Post-Baccalaureate Certificate:
Environmental GIS

2007/2008 Graduate Catalog


Admission and Academic Requirements

Biology Department Chairperson: Richard V. Anderson
Biology Graduate Committee Chairperson: Robert V. Gessner
Biology Department Office: 372 Waggoner Hall
Biology Department Telephone: 309/298-1546
Biology Department E-mail:
Biology Department website:
Geography Department Chairperson: Christopher Sutton
Geography Graduate Committee Chairperson: Samuel Thompson
Geography Department Office: Tillman Hall 313
Geography Department Telephone: 309/298-1648
Geography Department E-mail:
Geography Department website:

Program Description

This interdisciplinary, skill based program is designed to provide students with an understanding of how environmental data is collected, what is being reported, and how to analyze what is reported. It provides training in basic concepts at all levels of ecology from populations to landscapes and the interaction between the physical and biotic environment. The course will focus on the applications of the geographic information system (GIS) to analyze and interpret ecological data. GIS is the leading technique used in ecosystem analysis since it provides a method of integrating the physical and topographic information in a landscape with characteristics of the biotic components of the environment. It provides a method of interpreting spatial information in relation to land use. Thus it forms a template for management and restoration decisions which increase the probability of more effective land use and success in environmental restoration efforts.

In the environmental field today there are few jobs beyond the technician level that do not require a background in GIS. Thus employees in areas of urban planning, industrial or urban facility and site development, agricultural management, resource development, environmental consulting companies, landscaping companies, state and federal agencies (for example Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Fish and Wildlife Service) all require their mid-level employees be familiar with the use and application of GIS to their particular missions. On-line programs and workshops in GIS focus on the mechanics of the use of GIS software. This program integrates training in GIS with training in the ecological techniques used to collect environmental data used interpretively by GIS. Thus students in this program will be better qualified to use ecological information and GIS technology for effective planning land use and restoration. Examples might include floodplain and mine land reclamation, wetland and drainage restoration, energy development such as windfarms, natural disaster recovery programs in both urban and ecological preserves, and natural lands management.

Requirements for Enrollment

Students who seek the certificate must meet admission requirements. Non-degree students must meet the admission requirements for the Graduate School; degree students must meet the admission requirements for their degree program. Students admitted to the program should have a degree in biology, geography or a related field.

Certificate Requirements

Core courses: 12 s.h.

Select two courses (one from Biology and one from Geography) from the
following: 6 s.h.

TOTAL: 18 s.h.

Course Descriptions


452G Biological Applications of GIS. (3) This course deals with biological problems examined using data acquisition and analytical methods from geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS). Prerequisites: BIOL 102 and 103, GEOG 308, or permission of the instructor.

459G (cross-listed with GEOG 459G) Biogeography. (3) Study of the geographical distributions of organisms, the evolutionary and ecological processes underlying the patterns of distribution, and the role of biogeography in biological conservation. Prerequisites: BIOL 102 and 103, or permission of the instructor.

584 Advanced Ecological Techniques. (3) This course provides instruction on the applications of techniques and analytical methods to the evaluation and restoration of terrestrial and aquatic communities, including data analysis specific to those techniques. Includes field experience. Prerequisite: BIOL 350 or equivalent, or permission of the instructor.


451G Plant Ecology. (3) Relationships of plants to their environment, community ecology and the use of quantitative methods to determine distribution. Field trip estimate: $25. Prerequisites: BIOL 102, 103, and BOT 210 or 410; graduate standing in biology.


403G Remote Sensing. (3) Principles of remote sensing with particular reference to interpretative applications in the earth sciences, agronomy, conservation, forestry, archaeology, and anthropology. Analysis of radar, infrared, near infrared, and visible
light imagery. Laboratory. Prerequisites: GEOG 120 and 121; or GEOL 110 and 112; or a lab sequence in biology or physics; or permission of the instructor.

426G (cross-listed with BIOL 426G) Conservation and Management of Natural Resources. (3) Problems in the conservation and management of natural resources, including soil, water, rangeland, forest, wildlife, air, and energy resources. Special attention to resource problems of the United States. Prerequisites: Two courses in geography or permission of the instructor.

508 GIS and Cartographic Design. (3) An introduction to basic cartographic principles and the application of geographic information system (GIS) tools. Students will learn theory and techniques that will be applied to project(s) associated to their discipline.

509 Fundamentals of GIS Analysis. (3) An introduction to geographic information system (GIS) analysis tools. Students will learn theory and techniques that will be applied to project(s) associated to their discipline. Prerequisite: GEOG 508.

510 Environmental Impact Analysis. (3) An examination and application of methodologies and techniques in assessing physical, economic, and social effects of development. Prerequisite: GEOG 405 or permission of the instructor.


451G Animal Ecology. (3) Relationships of animals in their environment. Prerequisites: BIOL 102 and 103; graduate standing in biology.