Part-time/Distance & Online Learning Advanced Diploma 9100padvdip

GIS in a Digital World

Announcement: the Advanced Diploma program in GIS is available online.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology is used to manage and utilize geographic and is widely recognized as an essential tool in such diverse fields as forest management, urban planning, engineering, municipal management, business, and environmental studies.

The Advanced Diploma program in Geographic Information Systems is designed for students with a background in a related discipline or technology. The part-time program is available entirely through online learning and can be completed in 2 - 4 years. The part-time program can also be completed through a combination of campus-based courses with online learning courses.

The curriculum combines theory and practice and covers GIS principles, training in GIS software, technical issues, remote sensing, digital mapping and management issues. Students must also successfully complete a supervised work experience before graduation. This may be either an industry project or an industry practicum.

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

NOTE: BCIT also offers a Bachelor of Technology Degree in GIS. Students enrolled in the Advanced Diploma can change to the Bachelor of Technology program early in the Fall semester if required. Once the student has committed to the Advanced Diploma and has graduated, they cannot take subsequent courses and apply for the Bachelor of Technology.

Program Entry

Application processing

Applications are accepted throughout the year.

Entrance requirements

GIS is a multidisciplinary field and has applications in a wide variety of professions and industries, and 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 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.


Students accepted into the full-time program are registered into all the required courses in the program matrix as a block. Many students are able to receive exemptions for some courses completed previously in part-time studies at BCIT or from other institutes. These students can apply for credit/exemption once they have started the full-time program in September.

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. The distance and online delivery option of this program is available to international students within or outside of 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.

Apply to program

BCIT accepts only complete applications. In order to apply:

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

You can check the status of your application online at any time using the Student Information System.

Scheduled intakes

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


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

Financial assistance

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


Whether you are a professional seeking upgrading, or a student interested in GIS as a career, you can explore GIS through our part-time studies (PTS) courses. Whether it is GIS software, remote sensing, databases, programming, or just a general introduction to GIS, we probably have something of value and interest to you.

You can work from home or your office on one of our e-learning courses, or take a course in a conventional classroom setting. Classroom courses are offered evenings and weekends, and in some week long sessions, at the Burnaby campus.

Most PTS courses are creditable towards the full-time Advanced Diploma or Bachelor of Technology in GIS. Our GIS FAQ has examples of part-time course schedules.

You do not need to be registered into a program in order to take a part-time course, and you can register online, by FAX or by telephone. You may register for courses prior to applying to the program, with the understanding that taking these courses in advance of acceptance does not guarantee your acceptance into the program.


Students are responsible for ensuring they meet formal GIS course prerequisites or have the necessary skills and knowledge to complete a course successfully. Successful completion of a course without the formal prerequisite does not imply successful completion or credit for the prerequisite course. Students who intend to complete one of the GIS programs must formally satisfy all course prerequisites through transfer/exemption credit or Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition.

Late Registration

Students must be registered the day before the course starts. Departmental approval is required for late registration. Contact the GIS Program Assistant to request late registration.

Withdrawal and Refunds

Information on part-time course withdrawal and refunds is available from Admissions and Registration.

GIS NET Courses

General information on online learning can be found at the BCIT distance and learning web site. Read the PDF [13KB] document 'Is online learning for me?'

Invigilation Information for GIS NET courses

GIS NET Courses require the student to complete a final exam that must be invigilated. It is the student's responsibility to arrange for final exam invigilation. The student is responsible for any associated costs. Invigilation may be done at recognized test centres. Additional information will be provided for registered students.

Access to GIS NET Courses

BCIT uses the Desire2Learn (D2L) learning management system. Access to course material for registered students is available at the Desire2Learn login page on the start day of the course. You login using your myBCIT ID and password.

Computer Requirements

Students will require a computer with Internet access capable of working with BCIT's LMS. Prospective students can perform a system check at the D2L login page. Students must also have standard MS-Office compatible software for writing assignments. Adobe Acrobat reader, Flash and Shockwave browser plug-ins; a media player, and the ability to ZIP and UNZIP files.

GIS NET courses that utilize GIS software may require setup and configuration to work with the software server. Additional details will be provided to registered students.

Textbooks /Workbooks

You can find textbook information for online courses at the BCIT Distance & Online Learning bookstore.

Program matrix

Check current availability of courses for this program.

1. GIS Technology 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
Note: Most of these courses are also available online.
2. Management Courses: (5.0 credits) Credits
  GIST 8109 Geospatial Systems Management 2.0
  GIST 8110 Management Issues in GIS 3.0
  TMGT 7101 Engineering, Technology and Management 1.0
  TMGT 7103 Research and Development Management 1.0
  TMGT 7104 Management of Technological Change 1.0
  TMGT 7123 Technology Information Systems 1.0
  TMGT 7131 Business Strategy and Structure 1.0
  TMGT 7132 Managing Technological Innovation and Entrepreneurship 1.0
  TMGT 7133 Law for Intelligence-based Business 1.0
  TMGT 7141 Managing in a Technical Environment 1.0
  TMGT 7143 Problem Solving and Decision-Making 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 8103 Technology Assessment 3.0
Note: Students may also select management course electives from other advanced diploma or degree programs at BCIT, subject to program approval.
4. Project / Practicum Courses: (16.0 credits) Credits
  GIST 7122 GIS Project/Practicum Proposal 1.0
  TMGT 7102 Project Management/Resource Utilization 1.0
  TMGT 7142 Technology Management Communication 1.0
  GIST 8125 GIS Project 13.0
  GIST 8126 GIS Industry Practicum 13.0
Note: Completion of GIST 7120 in the full-time GIS program may be applied towards exemption of GIST 7122, TMGT 7102 and TMGT 7142.

Total Credits: 66.0

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 part-time program courses are generally offered evenings, Saturdays or as workshops spanning a few days. The program is also now available online. Most students complete the part-time program in 2-4 years depending on educational background and number of courses taken each term. The Part-time studies GIS program must be completed within 5 years of commencing studies.

Program location

Burnaby Campus
3700 Willingdon Avenue
Burnaby, BC

Available online starting September 2012.

Program structure

GIS Technology Courses   45.0
Management Courses   5.0
Project/Practicum Courses   16.0
Total   66.0

Graduating & Jobs

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.

Faculty, Advisors & Staff

Carmen Heaver, Part-time Studies Coordinator

Advisory committee

  • P. Bates, District of West Vancouver
  • O. Blasig, GE Energy
  • J. Clarke, Hatfield Consultants
  • M. Doherty, ESRI Canada Ltd.
  • K. Hayne, EComm 911
  • W. Johnstone, Spatial Vision Group Inc.
  • B. Klinkenberg, UBC, Department of Geography
  • C. Lim, Acuere Consulting Inc.
  • P. Lippe, Weyerhaeuser
  • S. Mak, British Columbia Centre for Disease Control
  • J. Paillard, Stornoway Diamond Corp.
  • H. Lee, RCMP
  • M. Simon, Tetrad
  • S. Simpson, City of Surrey
  • G. Singh, GeoBC BIER - Business Innovation & Emergency Response
  • 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 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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