Apr 21, 2024  
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Sustainability and Environment Department

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Department Chairperson: Meghann Jarchow, Ph.D.

Graduate Program Director: Brennan Jordan, Ph.D. 

Department of Sustainability and Environment
Akeley-Lawrence Science Center, Room 201
414 East Clark Street
Vermillion, SD 57069
Phone: 605-677-6122




Mark Sweeney, Ph.D., Washington State University, Specialization: Geomorphology

Associate Professors:

Meghann Jarchow, Ph.D., Iowa State University. Specialization: Prairie Ecology, Ecosystem Services, Sustainability Pedagogy
Brennan Jordan, Ph.D., Oregon State University. Specialization: Geodiversity, Sustainable Tourism, Volcanology

Assistant Professor:

Ranjeet John, Ph.D., University of Toledo. Specializations: Landscape and Ecosystem Ecology, Biogeography, Ecological Modeling, Remote Sensing
Joseph Kantenbacher, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley. Specializations: Sustainable Behavior, Energy


Master of Science  
Accelerated Master of Science  
Doctor of Philosophy  


Geospatial Analysis   

Program Description

Sustainability is an emerging field that seeks to address many of society’s complex and interdisciplinary issues. The University of South Dakota is the second university in the United States to offer sustainability degrees at the Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. levels.  A focus of the graduate program in sustainability is on conducting research that is interdisciplinary and solutions oriented.  The research expertise of the faculty in the Sustainability and Environment Department and other faculty affiliated with the graduate program in sustainability span the natural sciences, social sciences, humanities.  For information about the department, the faculty, and graduate degrees, please consult www.usd.edu/arts-and-sciences/sustainability/graduate.

The Geospatial Analysis certificate will offer an additional credential to students who are looking to work in a wide range of fields including environmental sciences, community planning, and archeology. Geospatial analysis is the collection, analysis and visualization of spatial data. Doing geospatial analysis requires the ability to use software including geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing programs and may require the ability to use equipment and hardware that integrate with the software including sensors and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). 


  1. Completed Graduate Application form found at: https://www.usd.edu/graduate-school/apply-now and a non-refundable application fee of $35.
  2. Official transcripts verifying receipt of an undergraduate degree and previous graduate credit (in English or with translation) must accompany an application. Official transcripts of all academic work at the undergraduate and graduate levels are required for all applicants. The USD Graduate School and/or academic units retain the right to require credential evaluations from organizations, such as an Educational Credential Evaluators/World Education Services (ECE/WES), for a student if such an evaluation is deemed necessary.
  3. Baccalaureate degree or an equivalent degree from an institution with full regional accreditation for that degree. A minimum undergraduate cumulative GPA of 2.7 on conferred degree and/or graduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better, based on a 4.0 scale, on all graduate coursework is required for full admission.
  4. Applicants with degrees from countries other than the United States who have obtained an undergraduate or graduate degree from a regionally accredited American college or university or from an accredited institution in the following English-speaking countries: United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Canada (Excluding Quebec), Australia, and New Zealand are not required to submit an approved English proficiency exam score. For all other applicants, a minimum score of 79 on the Internet-Based TOEFL (iBT) or 550 on the Paper-Based TOEFL (PBT), a minimum IELTS score of 6.0, or a minimum PTE score of 53 is required for graduate admission. 
  5. Applicants are required to submit a statement of purpose.

Additional Program Admission Requirements:

  1. The GRE General test is required for those seeking the M.S. or Ph.D. GRE scores are not required for the following:
    1. Current USD students pursuing at least a bachelor’s degree in a related area and those who have graduated from USD with at least a bachelor’s degree within the last 5 years OR
    2. Applicants with an earned master’s or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the United States.
      *GRE General Test at Home will be accepted for spring 2021 and fall 2021 applications.
  2. Three (3) professional letters of recommendation are required for the M.S. and Ph.D. programs and one (1) letter of recommendation is required for the certificate.  

Subject to faculty approval, those who do not meet all of the criteria above may be admitted on a provisional basis.

In order to be admitted Ph.D. applicants must have communicated with a prospective advisor to assure faculty research compatibility and capacity. 

Application Deadline

  • M.S. and Ph.D.

    • Fall start

      • Priority Deadline: February 1

      • Final Deadline: Two weeks before the start of the semester

    • Spring start

      • Two weeks before the start of the semester

  • Certificate

    • Fall, Spring and Summer starts

      • Two weeks before the start of the semester


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