Geographic Information Systems, Minor

Department of Geography, Planning, and Recreation

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

A Minor in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provides students in many disciplines the opportunity to gain further understanding of GIS concepts and mapmaking techniques relative to all disciplines. Students in this minor follow a well-structured framework that includes mapping, spatial analysis, programming, modeling, etc., and highlights ways that GIS systems can be used in business, government, and research.

  • A minor is earned in conjunction with a bachelor's degree.

    To receive a minor (18 - 24 units) at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject matter areas with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.0. At least 12 units of the minor must be unique to that minor and not applied to any other minor.

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Students may be able to use some courses to meet more than one requirement. Contact your advisor for details.

No more than fifty percent of the units used to satisfy minor requirements may be used to satisfy major requirements.

Minimum Units for Completion 18
Major GPA 2.0

 Purpose Statement

The minor in Geographic Information Systems supports the study of the physical environment, including cultural, political, and social landscapes through GIS data analysis cartography, remote sensing, area studies, and other tools to help the student understand the web of connections between earth and humankind.  Students will learn how to apply geospatial technologies using the latest version of ArcGIS and other web based mapping programs.  Specifically, students will learn how to build, manage and maintain geodatabases and applied geospatial datasets. Students will learn how to perform basic and advanced analysis using vector and raster based data in applied environments using public open data portals.  The knowledge and skills acquired with this minor can be applied broadly to almost any field that can be viewed through a geospatial lens, which includes but is not limited to Environmental Sciences, Physical Sciences, Social Sciences, Engineering and Business.  All of these areas of education can benefit greatly through the application of GIS.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  1. Collect and use geographic data related to physical and human landscape.
  2. Provide technical analysis based tools such as GIS or remote sensing. 
  3. Create effective visual representations of data and analyses
  4. Understand geographic relationships in regard to physical and human landscapes


Minor Requirements
  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also successfully complete. For prerequisite information, click on the course or see your advisor.