Earth Data Analytics Professional Graduate Certificate

Launch your career in earth data science!

In today’s world of big data, rapid technological change and natural resource scarcity, Earth scientists with data science expertise are in high demand. The Earth Data Analytics - Foundations professional graduate certificate is designed to provide students with a powerful combination of skills in earth science, data analytics, interdisciplinary collaboration and science communication.


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Required Courses

3 courses (9 credits) are required to complete the certificate. 

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Average Costs

The 2021-2022 certificate cost is $10,026 for in-state and $12,888 for out-of-state students.

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Time to Complete

<1 year (3 semesters: August - June)

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Application Details

The priority application deadline for the 2021-2022 program is July 19th, 2021 and the final deadline is August 9th, 2021.

The Earth Data Analytics - Foundations professional certificate provides core skills required for a career in computationally-intensive earth sciences. These skills, identified through a survey of both industry representatives and the scientific community, and supplemented by a literature review, include the ability to:

  • Address domain specific scientific challenges and questions using readily available, multi-dimensional data streams
  • Efficiently process, integrate, analyze and visualize heterogeneous spatio-temporal data
  • Communicate effectively across disciplines
  • Efficiently and effectively collaborate with colleagues in interdisciplinary environments

These three courses comprise the professional certificate in Earth Data Analytics - Foundations. Throughout the certificate program, students work on capstone projects related to their topical interests and future career goals.

  • Earth Analytics Data Science Bootcamp (Geog 4463/5463):  This introductory, multidisciplinary course will provide core scientific programming skills required to efficiently work with a suite of earth systems data in Python. The course provides an introduction to the scientific programming, version control and collaboration skills required for efficient workflows. Students learn programming principles like functions and basic automation using loops and syntax. Students also use Git, GitHub, Bash, and Shell for version control and collaborative coding. The course will culminate with a project rather than a final exam. This course is technical. Students will code every day and finish the course with proficiency in using Python and Jupyter notebooks. No programming experience is required to take this course.

  • Earth Analytics - Python (Geog 4563/5563): This multidisciplinary course is focused on teaching students to efficiently process, integrate, analyze and visualize Earth data. Students will learn to work with a suite of data types, structures and formats to address major questions in earth science. Data science and programming tools are taught in the context of earth science topics including uncertainty, vegetation change, disturbance and extreme events (e.g. fires and floods) and social media data for disaster response. This course is technical. Students will code every week and finish the course with proficiency in using Python and Jupyter notebooks to create data driven reports. Lessons, assignments and the syllabus can be found on the earthdatascience.org webpage.

  • Earth Analytics Applications (Geog 5663): Students in this course will apply skills learned in prerequisite classes through working collaboratively on a data-intensive group project that is based on a real world issue. This project can be (1) provided to the student by one of Earth Lab’s industry or agency partners or (2) provided by the student from their current job, graduate thesis or dissertation. The project might include more advanced statistics or application development. It will ideally relate to a job that the student would like to have in the future. The final product will be a data-driven report and presentation.

The technical skills acquired through this certificate can help start or advance a career as a:

  • Data scientist
  • Geospatial analyst
  • GIS technician, specialist, analyst, coordinator, or manager
  • Remote sensing scientist or analyst

The interdisciplinary earth data science skills learned in this program can also support existing career tracks in fields including hydrology, geosciences, environmental engineering, urban and regional planning and natural resources.

This certificate is appropriate for recent graduates, experienced Earth Science professionals and professionals who want to change career tracks. If you are a current CU student or employee more information can be found here.

Minimum Requirements

  • Possess and provide documentation of an undergraduate degree (BS, BA or equivalent) in any academic field from an accredited academic institution

  • The ability to read and write in English

Preferred Requirements

  • At least one year of professional work experience

  • At least one semester of college-level math, statistics or related quantitative coursework (can be substituted with quantitative professional experience)
  • An undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 or higher

The cost of all three certificate courses (nine credits) for the 2021-2022 program is $10,026 for in-state students and $12,888 for out-of-state students.

Students are also permitted to enroll in just one or two of the certificate courses (three credits each), paying one third of the total certificate tuition per course.

