View Our Certificate Courses

Professional Certificate Overview

The Online Geography (onGEO) group at Michigan State University offers several (7-week) professional-development courses, which can be taken individually or in combination to earn a Professional Certificate.

Professional Certificate in GIS

The Professional Certificate in GIS aims to advance the geospatial tools & technology skill-set of professionals currently working in fields that use geospatial technologies. It is also an excellent opportunity for anyone looking to revamp their current career, earn continuing-education or teaching credits, or simply learn new and marketable skills.

Our four professional-certificate courses in GIS qualify for both the State of Michigan SCECHs and Michigan State University CEUs. You can easily earn teaching credits (55 or 60, depending on the course) in seven weeks, while becoming proficient in the theory of geographic information science and the application of its many techniques.

The certificate consists of four fully online courses that are each delivered in 7-week sessions. This means that a certificate can easily be earned in two semesters (if courses are taken one at a time) or faster (if courses are taken concurrently).

  1. Introduction to Geospatial Technology,
  2. Geographic Information Systems,
  3. Remote Sensing, and
  4. Cartography

These courses cover topics ranging from map design and ethics of geographic information to land-use/land-cover classification and geospatial analysis, and much more. In addition to content-based modules, each course features a series of online labs designed to give students hands-on experience using geographic information systems (GIS) and related technologies and improve technical competency.

Who should take our courses?

These courses and associated certificate are ideal for: (1) professionals currently working in fields that use geospatial technologies and pursuing training opportunities, (2) professionals and recent graduates looking to advance or revamp their current career path, (3) graduate students looking to enhance their research and develop marketable skills, (4) teachers pursuing continuing education hours, (5) international students seeking an educational experience and certification from an American university, and (6) anyone looking to expand their knowledge in this field. You do not need to be an MSU student or alumnus to take our professional courses.

Want to learn more about the certificate courses?

Check out the course descriptions.

Want to talk to someone about the courses or certificate?

Email us at We can talk to you via email or give you a call. Alternatively, you can give us a call (517.258.7991). We are happy to help you plan your entire certificate course sequence, choose the best class for you to start with, or answer your other questions.

When are the courses offered?

There are convenient entry points for our certificate courses (or program), with sessions beginning six times a year. The next session start dates are:

  1. 9 January 2017 (session 33)
  2. 13 March 2017 (session 34)
  3. 15 May 2017 (session 35)
  4. 10 July 2017 (session 36)
  5. 28 August 2017 (session 37)
  6. 23 October 2017 (session 38)


Want to register for the courses?

Getting registered for our professional-certificate courses is as easy as 1-2-3. Classes begin every seven weeks throughout the year, so:

  1. pick a start date from those listed above,
  2. select a ONGEO course that is being offered*,
  3. follow the “register now” instructions** provided for you on the NCRS course description page.

The secure registration process using MSU’s Non-Credit Registration System takes only a few minutes.

*If you would like to register for a session that is not currently listed, please email us ( and we will create the listing for you.
** You do not need to be a MSU student or alumnus to register, and you do not need an MSU Net ID to register. The NCRS will create an MSU Community ID for you as long as you have a valid email address to register with.

What is the cost?

Each seven-week professional course costs $750.

*If you hear about our courses through one of our advertising campaigns, please contact us so we can get you registered using the correct promotional code.

Are discounts available?


1.  Refer-A-Friend Discount — Refer-A-Friend and earn $100 on each qualifying referral! There is no limit on the number of students you can refer.Save money on your next course by referring your friends to take an onGEO course.  The student you refer is considered eligible if they have never previously taken an onGEO course.  No refunds will be issued.  The discount can only be applied to a registration for a future onGEO course.

How does Refer-A-Friend Work?

a) Find a friend, family member, or co-worker who would like to advance their geospatial tools & technology skill-set

b) Email with your name and provide the name(s), email(s), and phone number(s) of the student(s) you are referring

c) Once the referred student enrolls, we will email you with the discount code in the amount earned

d) Apply the discount code to your next onGEO registration

2.  Multiple Course Discount — Save $200 on your final class when you enroll in the 4-course program!If you are interested in taking all 4 courses and earning a Certificate, please contact us to obtain your discount code.  The discount code will be provided to you to apply to your last registered course.

3.  Multiple Person Discount — If you are interested in taking courses or earning a Certificate as a group (four or more students), please contact us to discuss our group discount options.

GISP (GIS Professional) Certification

If you are pursuing GISP certification, or looking to renew your certification, our certificate courses are eligible for continuing education credits. Courses require an average of about 10 hours per week (to read the online lessons and complete the associated lab assignments). At that time commitment, by completing a seven-week course you could earn 1.75 education points for a new GISP certification, and 11.7 points for a renewing certification. You should verify the point allocation with the GIS Certification Institute as part of your certification application or renewal process.

Want to earn academic credit? No problem. All four online certificate classes are also offered as online undergraduate courses (GEO221v, GEO324v, GEO325v, and GEO326v). Let us know if you like to take these courses for credit and we will guide you through the process of enrolling in MSU’s Lifelong Education program. The courses are also eligible for State Continuing Education Clock Hours (with approval).

Do you have AmeriCorps education award funding to use?  Log into your “myAmeriCorps” account and use your education award to pay for onGEO certificate courses. The Michigan State University Department of Geography is a vendor in the AmeriCorps system (#46404). Make arrangements with the instructor to register for a course, then order a payment in the AmeriCorps system. Let us know when you have done that, and we will take it from there.











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