Online GIS Fundamentals Capstone Certificate Program

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.


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

The standard minimum requirements to earn a Capstone Certificate, are as follows:
• Students must earn a minimum grade of C in each course used to meet Capstone Certificate requirements.
• Courses in which a student elects the pass/fail or audit option will not count toward completion of Capstone Certificate requirements.
• All of the Capstone Certificate credits must be earned “in residence” (which includes on campus and distance-delivered courses) at UW-Madison.
• All of the Capstone Certificate credits must be earned while enrolled in the Capstone Certificate program. *For students who attended UW-Madison and completed either GEOG 370 Introduction to Cartography or GEOG/​CIV ENGR/​ENVIR ST 377 An Introduction to Geographic Information Systems, the 4 credits for one of the two courses may be applied toward the 12-credit certificate total.


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 may transfer up to 4 credits if they have previously taken an introductory GIS or Cartography course from UW-Madison (see Requirements section for more information). Coursework earned five or more years prior to admission to the program is not allowed to satisfy requirements.

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.

International Students – If you are an international degree-seeking applicant, you will be required to prove English proficiency. See the Graduate School Requirements for more information.

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