Geospatial Science Degrees and Certificates
“One of the greatest contributions
to my success in EPPS is the mentorship and guidance that I have received from my professors.”
— Dong Tran
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BS – GIS
The bachelor of science in geospatial information sciences (GIS) provides students a rigorous education in the fundamental theories, concepts, quantitative tools and analytical research methods used to acquire and manage spatially referenced information and to analyze spatial processes. Students master technologies that not only guide us to our destinations but also help us manage our environments.
GIS graduates encounter a wide variety of career options, as businesses and governments race to take advantage of technological advances. Public sector opportunities include work in areas such as public administration and policy analysis; public safety, criminology and emergency preparedness management; environmental management; or urban, regional, social service and transportation planning. Businesses also are likely to eagerly recruit GIS graduates, especially companies focused on marketing; site selection, logistics and real estate; or resource exploration, including petroleum.
Well-qualified UT Dallas undergraduates should consider the Fast Track program, which allows qualifying students to earn a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in five years of full-time study by taking courses one or more summer semesters and beginning graduate work in their senior year.
Students interested in exploring opportunities in GIS are urged to meet with Ms. Nora Hernandez, undergraduate adviser for GIS or with Dr. Denis Dean, program director for geography and geospatial sciences. For general information on EPPS advising, visit the Advising page.
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- Fast Track
- Minor in Geography
Graduate Certificate – Geographic Information Systems
Geographical information systems (GIS) are rapidly becoming indispensable for many government and private sector operations. This certificate program provides training in this exciting technology, while also granting university credit that can be applied to a graduate degree. Training is available for both novice and experienced GIS professionals using industry-standard GIS software products. Emphasis is on applications in government and business, with more traditional environmental and geological applications also included.
UT Dallas certificate recipients will have the background and skills necessary to successfully accomplish GIS projects and support GIS operations in a variety of areas in the public and private sectors including infrastructure and facility management, urban and regional planning, environmental conservation, market research, site selection, real estate, civil engineering, or natural resource exploration.
Classes are offered through the state of the art GIS facilities housed within the Bruton Center in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences and the NASA Center for Excellence in Remote Sensing in the geosciences program. The certification requires 15 graduate hours (five classes) detailed below. All courses taken as part of the Certificate also count toward the master of science in geospatial information sciences degree, and can be taken in conjunction with the graduate certificate in remote sensing and/or the master of science in geosciences.
Students seeking the GIS certificate must have completed an undergraduate degree and should apply as "non-degree seeking" students. Admissions paperwork requires only an application to UT Dallas graduate school, which can be completed online, and an undergraduate transcript.
Graduate Certificate – Remote Sensing
Remote sensing is the art, science, and technology of obtaining reliable information about physical objects and the environment through the process of recording, measuring and interpreting imagery and digital representation of energy patterns derived from non-contact sensor systems (American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing). This provides a reliable and cost-effective means of studying the natural and human environment for protection, natural resources management and planning. Government and non-government organizations continuously seek qualified professionals to use remote sensing for a wide range of applications. This certificate program provides training in this exciting technology, while also granting university credit that can be applied toward a graduate degree.
Classes are offered through the state of the art facilities housed within the NASA Center for Excellence in Remote Sensing in the geosciences and the Bruton Center in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences. The certification requires 15 graduate hours (five classes) detailed below. All courses taken as part of the RS Certificate also count toward the master of science in geosciences degree and the master of science in geospatial information sciences degree, and can also be taken in conjunction with the graduate certificate in geographic information systems.
Students seeking the RS certificate must have completed an undergraduate degree and should apply as "non-degree seeking" students. Admissions paperwork requires only an application to UT Dallas graduate school, which can be completed online, and an undergraduate transcript.
Graduate Certificate – Geospatial Intelligence
Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) is a rapidly evolving field that demands certain technical skill sets, the ability for rapid critical thinking and a global awareness of supporting information for national security and other intelligence activities. This certificate program provides students with a broad set of skills in the areas of geographic information systems, remote sensing, geospatial statistical analysis, intelligence gathering and global positioning systems. Certificate graduates meet the requirements for professionals set forth by the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF).
Classes are offered through the state of the art facilities housed in the geospatial information sciences program in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences and in the geosciences program. The certification requires 15 graduate hours (five classes) detailed below. All courses taken as part of this certificate also count toward the master of science in geospatial information sciences degree, and can be taken in conjunction with the graduate certificate in geographic information systems and the graduate certificate in remote sensing.
Students seeking the geospatial intelligence certificate must have completed an undergraduate degree and should apply to the graduate school as "non-degree seeking" students. Admissions paperwork requires only an application to UT Dallas graduate school, which can be completed online, and an undergraduate transcript.
