Minor in Geographic Information System

Minor Description

The GIS minor explores three fundamentals aspects of Geographic Information Science (GISc). The first is critical thinking and spatial reasoning (i.e., understanding which geospatial and other quantitative/qualitative approaches could be used to conceptualize, represent, and solve a given geographic problem when multiple alternatives exist). The second is responsible use of data, which includes understanding of data error or uncertainty, and geo-spatial data management. The third is visualization and graphic design for effective communication of GIS results using maps and graphics.

Students enrolled in GIS classes work with faculty members trained in a range of disciplines from human to physical geography, ecology, geology, mathematics/visualization, conservation science. They develop skills in applied geospatial research as well as capacities for a critical understanding and application of geo-technologies.

Minor Requirements

Core Courses (10 credits)

  • BIS 342 Introduction to GIS
  • BIS 343 Geographic Visualization

Advanced geospatial research methods course (5 credits):

Students are required to take one of the following advanced GIS methods courses. Courses in this bin provide opportunities for students to engage in applied research and deepen their foundational knowledge gathered in previous courses.

  • BIS 344 Intermediate Geographic Information Analysis and Applications
  • BIS 442 Advanced Geographic Information Analysis and Applications
  • BES 440 Remote Sensing of the Environment
  • BIS 408 Critical Physical Geography (in development)

Diverse approaches to data analysis and visualization (10 credits):

Students are required to take two courses from the following list.
* Please note that the list of courses will be maintained by the School of IAS.

  • CSS 107 Intro to Programming through Animated Storytelling
  • BEARTH201 Mapping the Earth System
  • BIS215 Understanding Statistics, BMATH215: Statistics for the Health Sciences, STAT220: Statistical Reasoning, or equivalent.
  • BIS218 Power of maps
  • BIS232 Introduction to Data Visualization
  • BES303 Environmental Monitoring Practicum
  • STMATH 310 Mathematical Game Theory
  • BIS352 Mapping communities
  • BIS 412 Advanced Data Visualization
  • BISMCS473 Visual communication

Total: 25 credits

Students must earn a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA for courses applied to the minor.

A minimum of 15 credits applied to the minor must be completed in residence at UW Bothell.

Students are required to take at least 15 credits at the 300-400 level coursework out of 25 credits.

Note: Classes in this minor are offered primarily during the day-time hours.


If you have questions regarding the minor in GIS, please contact the IAS Advisors at IASadv@uw.edu.