Prerequisite GIS Courses

Many students who enter the Advanced Diploma in GIS Applications program have previous experience with GIS, either through formal coursework, or through extensive on-the-job training.

It is highly recommended that you learn the basics of GIS before applying for the ADGISA program. The program assumes that you are able to navigate the ArcGIS user interface and have a basic understanding of how to perform some GIS analysis tasks and how to create maps using the software.

Example Prerequisite Courses

Examples of appropriate introductory GIS courses include:

Vancouver Island UniversityGEOG 328
Vancouver Island UniversityFRST 328
University of British ColumbiaGEOB 270
University of VictoriaGEOG 328
Simon Fraser UniversityGEOG 255
University of Northern British ColumbiaGEOG 300
Thompson Rivers UniversityGEOG 2750
Camosun CollegeGEOG 217
Langara College

APPL 2320

GEOG 2210

Note: this list is not exhaustive and is subject to change. If you have questions about a course that you took at another institution, please see the BC Transfer Guide or contact Darlene Norby ( for clarification.

Challenge Option 1

If you already have extensive self-taught GIS skills with ArcGIS or another GIS package, please send a resume, plus a portfolio of some of your work to Darlene Norby ( The ADGISA Admissions Committee will examine the work submitted and may elect to waive the formal GIS prerequisite, based on:

  • The volume of work completed
  • The depth of knowledge required to complete the tasks shown
  • How recently the work was completed
  • The type of software used

Challenge Option 2

If you are unable to take an introductory GIS course because of your location or schedule, VIU allows you to challenge the material though a series of online courses offered by Esri, the company that produces ArcGIS, which is used in the ADGISA Program. This software will only run on the Windows operating system.

Once you have applied to the program, your transcripts will be assessed for evidence of a satisfactory previous GIS course. If there is no evidence of a previous GIS course you will be provided with:

  • information about how to download and install one copy of the student edition of ArcGIS
  • access codes for course enrolment
  • instructions for installing the software and beginning the courses

The courses

Search for the course you need to complete at Esri Training. Use the latest software version of ArcGIS Pro to complete the course.

Once you have completed these courses, view your completion certificate for each course. Save a copy of each course completion certificate in PDF format, and email these to Darlene Norby (, who will confirm by email that you have met the course prerequisites.