PhD Student Opportunities

Make sure to check back, as more opportunities will be posted throughout the year.

Remote Sensing and Global Croplands

Deadline: February 1, 2013

The Northern Arizona University and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) will sponsor a graduate student for PhD program in a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) funded project on global cropland mapping using remote sensing. The overarching goal of this project is to produce consistent and unbiased estimates of global agricultural cropland areas, crop types, crop watering methods, and cropping intensities using mature cropland mapping algorithms (CMAs) with following key objectives and topics: 

  1. Cropland extent\area
  2. Crop types (focus on 8 crops that occupy 70% of global croplands)
  3. Irrigated versus rainfed croplands
  4. Cropping intensities/phenology (single, double, triple, continuous cropping)
  5. Cropped area computation. In addition, GCAD four decades will produce continuous data streams at monthly frequency from 1982-2017 at 8 km from 1982 to 2000 based on AVHRR GIMMS data and at 250 m from 2001 to 2017 based on MODIS data.

The position pays full tuition, stipend for living expenses, health insurance etc.  Student will work 20 hrs per week on global croplands project and do dissertation research on the subject. The project will be co-guided by NAU faculty member Dr. Temuulen Sankey and by USGS Research Geographer Dr. Prasad S. Thenkabail. Applicants for the PhD program must have excellent understanding of remote sensing, agriculture, and land use. High level of remote sensing data processing skills with software skills in image processing and GIS is a must. 

The project offers excellent opportunity for students to work on a global project addressing food security in the 21st Century and access to USGS and NASA data and computing resources. The funding is for 4 years starting in spring of 2013. Potential applicants must contact Dr. Temuulen Sankey and CC Dr. Thenkabail.  Further details of the project can be found at: Read more about the PhD application process for Northern Arizona University.