Important Notice: COVID-19 Institute response

Full-time/Part-time/Distance & Online Learning Bachelor of Technology 8310btech

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.

Announcement: the GIS Bachelor of Technology program is now available online.

Geospatial technology use is growing at a rapid pace around the world and exciting opportunities for well educated and trained people are increasing. Whether you are a recent university or college graduate getting started in a career, or an experienced professional seeking new employment opportunities or career advancement, BCIT's Bachelor of Technology in GIS degree provides excellent opportunities for career enhancement and professional growth. This program will appeal to graduates from many areas — for example: Environmental Management. Public Health. Land Use Planning. Engineering. Natural Resource Management. Transportation. Real Estate. Utilities. Business and Marketing. Mineral Exploration — who wish to learn how to integrate GIS technology in their profession.

NOTE: The GIS Department has compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help you decide which BCIT GIS option is best for you.

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

Part-time: applications are accepted throughout the year.

Accelerated: this program is open to applications beginning October 1st* (or next business day).

Entrance requirements

This program has a two-step admission process. Applicants must meet all entrance requirements and will be accepted on a first qualified basis as long as space remains.

Step 1: Meet the following entrance requirements

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

Applicants currently enrolled in the last term of their degree/diploma must be on track to complete by May. To apply submit both of the following documents from your post-secondary institution:

  • Transcript of completed courses
  • Confirmation of enrolment letter verifying your current course enrolment and registration in the final term of your degree/diploma

Step 2: Department assessment

Applications will be reviewed when the entrance requirements are complete and will be contacted for a meeting with the program head.

Continuation requirements

  • Students must complete a minimum of six months relevant work experience (approved by the program head) to graduate from this program.


Students do not need to apply for the GIS Bachelor of Technology program to take part-time studies GIS courses. Anyone may take these courses provided they meet the individual course prerequisites. Students who decide to complete the GIS Bachelor of Technology through part-time studies should apply to the part-time program after taking two courses. Part-time courses are subject to enrolment.

Recommended for success

Interested in the program? Great, but do your research carefully to ensure that GIS is the right program for you.

Attend a GIS INFO session, talk to faculty and students, research the career opportunities and job market, and do an honest self-assessment that you are ready to enrol and capable of succeeding.

Ready to apply? Excellent choice, but it's important to be prepared for this challenging program.

You'll significantly improve your chances of admission and success if you come well-prepared. Read the following and spend some time in assessment and preparation.

  • Strongly recommended fundamental computer literacy and computer programming skills.

  • Computer programming is emphasized strongly in the BCIT GIS program. Students who arrive unprepared usually find the programming and GIS customization courses a great deal of work, which affects other studies.

  • Regardless of your abilities and experience, you should develop your skills as much as possible before you start the program. The GIS program covers many programming languages. Programming languages taught currently in GIS courses include Java, Python, JavaScript, PHP and others. You should know programming concepts and program design before starting GIS studies at BCIT, but you do not need to know any particular programming language.

  • You will be using the Web a great deal in the program. For example, you will be developing your own pages in September to present your resume and project/practicum. You should also learn how to create basic web pages using HTML, and how to use an HTML editor before you arrive in September.

  • Refresh your skills in basic algebra, trigonometry, and analytical geometry (e.g. polar and rectangular coordinates, equation of a straight line, 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 delivered on-campus at BCIT are only available to international students who have a valid status in Canada. If you are currently outside of Canada and wish to attend an on-campus program, please apply to a full-time program or ISEP. The distance and online only option of this program is also available.

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

Part-time: January, April and September

Accelerated: September each year


Within two business days of submitting your completed application, BCIT will send a message to your personal and myBCIT e-mail addresses. All correspondence regarding your application will be posted to your online myCommunication account at We'll send you an e-mail when a new message is posted. It's important to watch for these e-mails or regularly check your account online.

You can expect to receive communication concerning the status of your application within four weeks.

Costs & Supplies

Tuition fees

Please see the Full-Time Studies Tuition & Fees page for full-time tuition fees.

