South Dakota State University and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Earn USGIF Collegiate Accreditation

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USGIF is pleased to announce two new collegiate GEOINT program accreditations: South Dakota State University and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Herndon, Va (May 29, 2024) The United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) is pleased to announce the accreditation of two new collegiate programs. Accreditation for the undergraduate certificate in Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) has been granted to South Dakota State University (SDSU) in Brookings, South Dakota. Additionally, the graduate certificate and master’s degree programs in CyberGIS and Geospatial Data Science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in the twin cities of Urbana and Champaign, Illinois, have earned USGIF accreditation.

“The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and South Dakota State University contribute regional diversity and focus areas within GEOINT studies that add to the breadth of expertise and perspectives within USGIF’s suite of accredited programs,” said USGIF CEO Ronda Schrenk. “USGIF is looking forward to partnering with both schools as we collectively contribute to the future of the GEOINT community.”

SDSU’s undergraduate certificate program in GEOINT is a minor housed within the Department of Geography and Geospatial Sciences. It is available not only to students studying geography, but also to those studying many other disciplines including natural resource management, precision agriculture, political science, history, criminology, and more. The 18-credit certificate program combines courses focused on GIS and remote sensing, uncrewed aircraft systems, as well as “analytical electives” focused on international relations and regional geography.

“We are pleased to have successfully completed the USGIF’s rigorous accreditation process,” said Dr. Bob Watrel, Department Head and Associate Professor of Geography at SDSU. “Students completing the GEOINT certificate acquire geospatial skills and opportunities for meaningful careers in the government or private sectors to support national security.”

UIUC’s graduate certificate and master’s degree in CyberGIS and Geospatial Data Science, within the Department of Geography and Geographic Information Science, are at the forefront of emerging interdisciplinary fields within the GEOINT tradecraft. The programs are dedicated to training students to address large-scale problems through three knowledge areas: geospatial sciences and technologies, mathematical and statistical sciences, and cyberinfrastructure and computational sciences. The programs have access to world class high-performance and data-intensive computing resources.

“We are thrilled that our CyberGIS and Geospatial Data Science program meets rigorous requirements for USGIF accreditation,” said Dr. Raechel Portelli, Teaching Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Geographic Information Science at UIUC. “This accreditation reflects our commitment to equipping students for successful careers that seamlessly integrate CyberGIS and Geospatial Intelligence.”

GEOINT programs from South Dakota State University and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign were evaluated by external reviewers, with applications that included curriculum matching with the GEOINT Essential Body of Knowledge (EBK), which provides a blueprint for institutions to follow to ensure that students are well-equipped for the evolving GEOINT field. USGIF recently published the EBK 3.0. SDSU and UIUC join 21 other colleges and universities that host USGIF-accredited GEOINT programs.

To learn more about USGIF’s Collegiate Accreditation program, visit https://usgif.org/education/.

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