Earth and Ocean Sciences

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Beginning in Fall 2018, the University of North Carolina Wilmington participates in a Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) Certificate Program both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The GEOINT Certificate has been accredited by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF, The GEOINT Certificate is designed to connect students with federal agencies, industry and other stakeholders working in GEOINT. Students who aspire to a career in geospatial intelligence, especially at one of the federal intelligence agencies, such as the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, but also students who aspire to professional careers in geospatial science more broadly will be well-served by participating in the program and acquiring this external accreditation.

UNCW students who meet the requirements for a Geography major, Geospatial Technologies minor or who are earning the Graduate GIS Certificate are eligible for this external accreditation. In addition to these program requirements, all students are required to complete a GEOINT capstone experience. For undergraduate students the GEOINT capstone experience can be fulfilled by completing one of the following options: Honors thesis, a geospatial-focused DIS or internship, or the GEOINT Capstone course offered in the Earth and Ocean Sciences Department.  For graduate students, the Capstone experience can be fulfilled by completing a geospatial thesis or non-thesis project, geospatial internship or DIS.

USGIF is a 501(c)(3) non-lobbying, nonprofit educational foundation dedicated to promoting the geospatial intelligence tradecraft and developing a stronger community of interest between Government, Industry, Academia, and Professional Organizations. For several years now, a number of mathematical, scientific, acquisition, and analysis disciplines have been converging as components of a larger discipline—geospatial intelligence (GEOINT). GEOINT has become the cornerstone of our national security through its place at the functional center of many diverse intelligence methods. GEOINT is broadly defined as actionable knowledge, a process, and a profession or the ability to present data that is spatially explicit in a way that is appropriate to the decision-making environment. Finally, GEOINT represents the tools and skillsets that allow one to identify, collect, store and manipulate data to create geospatial knowledge through critical thinking, geospatial reasoning, and analytical techniques.

The USGIF, among other activities:

  • Publishes a monthly GEOINT journal called Trajectory  
  • Awards thousands of dollars in scholarships every year to students from accredited institutions
  • Holds an Annual GEOINT Symposium - the world’s largest public gathering of intelligence professionals
  • Offers additional, NCAA-accredited, professional certifications for those interested in deepening their GEOINT tradecraft.

As part of its educational mission, USGIF sponsors a Geospatial Intelligence Certificate Program ( Universities meeting the guidelines and standards of the program are authorized to nominate candidates for the certificate from the USGIF. Geospatial programs accredited through USGIF (including George Mason University, Penn State, James Madison, University of South Carolina, Northeaster University, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the U.S. Military Academy at West Point) stand out to potential employers in government and industry as having been vetted externally as programs of excellence. USGIF accreditation provides assurance that programs meet or exceed established disciplinary standards and competencies to serving the growing needs in the job market. The GEOINT Certificate program will be interdisciplinary, based on broad strengths in geospatial science and technology, and emphasize teamwork in GEOINT problem-solving activities, critical thinking and spatial reasoning.




For additional information about the program or to enroll in the GEOINT Certificate at UNCW, please contact Program Director, Dr. Narcisa Pricope or Deputy Director, Dr. Peng Gao.