Part-time students are responsible for registration and payment for each course. Fees are paid on a per course basis but students accepted into the accelerated mode are registered as a block and fees have a set ceiling per term or academic year.

BCIT tuition is based on a per credit calculation to a maximum or cap tuition amount. Students registered in a full-time program who are not taking a full course load or who have received course exemption may not receive a refund as a result of the per credit calculation amount exceeding the maximum tuition.

Financial assistance

Financial assistance may be available for this program. For more information, please contact Student Financial Aid and Awards.


Program delivery

Students completing the accelerated program are registered into the majority of required courses in the program matrix as a block. Additional credits in Management and Liberal Studies are taken through part-time studies to complete the program.

Many students are able to receive exemption for courses completed through BCIT part-time studies or at other institutions. Students can apply for credit/exemption once they have started the full-time program in September.

The part-time format is delivered as conventional night school courses, seminars and workshops, and by distance education. This allows individuals to maintain full-time employment while working towards degree completion.

Technology degree courses may be taken for professional development purposes or applied towards completion of the degree.

Program matrix

Check current availability of courses for this program.

1. Technical Courses: (45.0 credits) Credits
  GIST 7010 GIS Programming 1 3.0
  GIST 7100 Fundamentals of GIS 3.0
  GIST 7108 Fundamentals of Mapping 3.0
  GIST 7109 Mapping Using Microstation 3.0
  GIST 7128 ArcGIS 1: Introduction 3.0
  GIST 7130 GIS Computing and the Internet 3.0
  GIST 7132 GIS Database Systems 1 3.0
  GIST 8010 GIS Programming 2 3.0
  GIST 8100 Technical Issues in GIS 3.0
  GIST 8106 Spatial Analysis 3.0
  GIST 8117 Cartography and GeoVisualization 3.0
  GIST 8118 GIS Remote Sensing 3.0
  GIST 8128 ArcGIS 2: Data Management and Analysis 3.0
  GIST 8132 GIS Database Systems 2 3.0
  GIST 8138 ArcGIS 3: Customization and Modelling 3.0
2. Applied Management Electives (9.0 credits) Credits
Mandatory course:
  BUSA 7250 Management Skills and Applications 3.0
Complete a minimum of 6.0 credits from the list of electives:
  GIST 8109 Geospatial Systems Management 2.0
  GIST 8110 Management Issues in GIS 3.0
  BLAW 3100 Business Law 4.0
  ECON 1150 Economic Issues 3.0
  TMGT 7101 Engineering, Technology and Management 1.0
  TMGT 7122 Accounting for Technologists 1.0
  TMGT 7133 Law for Intelligence-based Business 1.0
  TMGT 7144 Human Resource Planning and Control 1.0
  TMGT 7152 Implementation Issues in Data Management 3.0
  TMGT 7153 Tactical and Strategic Business Use of the Internet 3.0
  TMGT 7154 Trends in New and Emerging Information Technologies 3.0
  TMGT 7155 Information Technology Management Issues 3.0
  TMGT 8102 Applied Research Methods 3.0

Additional elective courses:
Additional credits of applied management courses can be taken from other Bachelor of Technology programs including Management, Construction Management, Environmental Engineering Technology and Technology Management. Pre-approval of course selection is required from your Program Head.
3. Industry Project (16.0 credits) Credits
All students seeking to graduate from the program must successfully complete an industry-sponsored project. The objective of the project is to allow students to apply specialty knowledge in a real-life situation, study or applied research activity in conjunction with an industry sponsor and an academic mentor. The project assignment should contain elements that are considered innovative, experimental or exploratory in nature. The participant will be responsible for securing an industry sponsor with expertise in the project area.
  GIST 7122 GIS Project/Practicum Proposal 1.0
  GIST 8125 GIS Project 13.0
  TMGT 7102 Project Management/Resource Utilization 1.0
  TMGT 7142 Technology Management Communication 1.0

Note: Completion of GIST 7120 in the full- time GIS program may be applied towards exemption of GIST 7122, TMGT 7102 and TMGT 7142.

