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Geoinformatics and Geospatial Analytics, Ph.D.

Students in Saint Louis University's geoinformatics and geospatial analytics doctoral program study the science and technology dealing with the acquisition, storage, processing production, presentation and dissemination of geoinformation using the theory and practical implications of geodesy within information science infrastructure.

The core of geoinformatics at SLU is geospatial analytics, a branch of data science that focuses on developing cutting-edge technologies supporting processes of acquiring, analyzing and visualizing geospatial Big Data. Advances in various location-aware technologies, (e.g., GPS, the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile sensors, remote sensing), and ever-increasing time-stamped, location-based data from sensors as diverse as satellites, drones and smartphones have created unprecedented demand and opportunities for code-savvy geospatial professionals with the ability to automate processing, visualizing and finding patterns in both structured and unstructured data.

Program Highlights

The geoinformatics and geospatial analytics Ph.D. program provides students with in-depth knowledge in geoinformatics and geospatial analytics required for solving today’s grand challenges, e.g., climate change, public health, refugees and migration, transportation safety, and food, water and human security from local to global scales. The graduates of the Ph.D. program will gain the multidisciplinary knowledge and quantitative skills necessary to handle big geospatial data and solve big problems.

Curriculum Overview

This 45-credit Ph.D. program focuses on educating next-generation talent with advanced and emerging technologies like machine learning/AI, satellite geodesy, image analysis, change detection, GIS modeling, photogrammetry and automation that are critical to developing research skills to address today’s grand societal challenges such as food security, healthcare delivery, national security and beyond with high impact research.

Admission Requirements

Successful applicants possess sufficient GPA and English proficiency scores (for international students) and research interests compatible with ongoing research in the department.

Geophysics Concentration

Prerequisites include structural geology, college physics, mechanics and mathematics through differential equations.

Environmental Geosciences Concentration

Prerequisites include an undergraduate degree in a STEM discipline with at least one semester each of calculus, physics, biology, chemistry and geoscience; a second semester of calculus or one semester of statistics.

Application Requirements

  • Application form 
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Transcript(s)
  • Professional goal statement
  • Résumé

GRE scores are optional.

Requirements for International Students

All admission policies and requirements for domestic students apply to international students. International students must also meet the following additional requirements:

  • Demonstrate English Language Proficiency
  • Financial documents are required to complete an application for admission and be reviewed for admission and merit scholarships. 
  • Proof of financial support that must include:
    • A letter of financial support from the person(s) or sponsoring agency funding the student's time at Saint Louis University
    • A letter from the sponsor's bank verifying that the funds are available and will be so for the duration of the student's study at the University
  • Academic records, in English translation, of students who have undertaken postsecondary studies outside the United States must include:
    • Courses taken and/or lectures attended
    • Practical laboratory work
    • The maximum and minimum grades attainable
    • The grades earned or the results of all end-of-term examinations
    • Any honors or degrees received.

WES and ECE transcripts are accepted.


Application and Assistantship Application Deadlines

Students typically begin the program in the fall semester. Students who want to be considered for an assistantship must submit their applications by Jan. 2. Late applications and applications for the spring semester will be considered if positions are available.

Review Process

Faculty committee members examine qualified applicants’ materials and make recommendations.


Tuition Cost Per Credit
Graduate Tuition $1,370

Additional charges may apply. Other resources are listed below:

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Information on Tuition and Fees

Miscellaneous Fees

Information on Summer Tuition

Scholarships, Assistantships and Financial Aid

For priority consideration for a graduate assistantship, apply by the program admission deadlines listed. Fellowships and assistantships provide a stipend and may include health insurance and a tuition scholarship for the duration of the award. 

Explore Scholarships and Financial Aid Options

The Geoinformatics and Geospatial Analytics Ph.D. is a 45-credit hour degree that includes a 21-credit core, 12 credits of electives, and 12 credits of dissertation research.

Core Requirements
GIS 5030Geospatial Data Management3
GIS 5040Introduction to Remote Sensing3
GIS 5050Digital Image Processing3
GIS 5061Photogrammetry3
GIS 5080Digital Cartography and Geovisualization3
GIS 5090Introduction to Programming for GIS and Remote Sensing3
GIS 5120Geospatial Analytics3
Elective Courses12
Students can choose among the following options:
GIS 5010
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
GIS 5091
Advanced Programming for GIS and Remote Sensing
GIS 5092
Machine Learning for GIS and Remote Sensing
GIS 5100
Microwave Remote Sensing: SAR Principles, Data Processing and Applications
GIS 5130
Human Geography
GIS 5140
Satellite Geodesy
CSCI 5750
Introduction to Machine Learning
CSCI 5830
Computer Vision
CSCI 5760
Deep Learning
SOC 5670
Spatial Demography – Applied Spatial Statistics
Dissertation Research12
Students take 12 hours total over multiple semesters
GIS 6990
Dissertation Research
Total Credits45

Continuation Standards

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 in all graduate/professional courses.

Roadmaps are recommended semester-by-semester plans of study for programs and assume full-time enrollment unless otherwise noted.  

Courses and milestones designated as critical (marked with !) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation. Transfer credit may change the roadmap.

This roadmap should not be used in the place of regular academic advising appointments. All students are encouraged to meet with their advisor/mentor each semester. Requirements, course availability and sequencing are subject to change.

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
GIS 5040 Introduction to Remote Sensing 3
GIS 5061 Photogrammetry 3
GIS 5090 Introduction to Programming for GIS and Remote Sensing 3
GIS 5030 Geospatial Data Management 3
GIS 5050 Digital Image Processing 3
GIS 5080 Digital Cartography and Geovisualization 3
Year Two
GIS 5120 Geospatial Analytics 3
GIS Elective 3
GIS Elective 3
GIS Elective 3
GIS Elective 3
Year Three
GIS 6990 Dissertation Research 3
GIS 6990 Dissertation Research 3
Year Four
GIS 6990 Dissertation Research 3
GIS 6990 Dissertation Research 3
 Total Credits45

For more information about any School of Science and Engineering graduate program, email