Xiaoyang Zhang, Professor/Graduate Coordinator
Department of Geography and Geospatial Sciences and Geospatial Sciences Center of Excellence
Wecota Hall 115, Box 506B
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 and the Image Processing Laboratory in the department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science. 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.
Student Learning Outcomes
- Problem solving: Demonstrate proficiency in the application of appropriate geographical technologies and techniques to address issues in the physical and/or human sciences.
- Written communication: Communicate geographic ideas clearly and effectively (e.g., maps, writing, oral presentations, posters, photos, flowcharts, tables, graphs, and illustrations).
- Creative thinking: Apply observations from laboratory and/or field experiences to analyze problems and offer solutions.
- Critical thinking: Demonstrate foundational and specialized knowledge in both the physical and human sciences and their interconnectedness at local, regional, and global scales.
- Critical thinking: Interpret the ethical consequences of global issues concerning the environment to strengthen commitment to local, national, and global citizenship.
- Creative thinking: Demonstrate the ability to collect, organize, analyze, and synthesize information about people, places, and environments in a spatial-temporal context.
- Inquiry and analysis: Explore complex local, regional, and global issues using a geographical perspective to formulate questions and draw informed conclusions that are based on critical scientific analysis and interpretation of information.
- Transferable Skill: Career Preparedness (e.g. networking, career explorations, interviewing, writing cover letters and resumes, myIDP) (Transferable Skill: Career Preparedness)
Course Delivery Format
Program coursework is offered in classroom, laboratory, and field-based settings.
Facilities and Services
The program facilities are housed in various locations on campus at SDSU, including the Geospatial Sciences Center of Excellence in Wecota Hall and the Image Processing Laboratory in Daktronics Engineering Hall, as well at the United States Geological Survey’s Center for Earth Resources Observation and Science near Baltic, South Dakota.