4. Liberal Studies Component (12.0 credits required) Credits
Mandatory Courses: (6.0 credits)
  LIBS 7001 Critical Reading and Writing 3.0
  LIBS 7002 Applied Ethics 3.0

Elective Courses: (6.0 credits)
All students will be required to achieve these credits in accordance with the BCIT policy on Liberal Studies course requirements.
Total Credits: 82.0

Check current availability of courses for this program.

Note: In addition to the course work outlined above, students must complete a minimum of six months relevant and verifiable GIS work experience to graduate from this program. Students must submit an up to date resume detailing their GIS work. Letters and/or contact information for employers in support of the resume must be provided. Once the work experience has been verified, the program head will grant approval.

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 Outcomes (for Advanced Diploma and Bachelor of Technology)

  1. Develop GIS spatial and non-spatial databases which serve the needs of a specific organization or project, following international standards as necessary, for local, WAN, or web deployment.
  2. Develop new GIS systems and procedures for local, WAN, or web deployment, using COTS software, open source software, and custom programming.
  3. Use GIS technology, programming languages, and computer aided software engineering tools to design and program GIS and database applications, and customize other computer applications.
  4. To have detailed knowledge of how to use specialized GIS technology and analysis techniques to enter, display, update, and manipulate spatial information.
  5. Manage spatial information systems and assist in the development of Internet-based GIS and business applications on smart phones, tablets, and desktop computers.
  6. Compare and assess COTS and open source software, and hardware for their suitability in handling common GIS applications, and plan the acquisition of GIS technology for enterprise deployment.
  7. Integrate non-GIS external software or datasets (such as spreadsheets, databases, and statistical packages) with GIS desktop, web/cloud, and wireless applications.
  8. To review and respond to Requests for Proposals, conduct cost-benefit analysis, prepare budgets, and manage GIS project teams.
  9. Know how to follow problem solving methodologies to break down large tasks into manageable pieces following a logical order, and to think critically and solve spatially-oriented problems.
  10. Use educational technology and self-directed study to enhance professional currency. 
  11. Have a broad understanding of infrastructure components of GIS, including networks, software, data portals, cloud storage, smartphone/tablets, and spatialized databases.
  12. Have a basic understanding of the techniques in primary data acquisition using CAD, softcopy photogrammetry, and surveying.
  13. Have a basic understanding of cartographic techniques and principles.

Additional Program Outcomes for Bachelor of Technology

  1. Train and provide technical support for GIS users in all aspects of data input and analysis, application development, selection of hardware, GIS software and databases.
  2. Apply basic principles of business, financial and human resource management.
  3. Work effectively in cross-functional teams.
  4. Apply learned skills in a GIS work environment.
  5. Be skilled in logical analysis, critical reading, understanding moral principles and theories, and theories of conflict resolution.
  6. Show breadth of knowledge outside of GIS, that crosses disciplines.

Program length

The accelerated mode of study allows participants to complete the majority of courses in one academic year (35 weeks of full-time instruction) with the balance of studies completed through part-time studies.

The rate of progress through the part-time program varies. Although most individuals take three to five years to complete their studies, students have up to seven years to complete the program requirements.

Program location


Burnaby Campus
3700 Willingdon Avenue
Burnaby, BC


Burnaby Campus
3700 Willingdon Avenue
Burnaby, BC

Downtown Campus
555 Seymour Street
Vancouver, BC

Available online starting September 2012.

Program structure

Technical/Management Component
  Technical Courses 45.0
  Management Courses 9.0
  Industry Project 12.0
Liberal Studies Component 16.0
Total credits: 82.0

Graduating & Jobs

When you graduate from the program, you will have completed one of the best educations in GIS technology available anywhere and be ready for the workforce.

A career in GIS can open a lot of doors. Opportunities exist in all parts of the private and public sectors, and in all sorts of application areas.

Job Opportunities

The majority of GIS graduates are working for either private industry (forestry, GIS vendors, natural resource exploration, computer systems) consulting companies (environmental, engineering, forestry, mapping, scanning, and software) or government agencies (municipal, provincial, federal). The graduates are developing GIS databases, using GIS to analyze data and predict the result of planned changes, managing GIS projects, planning the acquisition of GIS technology, developing GIS custom systems and training GIS users.