MS – GIS
The master of science in geospatial information sciences (MGIS) program provides students a rigorous understanding of the technologies, quantitative techniques, models and theories used to acquire and manage spatially referenced information and to analyze spatial processes. Offered jointly by the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences and the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, the program focuses on the use of geographic information systems (GIS), which combine software and hardware capabilities for managing spatially referenced information. Students learn about concepts underlying GIS, acquire the skills for implementing GIS projects, and master the ability to use GIS in pure or applied research in substantive areas. The curriculum incorporates the graduate certificate in GIS, offering a degree option for students seeking additional expertise in this area.
Graduates apply their skills in multiple areas including public administration and policy analysis; public safety, criminology, and emergency preparedness management; environmental management; public works management; urban, regional, social service, and transportation planning and analysis; private sector business, especially marketing, site selection, and logistics; geophysical exploration, including petroleum; and real estate.
The MS in geospatial information sciences welcomes applications from students with a baccalaureate degree from an accredited university or college in any discipline relevant to GIS. A 3.0 undergraduate grade point average (on a 4.0 scale), and a combined verbal and quantitative score of at least 1000 on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), or equivalent score on the Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT), are desirable. Students must also submit transcripts from all higher education institutions attended, three letters of recommendation, and a personal statement, approximately one page in length, outlining their background and educational and professional objectives. Applications should be received by July 1 (U.S. residents) or May 1 (international) for fall admittance, and by November 1 (US residents) or September 1 (international) for spring admittance. However, admission is possible for U.S. residents until the first day of classes. Because of the timing of classes, it is preferable to start in the fall semester, especially if you have no previous GIS experience.
Students must have the equivalent of GISC 6381 GIS Fundamentals and GISC 6382 Applied GIS, or they must take these courses at UT Dallas, in addition to the 30 credit hours required for the MGIS. Additionally, beginning students are expected to have at least one course at the graduate or undergraduate level covering descriptive and inferential statistics (or take POEC 5313 Descriptive and Inferential Statistics but this will not count toward the 30 hours needed for the degree), to have completed college mathematics through calculus, and to have at least one programming or computer applications course or possess equivalent knowledge.
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- Advising - Contact Nora Hernandez, GIS masters advisor
PhD – GIS
The mission of the doctor of philosophy in geospatial information sciences is to cultivate innovative researchers capable of advancing the frontiers of knowledge in the geospatial information sciences through improved theories, new technologies, innovative methodologies, sophisticated quantitative analyses, and integrative applications.
Jointly offered by the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, this unique program reflects geospatial information science's origins at the confluence of work in multiple disciplines including geography, computer science, engineering, geology, and various social, policy and applied sciences.
Unlike programs at other schools in which geospatial information sciences is offered as a concentration within traditional geography, geology, environmental science or engineering programs, the degree at UT Dallas is devoted solely to GIS, focusing on advancement of the technology, its associated theory, and the enhancement of its application in a variety of substantive areas. As such, it provides a unique option for students wishing to concentrate in this inherently cross-disciplinary area.
Graduates find employment in the burgeoning geospatial technology industry, in research departments of public and private organizations, and in major academic institutions because of their ability to build bridges to other areas.
The program requires a minimum of 90 hours of graduate work beyond the bachelor's degree in courses numbered 5xxx or above at UT Dallas or their equivalent elsewhere, of which 42 hours are in formal, organized classes. No more than 36 hours of this work may be transferred from another institution. In the process of completing the PhD from the baccalaureate level at UT Dallas, a graduate certificate in geographic information systems, a graduate certificate in remote sensing, master of science in geospatial information sciences, master of science in computer science or a master of science in geoscience may also be obtained.
The PhD program in GIS seeks applications from students with a baccalaureate, master of arts, master of science or professional masters-level degree in any field relevant to geospatial information science including, but not limited to, geography and the social sciences, geology, computer science, management information systems, statistics, economics, marketing, city and regional planning, or natural resource management. A grade point average of at least 3.25 in undergraduate and master's work, and a combined verbal and quantitative score of 1150 or more on the GRE are desirable. Decisions cannot be made on PhD applications until a GRE score is available. PhD students normally begin their program in the fall. Applications should be received by July 1 (U.S. residents) or May 1 (international). If you are seeking financial support, to maximize your chances, all application materials should be received at UT Dallas by February 15. Applicants for the PhD in GISci are advised to pay particular attention to the required Admission Essay (Narrative/Personal Statement) and follow the guidelines provided.
The following pre-requisites/co-requisites will also be required for admission to the PhD program: (i) college mathematics through calculus, (ii) competence in at least one modern programming language equivalent to GISC 5317 Computer Programming for GIS, or CS 5303 and CS 5330 Computer Science I & II or MIS 5321 Computer Programming or MIS 6322 Visual Basic or MIS 6323 Java, or their equivalents, and (iii) at least one course in inferential statistics through to regression analysis equivalent to GISC 5313 Geospatial Data Analysis Fundamentals or POEC 5313 Descriptive and Inferential Statistics or GEOS 5306 Data Analysis for Geoscientists. Graduate courses taken at UT Dallas to meet these pre-requisites may be counted as electives toward the 90 credit hours for students entering the Ph.D. program directly from a BA or BS degree, but they shall not be considered substitutes for any specified course.