Spatial Studies Minor

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The USC Dornsife interdisciplinary minor in Spatial Studies can leverage the impact you have with any major of your choice.  With this minor, you can use spatial thinking, analysis, modeling, and mapping skills to interpret and present information, especially complex data, in any discipline and career path.  Link spatial competency with majors in architecture, business, engineering, health, the humanities, journalism, the sciences, public policy, and the social sciences to stand out in the marketplace.

The Spatial Studies minor requires a minimum of 20 units, consisting of one lower division elective, three required courses, and an upper division elective.

LOWER DIVISION ELECTIVES (4 UNITS)

Los Angeles as a metaphor for the American Dream, exploring the city’s history and potential futures, including economic opportunity, social justice, spatial organization, and environmental sustainability.
Major culture types, nomadic hunters and herders, peasant and tribal societies, sophisticated kingdoms; social, political, economic, and religious institutions.
Archaeology as the means of investigating our shared human past, from the origins of humanity to the foundations of current civilization.
Visual communication techniques applicable to the design of the built environment; drawing, photography, modeling.
Introduction to the ways architecture represents aspirations of culture, satisfies practical and spiritual needs, shapes the social and urban environment, and helps preserve the planet.
The architect’s sketchbook as a portable laboratory for perceiving and documenting space introduces the study of the built environment. On-site sessions develop drawing, observation, and visualization skills.
An examination of the physical and biological laws that influence agriculture, pollution, population dynamics (including humans), climate, biodiversity and ecosystem structure and function.
Methods and techniques employed in modern archaeological research, including the tools and principles of allied scientific fields and the impact of analytical and technological advances.
Impact of civilization on planet earth, and impact of earth’s natural evolution on society: earthquakes, volcanism, landslides, floods, global warming, acid rain, groundwater depletion and pollution; mineral and fossil fuel depletion, formation of the ozone hole.
Climate systems from the beginning of earth history to the present; tools and techniques used to reconstruct prehistoric climate records; effects of climate variations on development of life forms on earth.
A thematic approach to California history from precontact to present; focus on peoples, environment, economic, social, and cultural development, politics, and rise to global influence.
The urban context for planning and policy decisions. Socioeconomic, physical, and spatial structure of cities: and the underlying demographic, economic, and social processes that drive their ongoing transformation.
Examination of the challenges of environmental problem-solving at the personal, local, national and global scales, focused on the issue of climate change.
Basic concepts of sociology with special reference to group life, social institutions, and social processes.
An exploration of earth’s water, ranging from water properties, chemistry, and pollution, to groundwater dynamics, watershed processes, and oceanic-atmospheric circulation. Implications for past and future societies. Lecture and laboratory.

REQUIRED COURSES (12 UNITS)

Role of maps and spatial reasoning in the production and use of geographic information for representing and analyzing human and environmental activities and events.
The various ways in which geography can be used to acquire, represent, organize, analyze, model and visualize information. Laboratories are organized around ArcGIS software suite. Recommended preparation: SSCI 301L.
Application of GIS concepts and skills to a local opportunity or problem in a studio setting. May involve site visits, community contact, and presentations. Prerequisite: SSCI 382L.

UPPER DIVISION ELECTIVES (4 UNITS)

Training of archaeology students in the use of GIS through the understanding of basic principles and theoretical restrictions of geospatial sciences.
Critical observation of the architecture of public buildings and places and the importance of design in promoting a better contemporary public life.
Field exploration of physical and cultural aspects of different regions, with emphasis on rural California. Field methods, especially mapping and interviewing.
Emphasis on photographic storytelling in print, video and Web-based media; understanding of visual thinking and imagery techniques.
Introduction to graphic design, photodocumentation, and geographic information systems as employed in planning, policy, and development. Visual explanations. Computer and by-hand applications.
Basic GIS concepts, ArcView and other GIS software, planning applications and databases, basic cartography; students selct, research and prepare a planning GIS analysis project.
Sociological measurement, univariate description, elementary correlation, introduction to statistical inference.
Students examine images of urban America and use the camera to produce visual representation in their analysis of social relations.
Intensive experience in local public agency, private firm, or nonprofit agency engaged in applied geospatial analysis, modeling and mapping work. Graded CR/NC.

 

Advisement

Interested in how a Spatial Studies minor can enhance your graduate school and career options? Talk with Dr. Darren Ruddell, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Spatial Sciences Institute. E-mail him or call him at (213) 740-0521. Follow him on Twitter at SSI_Prof.