Message to Prospective Graduate Students

Thank you for your interest in graduate study at the Geospatial Sciences Center of Excellence (GSCE). The GSCE is a research and educational collaboration that combines the unique strengths of South Dakota State University and the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) center.  Our mission is to address fundamental questions about the functioning of the biosphere and its implications for the environment and human welfare in a rapidly-changing world.  Our approach focuses on the development and application of geospatial technologies, including remote sensing, modeling, and geographic information systems.  Through research, education, and communication, we seek to enhance basic understanding of critical earth system processes, develop practical tools for monitoring and predicting change, and facilitate sustainable management of ecosystems, societies, and the biosphere.

Faculty members at the GSCE primarily advise students who are pursuing a Ph.D. degree in Geospatial Science and Engineering (GSE). The GSE program seeks highly motivated students with strong backgrounds in the geospatial sciences. 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 typically provided by individual faculty members through their research grants or other funding sources. For these reasons, the application process is highly competitive, and meeting the minimum standards does not guarantee admission. In particular, a key criterion for admission into the Ph.D. program is for a GSE faculty member to agree to serve as the student's major advisor.

Current faculty research interests cover a broad range of topics, including quantitative remote sensing, land cover and land use change, geography, hydrology, landscape ecology, climate change, and fire science as well as applications of geospatial technologies in natural resource management, public health, agriculture, and other fields. Before applying to the program, prospective students are strongly encouraged to contact individual faculty members in their area of specialization to identify prospective advisors, discuss their research interests and educational goals, and determine if graduate assistantships are available. Prospective students can also contact the graduate program coordinator for general 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.

  • For more information on the Ph.D. program in Geospatial Science and Engineering, you can consult the GSE Program Page in the SDSU Graduate Catalog or download the GSE Program Guide for detailed information about policies and procedures.
  • Students who are interested in pursuing a master's program should directly consult the Department of Geography or the Department of Natural Resource Management for more information.
  • A full listing of previous graduate students who have completed their programs in the Geospatial Sciences Center of Excellence along with their advisors and research topics can be accessed here.