Meet some of our GeoDesign majors
A cutting-edge name for time-tested principles
GeoDesign brings together spatial science, architecture, landscape architecture, and urban and regional planning to address challenges, issues and opportunities presented by the built environment. By integrating analyses of place, space, and time, practitioners and researchers are equipped to approach environmental challenges and questions in multidisciplinary ways, and can view the world from multiple dimensions.
“Geodesign is a vision for using geographic knowledge to actively and thoughtfully design.”
–Jack Dangermond, President, Esri
Thanks to increasingly robust scientific and technological advances, the interdisciplinary world of geodesign continues to build upon the urban planning theories of Patrick Geddess, Ian McHarg, and Carl Steinitz as it rapidly evolves.
Many courses in the GeoDesign curriculum use a studio framework and iterative learning process, approaches fundamental to architecture and planning. From the spatial sciences, student gain the ability to assemble, organize, and visualize different kinds of data. Simply put, the sum of the GeoDesign major is greater than its parts.
- Civil Engineers
- GIS Specialists
- Heritage Conservationists
- Historical Preservationists
- Landscape Architects
- Landscape Ecologists
- Urban and Regional Planners
The GeoDesign major is structured to provide students with sufficient elective credits to explore minors or other programs at USC so they can broaden their education to better prepare themselves for the next stage of their lives.
- Develop the ability to manage one’s time, work independently, take initiative, and collaborate.
- Develop the ability to think critically, analyze, synthesize, and use information to solve problems.
- Acquire broad knowledge in the humanities, social sciences, mathematics, and physical sciences, and understand the relevance of these disciplines to geodesign at the intersection of the spatial sciences, architecture, and urban planning.
- Develop the ability to communicate ideas and articulate positions orally and in writing.
- Develop facility in the use of computer applications and the Internet.
Scientific and Design Skills
- Develop an understanding of the myriad ways in which places can be constructed, interpreted, and experienced by different people (i.e., migrants, people of color, the elderly, the poor, teenagers, toddlers, working adults, and more).
- Learn about the principles of design and how these can be used as a force for good in building healthy, livable and sustainable communities.
- Learn how urban and regional planning provides a framework for promoting civic engagement and collective action.
- Develop an understanding of how geographically referenced data can be gathered and organized to support a large number and variety of collaborative projects.
- Learn how geospatial data can be analyzed, modeled and visualized to inform design and planning and by doing so, support public participation and urban development.
- Learn how form and function co-exist and evolve in urban settings and how globalization connects near and far-away places and actions.
- Be able to place spatial and geographic knowledge into an ethical context, especially how spatial sciences and geodesign principles can contribute to the resolution of ethical, social, and environmental issues.
- Develop a sufficient depth of knowledge and abilities in preparation for entry-level employment in a wide variety of fields, or for graduate study in the spatial sciences or other related disciplines.
PRE-MAJOR COURSES (8 UNITS)
CORE COURSES (40 UNITS)
Application of design concepts, planning protocols and spatial analysis skills to a complex planning or design problem sponsored by a local public, private or not-for-profit client in a studio setting.
MAJOR ELECTIVES (24 UNITS)
The major electives provide students with opportunities to explore one or more facets of the built environment and a series of complementary analytical and visualization tools in more detail. A suite of courses that further the development of practical, theoretical, and field knowledge and skills, including computer graphics, drawing, policy analysis, public finance, and statistics. Choose additional electives from the two lists equal to six courses (24 units) in all. No more than two courses may be lower division (100 or 200 level). At least two courses must come from Group A and two courses from Group B.
GROUP A: BUILT ENVIRONMENT
GROUP B: DESIGN, ANALYSIS & COMPUTATION
All students will take four units of a capstone experience SSCI 412L during their senior year.
With a progressive degree path, B.S. in GeoDesign could lead to a:
- M.A. in Environmental Studies;
- Master of Planning;
- M.S. in Geological Sciences; and
- M.S. in Geographic Information Science and Technology (online).
A B.S. in Policy, Planning, and Development or a B.S. in Architectural Studies could lead to a M.S. in Geographic Information Science and Technology.
Ken Watson, academic advisor, Spatial Sciences Institute, University of Southern California, 3616 Trousdale Parkway, AHF B55, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0374, (213) 740-8298, or
Dr. Darren Ruddell, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Spatial Sciences Institute, University of Southern California, 3616 Trousdale Parkway, AHF B55, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0374, (213) 740-0521.
On campus for a tour? Stop by the Spatial Sciences Institute.
For general USC undergraduate admissions information, please contact the Admission and Financial Aid Contact Center at (213) 740-1111.