B.S. in Global Geodesign

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Prepare to be a world leader capable of addressing issues such as population growth, rapid urbanization, water and energy needs, biological conservation, climate change and other problems of global consequence in the ground-breaking USC B.S. in Global Geodesign.

In a program uniquely offered by the USC Spatial Sciences Institute Global Geodesign majors receive an unparalleled multi-cultural experience of learning and training with faculty, peers and industry leaders with expertise and backgrounds in geopolitically important areas of the world.

Global Geodesign majors build upon a USC liberal arts foundation in the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and take interdisciplinary courses in geographic information science (GIS), landscape architecture, architecture, and urban planning and development. In the curriculum, Global Geodesign majors will delve into perspectives and approaches that transcend the boundaries of the United States to promote global environmental sustainability.

In a distinctive aspect of this degree program, USC Global Geodesign students will participate in two summer geodesign studio courses in international locations in SSCI 350: International Geodesign. During the summer studios conducted in English, you will work on real-life and real-time consulting projects addressing complex societal challenges experienced in the built environment.

Ready to improve our communities, regions and world? With a B.S. in Global Geodesign degree awarded by the University of Southern California, you can.

Interested? Email MonicaPan, academic advisor, at

Meet Some of Our Global Geodesign Majors

Amber Birdwell
Hallie Faust
Paul Ruff
Saskia River
Leah Zeledon


The B.S. in Global Geodesign is a highly structured academic program that requires 135 units. It satisfies the requirements of USC general education, writing, and diversity and USC Dornsife majors.

Core Courses

MATH 114 Foundations of Statistics
ECON 203 Principles of Microeconomics
SSCI 381 Statistics for the Spatial Sciences

Architecture Sequence

ARCH 203 Visualizing and Experiencing the Built Environment
ARCH 303 Principles of Spatial Design I
ARCH 403 Principles of Spatial Design II

Planning Sequence

PPD 227 Urban Planning and Development
RED 417 History of Planning and Development
RED 425 Designing Livable Communities

Spatial Sciences Sequence

SSCI 301L Maps and Spatial Reasoning
SSCI 382L Geographic information Science: Spatial Analytics
SSCI 383L Geographic Information Science: Geospatial Modeling and Customization

Global Geodesign Sequence

SSCI 201 Principles of GeoDesign
SSCI 350 International Geodesign


SSCI 412 GeoDesign Practicum (4 units)


Global Geodesign students are candidates for graduate studies in environmental sciences, geodesign, geographic information science, landscape architecture, spatial planning, sustainability management and other related disciplines.

Geospatial and geodesign jobs currently are available and growing in every industry and discipline in consulting firms, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and private-sector companies. Read about the international conference GEOBIM, that brings together experts and practitioners in geodesign, construction management, geospatial technologies and more.


Graduates will have achieved:

  • a deep understanding of:
    • the myriad ways in which places can be constructed, interpreted, and experienced by different people;
    • the principles of design and how these can be used as a force for good in building healthy, livable, and sustainable communities;
    • how urban and regional planning provides a framework for promoting civic engagement and collective action;
    • how geographically referenced data can be gathered and organized to support a large number and variety of collaborative projects;
    • how geospatial data can be analyzed, modeled, and visualized to inform design and planning, and by doing so, support public participation and urban development; and
    • how form and function co-exist and evolve in urban and rural settings and how globalization connects near and far-away places and actions;
  • an understanding of the broader context in which the research issues of geodesign are positioned; and
  • a breadth of knowledge, as demonstrated by a general knowledge of the physical and natural world, a general knowledge of world histories, philosophical traditions, major religions, and cultural life worlds and an understanding of economic forces and political dynamics.

Graduates will have:

  • highly developed cognitive, analytic, and problem-solving skills;
  • the capacity for independent critical thought, rational inquiry, and self-directed learning;
  • the ability to work, independently and collaboratively, on research projects that require the integration of knowledge with skills in analysis, discovery, problem-solving, and communication;
  • mathematical skills;
  • familiarity with the general scientific method;
  • second-language competence;
  • the ability to engage with socio-cultural frameworks and tradition other than their own; and
  • the ability to plan work and to use time effectively.

Graduates will demonstrate interdisciplinary skills, i.e., they will:

  • be able to evaluate which disciplines are involved in the solution of complex issues;
  • be able to assess which research methods are most suitable in a particular situation;
  • be able to integrate the content and research methods from architecture, urban and regional planning, spatial sciences, and other disciplines relevant to a particular situation;
  • be able to defend a well-considered viewpoint covering the relevant disciplines; and
  • know which phenomena are being studied in different disciplines and which research methods and theories are used.

Graduates will possess the attitudes as well as skills for lifelong learning, i.e., they:

  • know how to obtain and evaluate information; and
  • are able to orient themselves on a new knowledge domain, formulate an overview, and determine their knowledge gaps.

Graduates will demonstrate excellent communication skills, i.e., they will be able to:

  • express themselves well verbally and at an academic level in writing;
  • present ideas in a clear and effective way; and
  • communicate knowledge to a public consisting of specialists or laypersons, making use of various modes of communication.

Graduates will demonstrate engagement at local, regional, and global levels, i.e., they will be able to:

  • use a knowledge of cultures in explaining current problems in society;
  • understand and appreciate cultural differences, not only at a distance, but in real life;
  • live with different value systems in daily life, and reflect on their own value systems; and
  • demonstrate an international awareness and openness to the world, based on understanding and appreciation of social and cultural diversity and respect for individual human rights and dignity.

Graduates will demonstrate:

  • profound respect for truth and intellectual integrity, and for the ethics of scholarship;
  • intellectual curiosity and creativity, including understanding of the philosophical and methodological bases of research activity;
  • an openness to new ideas and unconventional critiques of received wisdom; and
  • leadership skills, including a willingness to engage in constructive public discourse, to accept social and civic responsibilities and to speak out against prejudice, injustice and the abuse of power.