2.3M data analytics jobs in 2018
100k average starting salary
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#1 university for geosciences
Shannon White, a 2019 certificate student, and her dog.

"“I didn’t like computers when I started... I had zero coding experience. This course, and the coding that I learned in it, has given me a whole new career direction. It has carved out a path for me.” "

Shnanon White

2019 certificate graduate

Meet current and former students in the Earth Data Analytics professional graduate certificate program.
Read about capstone projects done by Earth Data Analytics professional certificate graduates.
Apply by August 9th to start the program in fall 2021.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Who Should Apply

Who is this certificate appropriate for?

This certificate is appropriate for experienced earth science professionals, recent graduates and those ready for a new career who are interested in developing technical skills including scientific programming, version control and cloud computing in the realm of data intensive science.

Note: Applicants must possess a bachelors degree from an accredited institution.

What are the prerequisites and qualifications?

An undergraduate degree in any academic field from an accredited institution is required. There are no specific course prerequisites to complete this program.

I don't have any programming experience. Is this certificate right for me?

Previous programming experience is not required.

I don't have an undergraduate degree. Can I still apply?

No. An undergraduate degree from an accredited institution is required to apply for and complete this certificate.

I don't live in Boulder. Can I complete the certificate entirely online?

Yes! The three certificate courses are offered entirely online. All lectures are recorded so if you can't make the lecture time period, you can watch it at a more convenient time. Also, all of the lessons will be available in written form on the website earthdatascience.org. Some students find the written online lessons sufficient, some watch the lectures, and others watch the lectures at a faster rate to skim what was presented.

Can I apply the credits earned in the certificate to a master's degree at CU Boulder?

We are in the process of developing a full master's degree in Earth Data Analytics. The courses included in this certificate will be core courses for this degree and can be applied towards it.

I'm still not sure if the program is right for me. How can I decide?

Please contact earth.lab@colorado.edu if you have further questions!


Do you offer scholarships and financial aid?

No, financial aid and scholarships are not available to Earth Data Analytics - Foundations certificate students at this time.

How much does it cost?

The full nine-credit certificate program for 2021-2022 costs $10,026 for in-state and $12,888 for out-of-state students. The costs for the 2022-2023 certificate program will be posted in June 2022,  when the CU Board of Regents annouces campus wide tuition rates.

Students may also elect to take just one or two of the certificate courses, without completing the entire program, paying one third of the total certificate tuition for each course.

Applying & Enrolling

How do I enroll in the program?

The application for the fall 2021 through spring 2022 certificate program can be found here.

When do I need to apply by?

The priority application deadline for the 2021-2022 program is July 19th, 2021 (11:59 MST) and the final deadline is August 9th, 2021 (11:59 MST).

Can I take just one of the courses, or do I need to enroll in the entire certificate?

You must apply for and enroll in the certificate program in order to take any of the certificate courses. However, once you are enrolled you may elect to take only one or two of the certificate courses. There is no financial disadvanatage to doing this—you only pay for the courses that you take, not the entire certificate tuition.

Completing the Program

How long do I have to complete the certificate?

The three courses required for the certificate must be completed within three years.

How long does it typically take to earn the certificate?

The certificate program can be completed in less than a year if you take one course during the fall semester, one during the spring semester, and one during the summer session.

Are there minimum grade requirements?

Students must receive a C+ grade or higher in each course to receive the certificate.

Current CU Boulder Employees & Students

I'm a CU employee. Can I use my tuition benefit to obtain the certificate?

At this time we cannot accept the CU staff tuition benefit. One reason for this is because the certificate is in the division of Continuing Education, which does not accept the tuition benefit per University Policy (see B5 under policy statement). However, we also do not get tuition support for non-professional students from CU to run our program. If you are a CU staff member interested in the certificate, please contact us at earth.lab@colorado.edu for the most up-to-date information.

I'm a current graduate student at CU. Can I obtain the certificate?

Currently we do not accept CU graduate students into the certificate program but we are exploring options for the future.

I'm a current undergraduate student at CU. Can I obtain the certificate?

This is a graduate level program. Thus, we cannot accept CU undergraduate students. However, several of the certificate courses permit undergraduate enrollment.