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M.S. Degree in Geodetic Science

The overall goal of the Graduate Degree Program in Geodetic Science is to provide students the opportunity to gain an advanced education in Geodetic Science.

Specific objectives of the program include participation in advanced classes and seminars and, for the M.S. thesis option, to conduct independent research on fundamental problems in Geodetic Science. The products of M.S. research projects are expected to be suitable for publication in the scientific literature.

The M.S. program in Geodetic Science traditionally has focused on the thesis-based M.S. degree; however, there is also an approved Non-Thesis Option (Plan B). The Non-Thesis Option is intended for geodetic scientists in government or industry who do not plan to continue for a Ph.D., and therefore do not require significant preparation in independent research, but whose career paths will benefit from additional educational and practical experience.

Both the M.S. Thesis and Non-Thesis options require a minimum of 30 semester credit hours. Of those 30 graduate semester credit hours, approximately 16-24 semester credit hours are earned by completing 4 to 6 courses from 4 core areas; these courses cover basic knowledge and analytic skills required of all M.S. students in the Geodetic Science program. The remaining credit hours are fulfilled with elective courses, including research courses, in one or more areas within Geodetic Science or in related disciplines. Three pre-approved tracks of core courses are available, in the areas of Geodesy, GIS, and Geodynamics. For the M.S. Non-Thesis Option, there is greater emphasis on completing graded courses than in the Thesis Option. However, the Non-Thesis M.S. student is required to write a technical report, as well as a comprehensive examination in accordance with Graduate School rules.

Expected Background

All Master's degree aspirants are expected to have a Bachelor's degree, and they normally will have a degree in the sciences or engineering. The basic entrance requirements to the program include courses in advanced calculus, linear algebra, and introductory physics, and some knowledge of and experience with scientific computer programming using a high-level language. Matlab, C++, Java, and FORTRAN are some of the most commonly used computer programming languages in geodetic science. Completion of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is recommended for applicants wishing to be considered for graduate research appointments; and it is required for applications to university academic fellowships or financial assistance thereof (such as tuition waivers).

Program of Study

In consultation with the student’s advisor, and with approval of the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC), a student will design a course of study appropriate to the field of specialization. If needed, in consultation with the advisor, and with approval of the GSC, students will design a course of study to remedy program deficiencies, to bring the student to the level required to do work in the field of specialization. Students should plan on completing all deficient course work with a grade of “B” or better within one year of entry into the program.

If necessary, the Chair of the Graduate Studies Committee will provide advice on coursework and help in the selection of a research area (Thesis Option) and an advisor. By the end of the first semester in the program every student is strongly encouraged to have identified a research area (Thesis Option) and to have obtained the consent of a faculty member to serve as an advisor. Until the student has an advisor, the chair of the GSC will act in that capacity.

Once a faculty advisor has been identified, the graduate student, in consultation with his/her advisor, will define the curriculum of study and a research topic of appropriate level and scope (Thesis Option). At least one additional faculty members will be identified to serve on the student's Advisory Committee and Master’s Examination Committee, subject to approval by the Geodetic Science GSC.