A new academic year is opening at a time of economic uncertainty, and Brandman University is helping students build futures in business, nonprofits and government by launching new certificate programs focused on geospatial data analysis and business skills.

The certificates are new for the 2020-21 academic year, which will begin Monday, Aug. 31. The programs will prepare undergraduate and graduate students for leadership and analyst positions in which the abilities to collect, understand, and share data are critical skills. Brandman is creating new programs in geospatial analysis to meet business needs for data expertise and to help future leaders make better-informed decisions.

“Today, so many of the problems that we face in society must be addressed using data analytics and spatial thinking,” said Sheila Lakshmi Steinberg, professor of geographic information systems, social and environmental sciences. “Major events like economic recovery, fires, pandemics, political elections, marketing, and social justice all require an understanding of who, where, and how people are impacted. When you can visualize a problem – and the spatial data behind that problem – you can solve it in a timely manner and build communities while saving businesses and lives.”

The new certificate programs in geographic information systems (GIS) are stackable, so credits earned on the way to a certificate can be applied to degree programs when students choose to further their studies. The average expected time for students to complete the new certificates ranges from six months to a year. Learners can acquire new knowledge – and upgrade their resumes – in a relatively short amount of time.

“We anticipate that many working adults will look towards higher education during this time to expand their skillsets,” Chancellor Gary Brahm said. “New students may have their eyes on a new job, or perhaps they want to spend the additional hours they have at home to pursue a new interest. Whatever their motivation, a certificate enables students to cultivate new abilities and receive a credential in less time than would be required to complete a degree program.”

The new certificate programs:

  • Undergraduate Certificate: Spatial Social Sciences (School of Arts and Sciences)
  • Undergraduate Certificate: GIS and Data Analytics (School of Business and Professional Studies)
  • Graduate Certificate: Economic Development Using Location Intelligence (School of Business and Professional Studies)
  • Graduate Certificate: Emergency Management Using GIS (School of Business and Professional Studies)
  • Graduate Certificate: Geospatial Marketing Analysis (School of Business and Professional Studies)

Brandman programs emphasize the applicability of geospatial thinking and analysis to professional communication and informed decision making. Faculty teach geospatial concepts using industry-leading Esri software. Prior experience in GIS is not required to enroll in the new programs.

Roughly three quarters of American adults holding a college-level certificate said their most recent credential of this kind was either very or somewhat useful in obtaining employment, according to the Adult Training and Education Survey. What’s more, 58% of survey respondents said their last certificate was useful when it came to increasing their earnings. The U.S. Census Bureau collected survey responses in 2016.

Brandman will provide all classes required for the new certificates in entirely online formats during the Fall Trimester to safeguard students, faculty and university staff from the new coronavirus.

More information on additional degree and certificate programs involving geospatial analysis, such as the Undergraduate Certificate: GIS Use in Nonprofit Organizations, is available here.

Brandman University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. As part of the Chapman University System, Brandman blends a legacy of academic excellence with innovative programs and support services designed for students with busy schedules. The university offers undergraduate, graduate, credential and certificate programs designed to be relevant to more than 90 career paths. Brandman serves about 22,000 students, about 14,000 of whom are degree-seeking students, at 25 physical campuses in California and Washington, as well as online. Brandman offers fully-online courses for students anywhere in the United States and for military personnel serving abroad. For additional information, visit the university’s website.