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Drone Operations & Spatial Analysis Certificate

UNC Drone class

This 12-credit hour certificate program provides students with the skills and knowledge necessary to complete the FAA Part 107 certificate (drone pilot license). It is ideal for those interested in working in a variety of business and public sector domains as drone pilots, drone image specialists, data technicians or remote sensing technicians

"These growing industries continue to have strong employment and competitive salaries for individuals in a wide range of positions who have the necessary theoretical knowledge and practical skills to use this technology," - Jessica Salo, Geography, GIS, and Sustainability interim chair.

Why pursue this certificate?

As the field grows and technology advances, industries such as anthropology, water management, oil and gas, and environmental monitoring are requiring entry level employees to have some level of GIS experience. Additionally, as the use of drones to collect data continues to be a rapidly growing sector of the economy, it has led to rising demand for individuals with experience as drone pilots and spatial analytics. 

Do I need to be a Geography, GIS or Sustainability major to apply? 

Not at all. This certificate is not restricted to those within the Geography, GIS and Sustainability department, and is a great addition to the curriculum of any individual interested in learning how to operate drone technology.

In fact, you don't need to be a UNC student to enroll in this program. We encourage everyone from students to professionals to sign up and learn these skills.

Many industries make use of drones, from urban development to video production and design. Having the ability to operate a drone will be a valuable addition to any skill set. 


GEOG 185. Introduction to Drones
GEOG 210. Introduction to GIS and GPS OR GEOG 285. Earth From Above
GEOG 449. Remote Sensing of the Environment

Select one elective from the following courses:
GEOG 307. Geographic Information Systems
GEOG 327. Fundamentals of Geospatial Programming
GEOG 485. Advanced Geographic Techniques: Topics