key spatial pattern analytical techniques, their interpretation and effective visual representation.


GIS 550 (3 ch). Independent Research in GIS.

Spring, Summer, or Fall (1-3) Staff. Prerequisites: GIS 501, GIS 510, and consent of instructor.

This course is designed to permit students to engage in applied GIS research projects with mentorship from their instructor. Working closely with their mentor each student will be expected to conduct original research and prepare a substantial research report. It is expected that the project can be conducted in the context of the student’s current employment or place of work, and the project be spread over multiple semesters if necessary. The course can be repeated for credit up to a maximum of 3 credits of GIS 550.

See the Schedule of Courses