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Geographic Information Systems and Spatial Analysis

With an increasing demand for professionals trained in geospatial technologies, WVU is answering the call through its Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Spatial Analysis graduate certificate, offered jointly by the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design and Eberly College of Arts and Sciences

The  program is ideal for working professionals and graduate students who desire advanced training in this high growth industry. It incorporates predictive modeling, data exploration, technical issues, programming, spatial hydrology, and remote sensing into the curriculum, making it the first of its kind in West Virginia.


Applicants should have introductory level knowledge of computer science and use. No specific course or level of experience is required; however, the expectation is a level of competence with computer use and experience with applications involving word processing, spreadsheets, etc. Applicants should have introductory level knowledge of statistics, and have taken an introductory GIS class focusing on theory, applications and GIS computer based software competency.


The certificate is 15 credit hours. Students complete four graduate level GIS and spatial analysis courses. In addition, students must also complete one three-credit independent study course which provides credit for the project and paper requirement of the certificate. With several online courses available, students are able to complete the entire graduate certificate online. Curriculum course options are as follows:

RESM 505 Drones in Natural Resource Management 

This intensive 3-week, 3-credit course provides hands-on flight experience and an introduction to drone system flight operations, FAA compliance and the remote sensing of natural resources. Specifically, you'll learn about safe and effective drone flight operations, FAA aviation rules and regulations for drones, drone-based sensors (cameras, thermal, hyperspectral, lidar, NIR, NDVI), drone applications in natural resources, agriculture, energy environments, flight planning, mission execution and data processing.

RESM 540 Geospatial Modeling (Online)

This course covers statistical spatial data analysis with an emphasis on measuring geographic distributions, mapping clusters, performing pattern analysis, applying and interpret spatial regression techniques, and creating interpolated surfaces.

RESM 545 Spatial Hydrology (Online)

Applied spatial hydrology using GIS; integrates statistical modeling and terrain analysis; provides insights into water quality and quantity analysis for local and regional watershed scales.

RESM 575 Advanced Spatial Analysis (Online)

This course covers advanced Geography Information System (GIS) and spatial analysis for natural resource and environmental management with an emphasis on predictive modeling.

RESM 640 GIS for Aquatic Resource Management

Using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to analyze the special components of a stream, river, or large water body for aquatic resource management and habitat assessment.

GEOG 550 Geographic Information Science (Online) 

Principles and practice of geographical information science. Geospatial data handling for research, planning and decision-making. Spatial analysis, information production, and display.

GEOG 651 GIS Technical Issues

Current issues in GIS research. Technical aspects of GIS operations, algorithms, theory of geographical data structures, and error handlings. Labs focus on tools, data structures, database languages and macros.

GEOG 654 Environmental GIS Modeling

Provides background and hands-on experience needed to answer scientific questions about the environment within a raster- based GIS Framework.

GEOG 655 Remote Sensing Principles

Mapping of earth features using aerial and satellite-borne sensors, image enhancement, geo-referencing, and classification.

GEOG 752 Advanced Geographic and Information Science

Functional strengths and weaknesses of GIS. Related geographical information, science technologies, GPS, remote sensing, multimedia, spatial statistics, and expert systems. Multi- dimensionality (4-D GIS), temporality, social implications of GIS. PR: GEOG 452 or GEOG 651

GEOG 753 Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis

Develop expertise in spatial analytical techniques for use in geographical data analysis and GIS.

GEOG 755 Advanced Remote Sensing

Collection, processing, and classification of remotely sensed data, including optical, thermal, radar, and topographic information. PR: GEOG 655

RESM 585 Independent Study: Project for GIS and Spatial Analysis Certificate (Online)

Provides an opportunity for students to pursue a research interest in the spatial sciences with development of an applied spatial project and paper. Guidance and direction will be provided to assure relevant integration of the geospatial techniques to address the problem addressed.

Ready to take the next step? 

Apply now or visit WVU Online to learn more and request more information.

Program Contacts

For questions about the admissions process: 

Wendy Daly
Graduate Records Officer
WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design
Phone: (304) 293-2291

For program-specific questions regarding curriculum content, etc.: 

Michael Strager
Professor of Resource Economics and Management
GIS and Spatial Analysis Program Director
Phone: (304) 293-6463

Additional Program Faculty