Graduate Certifiate in Geospatial Intelligence - FAQs

Who should pursue this degree and certificate?

According to Title 10 United States Code Section 467, geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) means the exploitation and analysis of imagery and geospatial information to describe, assess, and visually depict physical features and geographically referenced activities on the Earth. GEOINT consists of imagery, imagery intelligence and geospatial information.

This certificate program is designed for students to achieve competencies in deriving actionable information from GEOINT data sources. Students who successfully complete the program requirements will receive formal certificates from the United State Geospatial Intelligence Foundation. While national security is one key area of applications, GEOINT knowledge and skills are widely adoptable to in social and environmental applications, such as crime analysis, disease surveillance, disaster rescue and recovery, and food, water, and energy security, just to name a few.

What is the necessary education background for the admission?

Students seeking the geospatial intelligence certificate must have completed an undergraduate degree. Successful applicants to the certificate program are expected to have (1) courses in some combination of remote sensing, geospatial information technology, and/or computer science fundamentals; and (2) some courses taken from one or more disciplines in geography, environmental science, hydrology, sociology, criminology, economics, political sciences, public health, or any other domain science that can be studied from a spatial perspective.

Can you consider my admission before I complete my official application online?

We can take no further action on admissions until we have received a formal application, including transcripts. Students 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. Most domestic students apply first for the Certificate and later apply for the master's program. You are encouraged to consider the option.

How long does it take to complete the program?

The program requires a minimum of 16 credit hours, which usually constitute 5 graduate courses plus one credit hour of a capstone project with the certificate director. Usually it takes one year to complete all course requirements. Students should meet with the certificate director to discuss the capstone project within the first two months upon starting the program.

What type of job opportunities do the graduates have?

The USGIF certificate provides a distinguished qualification of the student's GEOINT competency for career opportunities with government agencies and industries on national security, public safety, and related fields. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), Department of Homeland Security, United States Geological Surveys, state and local law enforcement agencies, defense contractors, and state and county departments of health are few examples of employment prospects.

What are the admission requirements?

Normally a GPA of at least 2.75 or better is expected. No GRE or GMAT is required for admittance to the certificate program. You must have a four-year college degree for admittance, but no specific major is required. However, most domestic students apply first for the Certificate and later for the Master's program which requires GRE.

What are extra admission requirements for international students?

International students are normally not eligible for the Certificate Program, because US immigration does not grant a student visa for a Non-Degree Seeking student. However, if you are already in the U.S. on some type of work visa, you can apply for the Certificate Program. Alternatively, international students can also apply for Master's Program, which will allow them to obtain a Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Intelligence during the course. International students needs to take TOEFL (or IELTS, PTE) and GRE to apply for the Master's Program. However, some GEOINT job opportunities are limited to US citizens or permanent residents.

What are the steps to apply for admission to the degree program?

More detail, and statewide common application for graduate admission on-line form ("ApplyTexas"), is available at: and

When are the important application deadlines?

Applications should be received by July 1 for Fall admittance, and by November 1for Spring admittance. We discourage applying for Spring admittance, because of course sequencing and the unavailability of financial aid. However, admission is possible for US residents until the first day of classes for the certificate programs. Because of the timing of classes, it is preferable to start in the Fall semester. Classes begin in mid-August for the Fall semester, and early January for the Spring semester. For exact dates, go to:

How much are the tuitions and fees?

Total fees for Texas residents are less than those for non-Texas residents. In general, to be a Texas resident you must have lived and been employed in the state for 12 months before registering at an institution of higher education here. Consult the current University Catalog for details ( All fees are waived for students who are awarded a teaching or research assistantship through the university.

Are there scholarships, fellowships, assistantships (TA, RA) and other financial aid available?

Every year, USGIF offers scholarships ($5,000 per award) on a competitive basis. More information is available at

Are there other degree and certificate program available?

We also offer BS, MS, and Ph.D. in Geospatial Information Sciences as well as graduate certificates in Remote Sensing and GIS.