Geospatial Analysis Certificate Program


Geospatial analyses are a rapidly growing approach to problem solving across a wide array of environmental and earth science disciplines. The curriculum is intended to augment the educational tracks of a wide number of students from across the Nicholas School. In addition to providing a more focused and deeper treatment of these skills, the certificate program will provide visible recognition for mastery of these tools. Students completing this program will be highly sought after in both analytical and management positions.

Students wishing to earn a Certificate in Geospatial Analysis will need to complete a series of core and advanced course requirements and demonstrate proficiency in application of these skills in the completion of a research project. The Geospatial Certificate requires 3.5 courses from the geospatial curriculum.

Sequence of Classes for Geospatial Analysis Certificate Program. courses described here.

The Certificate in Geospatial Analysis requires the following course and research requirements:

  1. A fundamentals course:
    • ENVIRON559 Fundamentals of Geospatial Analysis
  2. A topical Geospatial Analysis course (one of the following):
    • ENVIRON761 Geospatial Analysis for Conservation Management
    • ENVIRON765 Geospatial Analysis for Coastal & Marine Management
    • ENVIRON768 Geospatial Analysis for Water Resources Management
  3. One additional course from the following:
    • ENVIRON724 Landscape Analysis & Management
    • ENVRION857 Satellite Remote Sensing
    • ENVIRON859 Advanced Geospatial Analysis
  4. A field skills module:
    • ENVIRON701 Forest Measurements
    • ENVIRON771 Field Data Collection
  5. Demonstrated use of geospatial analysis methods in the students masters project, dissertation, or other independent research project.

The Advanced GIS course, ENVIRON859, will be offered by video-conference to the marine lab each fall.

This sequence is the pre-approved curriculum. If you have a strong background in GIS, it is possible to skip ENV559: Fundamentals of Geospatial Analysis. This is determined on a case by case basis. However, you would still be required to fulfill the 3.5 course requirement from the remaining curriculum. Other courses may be allowable from Duke or other institutions – this must be discussed ahead of time with the geospatial faculty.

If you are a student interested in the Geospatial Certificate, fill in the first form below, “Part 1: Intention to Complete” and return hard copy or scanned email to Peter Harrell ( Typically, you would do this your first or second semester. This simply lets us know of your interest – it is not binding.

The certificate requires a research project showing use of geospatial analysis skills. This must include original analysis, not simply map making. The project generally is a students MEM project or PhD dissertation, but an independent project can fulfill this requirement. The geospatial project component must be written up as a document and approved by the supervisor of the project. An unwritten research analysis is not sufficient. To be certain your project qualifies, you should hand in a 1-2 page summary to Peter Harrell documenting what you are planning for your geospatial project no later than the semester prior to your graduation. This gives you time to adjust if the project does not meet requirements.

In your final semester before graduation, download “Part 2: Final Application”. Review requirements . Turn in the form by the end of the semester prior to graduation to Peter Harrell. You will also need to provide documentation showing the geospatial analysis project component was completed. Typically, this would be a signed copy of the write-up that resulted from the analysis – your MP or Phd dissertation. We do not need to keep a copy – just see it completed.

Certificate in Geospatial Analysis – Part 1: Intention to Complete

Certificate in Geospatial Analysis – Part 2: Final Application