University of Wisconsin–Madison

Online GIS Fundamentals Capstone Certificate Program


    • An undergraduate degree
    • 3.0+ GPA
    • A desire to learn more about GIS


    It’s simple really: we provide you with the core competencies you need to secure your first GIS job.

    You take three courses covering the fundamentals of modern GIS knowledge.

    • Cartography: the science of drawing and representing spatial data across the surface of the Earth
    • GIS: the science of spatial data and analysis
    • Geocomputing: the method of using computer coding to process, analyze, and represent spatial information

    • Geog 370: Introduction to Cartography, 4 cr.
    • Geog 377: Introduction to GIS, 4 cr.
    • Geog 378: Geocomputing, 4 cr.
    Visit our Curriculum page for course descriptions.


    Gainful Employment Act Disclosures

    Please visit our Financial Information page to learn more about tuition and financial aid for this program.

    Students in this program can transfer up to 4 credits if they have previously taken an introductory GIS or Cartography course. A course syllabus may be required.

    Per Graduate School policy, any prior coursework must have been rigorous and meet the expectations of a graduate work for the program. Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to a master’s degree is not allowed to satisfy requirements.


    UW-Madison Capstone Certificate programs are a collaboration between the Graduate School and the Division of Continuing Studies.

    GIS Capstone Certificate students are considered to be graduate-level students. However, Capstone Certificate students enroll into the university through the Division of Continuing Studies, Adult Career & Special Student Services Office — not via the Graduate School. Thus they are officially labeled University Special Students. 

    Though Capstone Certificate coursework is graduate-level, Capstone Certificate students are not admitted to the Graduate School. Thus, their studies will not lead directly to a graduate degree or graduate certificate. (Though, the capstone certificate credits may be transferred and applied to future GIS graduate programs at UW–Madison.)

    Students may not be simultaneously enrolled in both a Graduate and a Capstone Certificate program at the University of Wisconsin.

    See the Division of Continuing Studies’ Capstone FAQ page for general information about Capstone Certificates at the UW-Madison.


    Application Deadlines:

    *Letters of Recommendation should be received by the final deadline.

    • First Consideration: May 1
    • International Students: May 1
    • Final Deadline: July 15

    • First Consideration: September 1
    • International Students: September 1
    • Final Deadline: November 1

    • First Consideration: February 1
    • International Students: February 1
    • Final Deadline: April 1

    Required Documents:

    Unofficial transcripts – Collect your unofficial transcripts from any previously completed undergraduate and graduate degrees. Unofficial (e.g., scanned, downloaded) transcripts are fine at this point. *Only after you’re accepted into the program will you be required to send official copies.

    Contact information for two professional or academic references – You need the following info for each contact: Name and Email. Your contact will automatically be sent an email when you complete your application.

    Statement of Interest – Your statement of interest should be a one page essay. This should include your background education, your current career and aspirations for the future, and why you would like to pursue this capstone certificate. Tell us why you think you would be a good fit for our program, what you hope to learn from our curriculum, and what skills are you excited to graduate with.

    Online Applications

    Both applications below are required for this certificate program.
    1. Special Student Application
    • Choose GIS FUNDAMENTALS CAPSTONE CERTIFICATE for your ‘Reason for Applying’
    • Pick the semester you wish to start (Fall, Spring, or Summer).
    • You do not need to fill out the academic plan box.

    2. Supplemental Application