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Part-time/Distance & Online Learning Advanced Certificate 5440adcert

GIS in a Digital World

Fall 2020 Delivery Mode: ONLINE

  • This program will be delivered online for the fall semester.
  • Your education is our priority and we will continue to deliver the applied instruction, collaborative experience, and industry connections that you expect from BCIT.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have become pervasive across all industries and institutions. If you have used Google Maps to find the route from your home to a restaurant, for example, you have used a very simple form of GIS. A GIS is a combination of mapping software, digital maps, and databases and the processes of combining maps with databases to produce models, maps, and tables for decision-making.

The target student audience for the proposed Advanced Certificate in GIS is:

  • Professionals in other fields (e.g. forestry, emergency planning, engineering, or marketing), both public and private sector, who can make use of GIS skills in their current jobs or to advance their careers.

  • Traditional students and international students who wish to acquire specialized training to meet current or future job requirements in GIS.

  • Educators, local government officials, etc., with an undergraduate degree in any area who wish to acquire basic technical expertise in GIS.

The program

This program consists of seven courses: two foundation courses, four application level courses, and a capstone course. In the foundation courses, you will learn the theory, concepts, and related disciplines of GIS together with introductory hands-on experience using ArcGIS software. In the application level courses, you will get further experience using ArcGIS software, developing spatial databases, working with big data, and analyzing satellite and other aerial imagery.  In the capstone course, you will undertake a project using your background (e.g. engineering) to guide the topic. 

Please visit our Courses page for more information on this program's courses.

Missed an info session?

If you've missed a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) information session, the full video is now available.

Note: This information session was held May 21, 2020 and topics discussed in this session are subject to change without notice.

Program Entry

COVID-19 Notice to Applicants

Please visit Admission during COVID-19 to learn how BCIT Admissions is supporting applicants. At this time, there are no program-specific changes for applying to this program.

Application processing

Applications are accepted throughout the year.

Entrance requirements

Geographic informations systems (GIS) is a multidisciplinary field and has applications in a wide variety of professions and industries. The GIS Department welcomes applicants from most academic areas.

Applicants must meet all entrance requirements to be accepted.

Applicants who have completed post-secondary studies outside of Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia or New Zealand will require a comprehensive evaluation of their credentials by the International Credential Evaluation Service (ICES). Credential evaluation reports from other Canadian services may be considered. These reports must include course-by-course evaluations and GPA calculations.

Read more about how to meet BCIT’s entrance requirements

Recommended for success

Interested in the GIS program?

Attend an Info Session, talk to faculty and students, and do an honest self-assessment of whether you are ready to enrol and capable of succeeding.

Ready to apply?

You will significantly improve your chances of success if you come well prepared. Read the following recommendations and spend some time in assessment and preparation.

  • Fundamental computer literacy and some computer programming/scripting skills are strongly recommended.

  • Refresh your skills in basic algebra, trigonometry, and analytical geometry (e.g. polar and rectangular coordinates, equation of a straight line, and distance between two points). You will find this helpful in a number of courses.

  • It is recommended that students possess good communication, teamwork, and technical problem-solving skills.

International applicants

Part-time Studies (course-by-course) programs are only available to international students who have a valid status in Canada. If you are currently outside of Canada, please apply to a full-time program or ISEP.

Apply to program

To submit your application:

  • Include proof of meeting all entrance requirements.
  • Convert all transcripts and supporting documents to PDF files.
  • Have a credit card ready to pay the application fee.
Apply Now

Learn more about how to apply

Scheduled intakes

Ongoing Part-time Studies intakes: January, April and September.

Costs & Supplies

Tuition fees

Please see the Part-time Studies Tuition & Fees page for information on part-time tuition fees.

Books and supplies

New books and supplies for the program are estimated at $900 (general estimated cost, and subject to change).


Program matrix

Check current availability of courses for this program.

Required Courses: Credits
  GIST 7100 Fundamentals of GIS 3.0
  GIST 7128 ArcGIS 1: Introduction 3.0
  GIST 7160 GIS Databases & Big Data 3.0
  GIST 8118 GIS Remote Sensing 3.0
  GIST 8128 ArcGIS 2: Data Management and Analysis 3.0
  GIST 8140 Mapping & Cartography 3.0
  GIST 8150 Capstone Project 6.0
Total Credits: 24.0

Check current availability of courses for this program.

Transfer credit

Do you have credits from another BC/Yukon post-secondary school? Do you want to know if they transfer to courses here at BCIT? Check out BCIT's Transfer Equivalency Database to find out.

Program Details

Program length

The maximum time to complete the program is 7 years.


Students must achieve a minimum grade of 50 percent on both the assignment and the exam component of each course in order to pass.

Program location

This program is offered through distance and online learning.

Graduating & Jobs

Apply for graduation

Upon successful completion of all program requirements, complete an Application for BCIT Credential [PDF] and submit it to Student Information and Enrolment Services.

Allow approximately six to eight weeks for processing.

All financial obligations to the Institute must be met prior to issuance of any credential.

GIS Online

The BCIT GIS Bachelor of Technology degree (B.Tech) or Advanced Diploma Program (ADP) can be completed entirely via online learning. The BCIT GIS Advanced Certificate is only offered via online learning.

Apply to the BCIT GIS AdvCertGIS ADP or GIS B.Tech program as a part-time student. You can apply anytime. You are a part-time student as you will not attend BCIT campus, and you will take at least two years to complete all the online AdvCert or ADP courses, or the online technical courses component of the B.Tech. Note: you can only complete these courses in one year if you are a full-time BCIT campus student.

Contact Carmen Heaver to setup your online course schedule after you have submitted your application.

Register for each of your required courses following your course schedule. You may register for introductory level courses before your application is approved. You will be permitted to register into advanced courses with approval from our program assistant, who will check that you are accepted into the program and have completed any prerequisite courses.

Tuition fees are per course. You may be able to reduce the cost by applying for transfer credit if you have already completed a course at another post-secondary institution that has equivalent learning outcomes to a BCIT GIS program course and if that course was not used as part of your GIS AdvCert, ADP or GIS B.Tech. application credit requirements. You might also have an income from a part-time job while studying and may also receive some tuition support from an employer. Note that tuition fees usually increase each year by approximately 2%.

Access Online Learning through the Learning Hub log-in page (formally D2L). Each online course is organized in a similar manner: you can use your computer to listen to lectures, connect to the BCIT computer servers, use GIS software, complete GIS software assignments just as you would in a BCIT campus computer lab, discuss questions with other class members, connect with your instructor in virtual office hours when the instructor can help with problems and demonstrate software or access your computer to help you. You do not install GIS software on your home computer, so can use a MAC, Windows or UNIX operating system machine. You complete computer lab assignments by connecting to AppsAnywhere and using BCIT GIS or other BCIT software.

You probably want to study online because you do not live near the BCIT Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada campus and do not want to relocate, or you have a job and want to study part-time. You like to have flexible study hours.

Please check our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Any additional questions about completing the GIS program online, please contact Carmen Heaver or call 604-432-8378.

Contact Us

Karl Kliparchuk, M.Sc
Program Head, GIS Department
Tel: 604-432-8737

Questions or comments?

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As well, if you meet any of the following criteria, please follow the links for more information, instead of sending the form:

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The personal information on this form is collected under the authority of the College and Institute Act (RSBC 1996, Ch.52). BCIT will use this information to communicate with you regarding relevant BCIT programs, courses and services. This information is only used by authorized BCIT staff. Email communication sent to and from BCIT is routed through the United States of America. If you have any questions about BCIT's collection and use of this information, please contact BCIT’s manager of Information Access and Privacy.

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