Geographic Information Systems Professional Concentration FAQs

  • What industries utilize GIS professionals?
  • The use of spatial data to drive better research, policy decisions, and service and business outcomes has rapidly grown across both the public and private sectors. Examples of industries that utilize GIS capabilities include, but are not limited to: city planning, fundraising, public health, human services, political analysis, marketing, real estate, agriculture, natural resource management, historical resource management and computer science/web development.
  • How will this program benefit me?
  • This program is designed to give a solid foundation for anyone seeking to enter or grow in the field of spatial analysis. Not only will it teach you essential terms, how to use essential GIS platforms, design databases and improve your techniques and efficiencies, but it will also allow you to network with other instructors and other professionals in the industry, which could help advance your career.
  • Who teaches these courses?
  • Our courses are taught by recognized experts in the field of spatial analysis.
  • Is this professional concentration available online?
  • Currently, no courses in this program are offered online. Our courses are held in-person at the International Center on the UC Davis campus at 463 California Ave, Davis CA 95616.
  • Are there any prerequisites for the Geographic Information System Professional Concentration?
  • There are no prerequisites for enrolling in this program, however, students enrolling in this program are required to start with the course Introduction to Geographic Information Systems.
  • Do I need previous GIS experience in order to take this professional concentration?
  • No. While some experience with use of computer software and database management is helpful, you do not need to have any prior experience with GIS. This program is designed to teach you the skills necessary to be an effective GIS professional, starting with basic terminology and how to use ArcGIS.
  • How long will it take to complete this professional concentration?
  • The length of the Geographic Information Systems Professional Concentration varies based on how many courses a student is able to take in a given quarter. Students can complete the program in as few as 18 months but have up to 5 years to earn their professional concentration.
  • Can I work full time and still complete this professional concentration?
  • Yes. The majority of our students are full-time working professionals. Many have partnered with their employers to take time off as part of professional development. Courses are also structured so that no more than 3 days would need to be taken off during a week. So, with advanced notice to employers, many of our students have been able to complete the program while working full time.
  • Are textbooks required for courses?
  • Each course is different. Some textbooks are needed for our required, academic courses. You can see if a textbook is required by looking at the course description when you are ready to enroll. For the majority of the textbooks needed, you can order them from a distributor of your choice, but for those books that are provided by Solano Press, please contact your program representative for additional ordering options.
  • What is the difference between a certificate program and a professional concentration?
  • A Certificate Program is a series of courses providing in-depth study, so you can get the most up-to-date skills and information you need to excel in your chosen field, or transition to a new career. These professional education programs provide a minimum of 12 units (120 hours) academic credit. A UC Davis Extension certificate represents a much deeper understanding of your industry beyond what a course or workshop provides. Some certificates prepare you to take accreditation exams or meet state-mandated requirements for continuing education.

    A Professional Concentration provides a highly focused sequence of study that can be completed in a year or less. These shorter programs (60-119 hours) focus on one facet of your profession. A Professional Concentration requires approximately half the number of courses as a certificate program.