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Graduate Program

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Graduate Program

Program Description for the Master of Science (M.S.) in Geography. The curriculum, organized through formal courses, seminars, internship experiences and supervised research, is designed to prepare students for positions in professional areas such as planning, remote sensing, geographic information systems, government services, research, business and teaching. The program is also designed to provide students with education needed to pursue further graduate study. Students seeking this degree are expected to select courses that will provide a sound foundation in geography (philosophical, physical and human, and research techniques) supported by courses outside the department. Areas outside the department beneficial to the student include History, Economics, Education, Biology, Engineering, Plant Science, Sociology, Natural Resource Management, and others. Special problems are offered for students interested in unique educational experience. Other special programs can be taken through educational experiences provided for in the Alternatives and Options Programs of the College of Arts and Science, and a cooperative program with the EROS Data Center. Internships generally are available with planning districts, governmental agencies, business, and industry.

Core Requirements
Students are required to take the following courses:
Geog 710 Evolution of Geographic Thought (3 credits)
Geog 714 Research and Writing (3 credits)

Additional Admission Requirements
GRE: Required
TOEFL: Score of 525 paper-based, 71 Internet-based

IELTS: 5.5

Program Information for the Ph.D. in Geospatial Science and Engineering (GSE)

The Geospatial Science and Engineering (GSE) Ph.D. is an interdisciplinary program that combines advanced coursework with cutting-edge research to advance the field of geospatial sciences. The focus is on transforming geospatial data into relevant information through acquisition, processing, characterization, analysis, and modeling in order to understand geographic patterns, processes, and relationships at scales ranging from landscapes to the globe. To achieve these aims, the geospatial sciences integrate the geographic disciplines of cartography, geodesy, geographic information systems, and remote sensing with elements of mathematics, statistics, the natural sciences, the social sciences, and engineering. The resulting array of geospatial concepts, methods, technologies, and datasets are used to address a wide range of pertinent questions about the functioning of the biosphere and its implications for sustainability of natural resources, agricultural productivity, biodiversity, environmental quality, and human welfare in a rapidly-changing world.

The program consists of faculty from the Geospatial Sciences Center of Excellence (http://globalmonitoring.sdstate.edu), and the Image Processing Laboratory in the department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (http://iplab2out.sdstate.edu/). Other participating departments include Agricultural & Biosystems Engineering, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Geography, and Natural Resource Management. Current faculty research interests include quantitative remote sensing, sensor design and calibration, land cover and land use change, geography, hydrology, landscape ecology, climate change, and fire science as well as applications of geospatial technologies in agriculture, meteorology, natural resource management, public health, and other fields. The program seeks highly motivated students with strong backgrounds in the geospatial sciences or a closely-related field to complement these efforts.

Available Options for Graduate Degrees

Doctor of Philosophy: 60 Credit Plan, 90 Credit Plan

Core Requirements:

GSE 740 - Introduction to Geospatial Science and Engineering Credits: 3

GSE 790 - Seminar in Geospatial Science and Engineering Credits: 1 (3 credits required)

GSE 898 - Dissertation Credits: 1-12 (36 credits required)

Specialization Coursework Credits: 6

Supporting Coursework Credits: 12-15

Additional Admission Requirements

Admission to the GSE program is competitive and limited by the availability of personnel, facilities, and funding necessary to provide quality graduate education. GSE is an interdisciplinary program with participating faculty members from several departments. The scope of the geospatial sciences is broad, and individual faculty members will only advise students within their particular area of specialization. Financial support for students is provided by individual faculty members through their research grants or other funding sources. Students can also bring their own funding, which could be obtained through a fellowship program or through the support of their employer. For these reasons, the application process is highly competitive, and meeting the minimum standards does not guarantee admission. In particular, the critical criterion for admission into the PhD program is that a GSE faculty member must agree to serve as the student’s advisor.

Before applying to the program, prospective students are strongly encouraged to contact individual faculty to identify prospective advisors, discuss their research interests and educational goals, and determine if graduate research assistantships are available. Prospective students may also contact Dr. Michael Wimberly, the program coordinator, for additional information.

All applications must meet the admission criteria of the Graduate School before being accepted into the GSE program, and formal offers of graduate assistantships will not be made until students have been officially accepted by the Graduate School.

GRE: Required
TOEFL: Score of 525 paper-based, 71 Internet-based
IELTS: 5.5

Two letters of recommendation from persons acquainted with the academic ability and professional competency of the applicant should be sent directly to the GSE graduate coordinator.

Applicants must provide a written describing their research interests and academic goals in pursuing a Ph.D. and identifying one or more faculty members as potential advisors. The letter of intent should be submitted with the other application materials.