UT Dallas 2013 Undergraduate Catalog

School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences

Geospatial Information Sciences (BS)

Geospatial Information Science (or GIScience) is the study of relationships between phenomena in space and time. In recent years, powerful new technologies and techniques have emerged that greatly improve our ability to acquire, archive, analyze and communicate information regarding people, places and other things on or near the Earth's surface. These same technologies and techniques allow us to combine this information into multi-tiered databases describing the physical, social and other aspects of all or portions of the Earth. Such databases can then be analyzed in novel ways that take the data's explicit spatial (or locational) nature into account. The insights produced by analyzing these types of databases are revolutionizing many fields of science, government, and business. Currently, commonplace consumer products such as web-based mapping systems and GPS units that incorporate locational information are directly impacting the everyday lives of ordinary individuals.

Graduates of the Bachelors of Science in Geospatial Information Science program will understand the logical, mathematical, and technological foundations for compiling and analyzing spatial data. They will be skilled in solving geospatial problems, enabling them to move into professional roles handling the geospatial needs of typical corporate, government, and nonprofit organizations. The graduates will not only be skilled in the use of common GIScience software systems, but also will understand the underlying principles upon which software systems are based. This will allow them to transfer their knowledge from one software system to another, to expand the capabilities of these systems, and most importantly, to view geospatial problems as issues that can be solved by applying basic theories, techniques and methodologies.

Mission and Objectives

The mission of the Bachelor of Science in Geospatial Information Sciences program is to provide students with a rigorous understanding of the fundamental theories and concepts underlying GIScience, as well as to provide them with extensive hands-on experience with contemporary GIScience hardware and software. The goal of the program is to give students a firm grasp of the theories, ideas, and techniques that underlay software and hardware systems for the compilation and analysis of spatially referenced data, and thus provide them with a foundation of knowledge and skill that transcends any individual piece of software or hardware. Graduates of this program will be able to successfully compete for professional positions within GIScience and related fields, and be admitted into the best graduate schools globally.

Students within the program will:

  • Demonstrate their understanding of the underlying theories, ideas, concepts and techniques of GIScience.
  • Master contemporary computer hardware and software systems commonly employed in GIScience.
  • Demonstrate problem solving skills that employ their understanding of theories, ideas and concepts as well as their mastery of GIScience software and hardware.

Bachelor of Science in Geospatial Information Sciences

Degree Requirements (120 semester credit hours)

I. Core Curriculum Requirements: 42 semester credit hours1

Communication (6 semester credit hours)

3 semester credit hours Communication (RHET 1302)
3 semester credit hours Communication Elective (GEOG 3377)

Social and Behavioral Sciences (15 semester credit hours)

6 semester credit hours Government (GOVT 2301 and GOVT 2302)
6 semester credit hours American History (HIST 1301 and HIST 1302)
3 semester credit hours Social and Behavioral Sciences Elective (SOC 1301, SOC 2319, CRIM 1301, or CRIM 1307)

Humanities and Fine Arts (6 semester credit hours)

3 semester credit hours Fine Arts (ARTS 1301)
3 semester credit hours Humanities (HUMA 1301)

Mathematics and Quantitative Reasoning (6 semester credit hours)

3 semester credit hours Mathematics (MATH 1325, MATH 2413 or MATH 2417)2
3-4 semester credit hours Quantitative Reasoning (EPPS 3405)2

Science (9 semester credit hours)

GEOS 1103 Physical Geology Laboratory
GEOS 1303 Physical Geology
5 semester credit hours Science elective(s)

II. Major Requirements: 44 semester credit hours

Major Preparatory Courses (11 semester credit hours beyond Core Curriculum)

EPPS 3405 Introduction to Social Statistics with Lab2, 3
MATH 1325 Applied Calculus I2 , 3
or MATH 2413 Differential Calculus2, 3
or MATH 2417 Calculus I2, 3
ENVR 2302 or GEOG 2302 or GEOS 2302 The Global Environment
GEOG 2303 People and Place: An Introduction to World Geographic Regions
GEOG 3370 The Global Economy

Major Core Courses (18 semester credit hours)

GEOG 3304 or GISC 3304 or GEOS 3304 Tools for Spatial Analysis
GEOG 4380 Spatial Concepts and Organization
GISC 2301 or GEOS 2301 Introduction to Geospatial Information Science
GISC 2302 Geodesy and Geospatial Analysis
GISC 4325 or GEOS 4325 Introduction to Remote Sensing
GISC 4382 Applied Geographic Information Systems

Concentrations (15 semester credit hours in ONE of the following concentration areas)


GEOG 3331 Urban Growth and Structure
GEOG 3357 Spatial Dimensions of Health and Disease4
GEOG 3359 Human Migration and Mobility4
GEOG 3372 Population and Development
GEOG 3382 Russia: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow4

GeoComputation and GeoVisualization

MIS 3300 Introduction to Management Information Systems
GISC 4317 GeoComputation
GISC 4326 Cartography and GeoVisualization
GISC 4384 Urban and Environmental GIS
GISC 4385 Advances in GIS

III. Elective Requirements: 34 semester credit hours

Prescribed Electives (15 semester credit hours)

All students are required to take at least fifteen semester credit hours of prescribed upper-division elective courses.

Free Electives (19 semester credit hours)

This requirement may be satisfied with lower- and upper-division courses from any field of study. Students must complete at least 51 semester credit hours of upper-division courses to qualify for graduation.

Minor in Geography

This minor will provide students from all majors with a better understanding of distribution issues and the skills to analyze current and evolving spatial problems at various scale levels from local to global. Students are encouraged to learn to view spatial issues from scientific, environmental, political, and social standpoints. The 18-semester credit hour Geography Minor enables UT Dallas students to develop expertise in this important area.

Students are expected to take the following classes to meet the requirements:

ENVR 2302 or GEOG 2302 or GEOS 2302 The Global Environment
GEOG 2303 People and Place: An Introduction to World Geographic Regions
GEOG 3370 The Global Economy
The remaining 9 semester credit hours must all be upper-division GEOG or GISC courses.

Student may also contact their academic advisor for a list of the courses that satisfy the minor requirements. No semester credit hours may be used to satisfy both major and minor requirements.

Because Geography is concerned with a distribution and interrelationships analysis, it provides a strong foundation for all careers that deal with spatial data. All social sciences study relationships on some level: prices and quantities, political parties and campaign contributions, musical genres and cultural diversity, etc. Students considering careers in business, education, law, public health, urban development, environmental studies, or government work can benefit from minoring in Geography.

Upon completion of the Minor Program, students will:

  • Have a comprehensive general education background
  • Have a working knowledge of spatial principles and tools
  • Understand the societal and environmental issues that may impede the adoption of geographic information systems across various fields of application
  • Have the ability to communicate effectively and work collaboratively
  • Be able to become successful professionals and, if they desire, be able to pursue graduate study
  1. Curriculum Requirements can be fulfilled by other approved courses from accredited institutions of higher education. The courses listed in parentheses are recommended as the most efficient way to satisfy both Core Curriculum and Major Requirements at UT Dallas.
  2. Three semester credit hours are counted under Mathematics and/or Quantitative Reasoning core, and one semester credit hour is counted under Major Preparatory Courses.
  3. A Major requirement that also fulfills a Core Curriculum requirement. Semester credit hours are counted in Core Curriculum.
  4. Alternative courses, as approved by the department head, may be used to satisfy this requirement.
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