• Online Geospatial Certificate Program

Frequently Asked Questions - Online Geospatial Certificate Program

I am new to online learning. Where can I get help?

Cal Poly Humboldt's online learning resources bring world-course geospatial education into your home. Students enrolled in our online courses are taught the same lessons and activities, and earn the same credits, as students that attend courses in person. You interact with professors and other students in an online forum, and course materials are accessed through Cal Poly Humboldt's Geospatial Online website or other websites offered from instructors.

Many of the skills required to be successful in a face-to-face course are transferable to an online course, though there are some differences. Use this self-assessment form to find out if you're ready for online learning and to determine the areas where you might need to work a little harder to succeed. And online orientation and more information about eLearning 101, the online orientation will be available to you when you register. If you have further questions, please email gsponline@humboldt.edu.

What is the online course format?

The courses are taught online and consist of interactive online forums; instructional videos; readings from leading industry texts and websites; and weekly modules and assignments with fixed due dates to keep you on track. Assignment due dates are posted ahead of time, giving students the flexibility to arrange their course work around their schedules. Students can complete this coursework on their own schedule -- there is no requirement to be online at the same time.

Canvas is the Learning Management System (LMS) for Cal Poly Humboldt online courses. Students will have access to the syllabus, course calendar, assignments, and other materials and functions via Canvas. Canvas is web-based; therefore, you will need a computer with Internet access and an Internet browser to manage your courses through Canvas. There is also a Canvas app, which we recommend using in addition to the web-based interface.

Do I have to be online on a certain day/time?

You can complete the weekly assignments on your schedule -- there is no need to be online on a particular day or time. However, there are deadlines for assignments.

What are the minimum technology requirements?

What are the fees/tuition for the program?

Effective in fall 2024, the fees for the certificate program are $360 per unit. A 3-unit course will therefore cost $1,080. A four-unit course is $1,440. Fees are subject to change.

Fees include library access. There are no additional fees for out-of-state students.

Is there financial aid available? 

Yes. Students admitted to the Online Geospatial Certificate are eligible to apply for financial aid. A minimum of 6 units of enrollment is required for federal student loans in fall and spring semesters. To obtain a loan, please submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), for the upcoming school year. It can take 3-6 weeks after submitting your FAFSA to receive an aid award notification from Cal Poly Humboldt. You can learn more about federal loans at Cal Poly Humboldt’s Financial Aid website.

Are there additional costs?

We take care to keep costs low for textbooks, and only utilize highly relevant texts that will serve as resources after the courses end. You will also have temporary access to industry software at special discounted rates.

What is the time commitment required to be successful in each course?

Each course requires approximately 18-20 hours per week.

Can I test out of GSP 101?

In some cases, a student may be able to demonstrate that they do not need to take GSP 101 (because of their past studies/experience). Students wishing to "test out" of GSP 101 should first request a referral from the

and then arrange to take the GSP 101 Challenge Exam through the Testing Center at Cal Poly Humboldt.

Additional information about the Challenge Exam process can be found online. [PDF. Adobe Reader required.] If you cannot come to the Cal Poly Humboldt campus to take the exam, you can arrange to take the exam at another CSU campus, or at a test proctoring center near you. For questions about arranging to take the exam elsewhere, contact the Humboldt Testing Center at 707-826-3611.

I took a couple of courses like this in college -- can I get credit for them?

If you have done coursework at another institution, some of your units may transfer and be counted toward the certificate. To obtain the certificate, a minimum of 6 units must be taken at Cal Poly Humboldt, and at least three of those units must be upper division units (from GSP 370 or GSP 316). Email us at gsponline@humboldt.edu to determine if your courses can count toward the certificate.

It says applicants are required to have "college level" writing and math skills. What do you mean by this?

Geospatial analysis, while done largely by computer, requires a basic understanding of some math fundamentals in order to correctly formulate equations and models. You should be familiar with the following before enrolling in the program: basic algebra skills, such as unit conversions, fractions and percents, solving for unknowns (x), order of operations, and geometry tasks such as calculation of area, perimeter and volume, and working with sine, cosine, and tangent functions.

Geospatial analysts are also expected to prepare reports detailing methods and results, for either a scholarly or technical audience. In our program, you'll learn how to structure each section of a professional report, but you should already be familiar with proper citation formats, and formal/professional writing standards, including sentence structure, spelling and grammar conventions, and effective communication.

What if I need to take time off from the program?

No problem! You can pick back up where you left off the next time that course is offered.

Do I have to take the courses in order?

It is recommended that you follow the sequence suggested for the best experience.

What if I only want to take one course?

Please email gsponline@humboldt.edu to inquire about taking only one course.

What is the duration of an online course?

Online courses are typically eight weeks in duration. This allows you to complete the courses more quickly, but at about twice the workload per week.

Who teaches online courses?

At Cal Poly Humboldt, our geospatial courses are taught by our faculty, and you will generally interact with them in online forums and via e-mail. Teaching assistants (TAs) will participate in grading and responding to questions posted by students. Learn more about the faculty here.

How many Humboldt units are required for the certificate?

Sixteen (16) units are required for the certificate. If you have done coursework at another institution, some of your units may transfer and be counted toward the certificate. To obtain the certificate, a minimum of 6 units must be taken at Cal Poly Humboldt, and at least three of those units must be upper division units (from GSP 370 or GSP 316).