PhD in Geospatial Information Sciences - FAQs

Who should pursue a PhD in GIScience?

This degree is designed for someone desiring to engage in advanced research utilizing geospatial technologies (e.g., GIS, remote sensing, GPS), which involve acquiring, managing, integrating, visualizing, analyzing, interpreting, or otherwise using data that are tagged to the Earth's surface or other spatial contexts. The program supports interests in social science applications, computer science, and natural science and mathematics themes. Its focus is both professional and academic.

What is the necessary education background for admission to the PhD in GIScience program?

A student needs to have completed both a four-year bachelor's and a master's degree from an accredited institution, and must be fluent in English.

Can my admission be considered before I complete my official application online?

Pre-review is not possible. The admission process involves a committee of more than a half-dozen faculty. Each committee member reviews and scores an applicant's materials, and then the PhD Advisor makes a final decision about admission.

How long does the PhD in GIScience program take to complete?

This program normally takes a minimum of three years if a student has a master's degree from elsewhere in a related field. The first year is devoted to core courses and remedial work, and ends with the qualifying examination. The second year is devoted to preparing and defending a research proposal. The third year is devoted to completing dissertation research.

What job opportunities are available for graduates of the PhD in GIScience program?

Graduates of the program as well as their employment can be found at Graduates have jobs in the public, private, and academic sectors. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the occupational title as "Geospatial Information Scientists & Technologists" (SOC Code 15-1199.04). In addition, The GIS Certification Institute furnishes a job network ( that can be consulted for listings of current job advertisements.

What are the admission requirements for the PhD in GIScience program?

Besides the preceding educational background requirements, an admitted applicant is expected to have combined GRE scores of at least 1,150 (old format) or 300 (new format) and a GPA of at least 3.00 for his/her undergraduate coursework, and at least 3.25 for his/her master's coursework.

What are the additional admission requirements for international students?

An international student must have a valid visa permitting him/her to study in the United States. S/he also must furnish proof of English proficiency with one of the following: (1) a degree from an accredited United States institution of higher education; (2) a TOFEL score (at least 550 for the paper test, 215 for the computerized test, and 80 for the internet-based test); (3) an IELTS score of at least 6.5; (4) a least a 67 on the PTE; or, (5) a passing grade in level 112 of English from an ELS Language Center. A student must submit a test score no older than two years from his/her date of admission.

What are the steps to apply for admission into the PhD in GIScience program?

Step 1: Complete the Texas Common Application:

Step 2: Submit a personal statement:

Step 3: Take the GRE and have scores sent to UTD:

Step 4: For international students, take the TOEFL (or its equivalent) and have scores sent to UTD:

Step 5: Send official transcripts from all universities attended

Step 6: Pay applicable fees prior to registration

When are the important application deadlines?

For a Fall semester admission only, May 1 for international students, and July 1 for United States students.

For a Spring semester admission only, September 1 for international students, and November 1 for United States students.

For financial support consideration: February 15 for Fall semester admission (note: financial support decisions rarely are made for Spring semester admission).

How much are the tuition and fees?

A PhD requires 75 credit hours, of which 30 are from a master's degree. Consult for further information.

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

A very limited number of TA positions are available. RA positions are available when faculty have funded research projects. Stipends normally begin at $1,100 per month for first-year students, on a 9-month basis, and usually include a waiver of all fees and tuition. At times, $1,000 scholarships are available for out-of-state students that are accompanied by a waiver of out-of-state tuition charges.

Note that the cost of living in Dallas is one of the lowest of any major metropolitan area in the United States.

Are other degree and certificate programs available?

A student's priority is to successfully complete his/her doctoral program of study in a timely fashion. Some students find including a certificate program of study beneficial when they graduate and seek a job. Available programs include ones in: remote sensing, and geospatial intelligence (see