Graduate employment outcomes

The BCIT student outcomes reports present summary findings from the annual survey of former students administered by BC Stats one to two years after graduation. These reports combine the last three years of available results for the 2017-2019 BCIT Outcomes Surveys of 2016-2018 graduates and for Degree 2015-2017 graduates. The reports are organized into three-page summaries containing information on graduates' labour market experiences and opinions regarding their education. More detailed information can be accessed at the BC Student Outcomes website.

To view these results, you may need to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed in your Web browser.

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.

Faculty, Advisors & Staff

GIS Faculty are dedicated, energetic and knowledgeable, and have both GIS industry experience and formal schooling. The Department also utilizes instructors from the BCIT Geomatics Department, as well as sessional instructors from industry.

The Geographic Information Systems program benefits from the combined expertise of educational and industry professionals who form our program Advisory Committee. Their valued input and liaison with BCIT have helped ensure the relevance and currency of the program. We would like to acknowledge their continuous support for the success of the program.

GIS Faculty

Karl Kliparchuk, Program Head/Faculty
BSc, MSc (Geog), GISP
Tel. 604-432-8737
Loc. SW3-2090

Sheila Churchill, Faculty
BSc(Geology), DiplT(GIS), PGeo,  MSc(GIS)
Tel. 604-451-6897
Loc. SW3-2079

Carmen Heaver, Part-Time Studies Coordinator/Faculty
BSc, DiplT(GIS),  MSc(GISc)
Tel. 604-432-8378
Loc. SW3-2079

Rob Hewlett, Faculty
BSc, DiplT(GIS), MSc(CIS)
Tel. 604-432-8746
Loc. SW3-2079

Mike Hill, Faculty
Tel. 604-412-7421
Loc. SW3-2079

GIS Staff

Dee Morita, Program Assistant
Tel. 604-451-7001
Loc. SW2-215

Advisory committee

  • N. Ali, CBRE Canada
  • P. Bates, District of West Vancouver
  • O. Blasig, GE Energy
  • J. Clark, Spatial Vision Group
  • M. Doherty, ESRI Canada Ltd.
  • K. Hayne, City of Vancouver
  • C. Huntington, City of Burnaby
  • W. Johnstone, Spatial Vision Group Inc. (Chair)
  • H. Lee, RCMP
  • C. Lim, Acuere Consulting
  • S. Mak, BC Centre for Disease Control
  • J. Paillard, Stornoway Diamond Corp.
  • G. Singh, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources
  • M. Stoakes, SAFE Software
  • R. Taylor, Kerr Wood Leidal

Contact Us

Please see FAQs for more details or contact Program Advising if you have questions about:

  • Application process
  • Entrance requirements
  • Applying for transfer credit and advanced placement
  • Program costs
  • Job placement and graduate outcomes  |  604-434-1610

Dee Morita, Program Assistant  |  604-451-7001

Questions or comments?

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"The exposure to a large number of topics helped me gain experience that is suitable for a wide variety of careers.  Strong critical thinking skills and an ability to balance multiple projects demonstrate a robust work ethic which employers look for and value."

Tia McKillop, Class of 2016


"I would highly recommend the BCIT GIS Advanced Diploma program. The program offered me an incredible hands-on learning opportunity and set me up for success in my career.  The coursework was challenging, engaging and deeply relevant while the practicum component helped me develop immediate experience within the GIS industry." Brian Pont, Class of 2005


"I'm so happy that I chose BCIT's Advanced Diploma in GIS. The amount of knowledge packed into the courses fully prepared me to pursue a GIS career in any industry. The wide course selection provided theoretical concepts and practical technical skills. Not only did I learn about cartographic principles, GIS technology/software, and programming languages, but also important management skills that I have carried into my career. I highly suggest the program to anyone interested in a GIS career." Sarah Croft, BA (Honours), Dipl. GIS Class of 2013

Program Entrance and Laddering Options

View our entrance and laddering options in a PDF format.