View Our Credit Courses

View Our Professional Courses

Online Courses for Educators

The Online Geography (onGEO) group at Michigan State University offers two options for educators to earn clock hours and credits: (Option 1) Credit Courses in Geography (includes GIS) and (Option 2) Professional Courses in GIS. When you enroll in one of our many courses, you will gain valuable skills that can enhance education at any grade level. Explore the fascinating world of geographic and mapping technology and learn how you can use it to innovate your social studies or science curriculum. You will also explore geography’s fundamental concepts and themes and learn authentic tasks that you can bring to the classroom.

  • No previous geography classes required
  • Both clock hour and MSU credit options are available
  • Completely online, flexible and convenient
  • Courses qualify for State of Michigan SCECHs and MSU CEUs
onGEO ad in MEA's August 2014 edition.

onGEO ad in MEA’s August 2014 edition.

Option 1: Earn MSU Credits and Clock Hours
Credit Courses in Geography

If you want to earn both academic credit and clock hours, and want to have your coursework to appear on your transcript, Option 1 is for you. onGEO’s for-credit undergraduate and graduate courses can be taken through the Lifelong Education program at Michigan State University and are eligible for State Continuing Education Clock Hours (with approval). A variety of online courses are available, with topics that span the wide range of geography’s study areas, including human/cultural geography, physical geography, environmental issues, and geospatial tools and technologies.

Who should apply?

Education professionals wanting to earn continuing education hours and college credits. You do not need to be an MSU student or alumnus to take our credit courses.

Want to learn more about our online credit courses?

Check out the course descriptions for 100-300 level courses and 400-800 level courses. We currently have 13 different online geography courses that can be taken for credit and are also eligible for clock hours.

Want to talk to someone about our credit courses?

Email us at We can talk to you via email or give you a call. We are happy to answer your questions, help you plan your course schedule, and guide you in the enrollment process.

When are the credit courses offered?

Our credit courses are offered four times a year (listed below). Please refer to the Schedule of Courses to see which online GEO courses are offered during each semester/session.

  1. Fall Semester (August – December)
  2. Spring Semester (January – May)
  3. Summer – First Session (May – June)
  4. Summer – Second Session (July – August)

Want to register for the courses?

Registering for our credit courses is as easy as 1-2-3. Classes begin four times throughout the year (listed above), so:

  1. Select an online GEO course that is being offered during the semester/session you want*;
  2. If you are new to Lifelong Education at MSU, you need to complete an online Lifelong Education Application and initiate your new MSUNet ID and password (for email and access to University resources); and
  3. Once your Lifelong Ed status has been established, you need to enroll in the course using the Schedule of Courses or with assistance from the Registrar’s office.

*On the Schedule of Courses page, (1) choose a semester, (2) set the subject to “Geography,” and (3) check “Online Courses” for the location.
** If you are an MSU alumnus/a, please contact the Registrar about the easiest way for you to enroll in credit courses (possibly via Readmission or Lifelong Education). If you are a current, active MSU student, please enroll for our GEO courses as you normally would using the Schedule of Courses or StuINFO systems.

What is the cost?

The cost of the undergraduate and graduate (credit) courses follow the University’s tuition-fee structure. Tuition is determined by (1) the semester in which you take the class, (2) your student status (degree- or non-degree- seeking), and (3) your residency.


Option 2: Earn Clock Hours and a Professional Certificate
Professional Courses in GIS

The four professional courses in GIS (Geographic Information Science) aim to advance the geospatial tools & technology skill-set of educators who are looking to bring innovation and authentic tasks into the classroom.

Our four professional 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 fully online professional courses may be taken individually or in combination to earn a professional certificate in GIS. Each course is 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). The courses we offer are:

  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 aerial imagery interpretation 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 apply?

Education professionals wanting to earn continuing education hours and who may be interested in eventually earning a professional certificate. 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 professional courses or certificate?

Email us at We can talk to you via email or give you a call. We are happy to answer your questions,  help you choose the best class or classes for you, and  guide with planning your complete certificate course sequence.

When are the courses offered?

There are six convenient entry points/times for our certificate courses (or program), with sessions beginning on:

  1. 25 August 2014 (now enrolling)
  2. 13 October 2014
  3. 12 January 2015
  4. 16 March 2015
  5. 18 May 2015
  6.   6 July 2015

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.
**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 (CEUs). On average, courses require a time commitment of about 10 hours per week (to read the online lessons and complete the associated lab assignments).  This means that, upon completion of a 7-week course, you could earn 1.75 education points toward a new GISP certification, and 11.7 points toward renewing a certification. You should verify the point allocation with the GIS Certification Institute as part of your certification application or renewal process.


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