Human Security and Geospatial Intelligence Minor

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Jordan Chun
Madeline Rouse
Hailey Robertson
Robert Smith
Serphina Wang
Alanna Schenk
Dillon Bonde
Mia Poynor
Erin Barr
Christian Relleve
Megan Maasberg
Kevin Mercy
Melissa Pelowski
The USC Spatial Sciences Institute interdisciplinary minor in Human Security and Geospatial Intelligence aims to educate future leaders in location-based analytics to gather, interpret and implement actionable intelligence to promote human security. This minor is relevant to any undergraduate aspiring to work within the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. State Department, and related U.S. and international support agencies; humanitarian organizations; and global health entities.

Human Security and Geospatial Intelligence MinorThreats to human security stem from wide-ranging sources, which include natural disasters (e.g., earthquakes, hurricanes and floods) as well as human origins (e.g., terrorism, humanitarian crises and political violence). As the modern world becomes more interconnected, government agencies, scholars and global citizens need to understand where human security is stable and unstable throughout the world, and decision-makers need the knowledge and capacity to quickly assess and act to provide humanitarian aid during a crisis. This interdisciplinary minor serves to connect many collaborative and interrelated disciplines to provide a framework for students interested in learning how to develop and deliver analytical and spatial solutions.

The Human Security and Geospatial Intelligence minor especially complements majors in:

  • International Relations;
  • Political Science;
  • Environmental Studies;
  • Global Health;
  • Middle East Studies;
  • Central European Studies;
  • GeoDesign;
  • Policy, Planning, and Development; and
  • all students (regardless of major) actively enrolled in one of USC’s ROTC programs (Navy, Marine, Air Force or Army).

ROTC students have the additional benefit of choosing from a Military Science (MS), Aerospace Studies (AEST) or Naval Science (NSC) course sequence to complete their upper-division elective requirement.

What is Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT)?
GEOINT is actionable knowledge, a process, and a profession. It is the ability to describe, understand and interpret to anticipate the human impact of an event or action within a spatio-temporal environment. It is also the ability to identify, collect, store and manipulate data to create geospatial knowledge through critical thinking, geospatial reasoning, and analytical techniques. Finally, it is the ability to present knowledge to support decision-making.

Learn more about "Perspectives on Intelligence Collection."


US Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) Scholarship Program
US Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF) Career Center
• ASPRS Scholarship Program
National Geospatial-Intelligence (NGA) Summer Internship Program
American Geographical Society (AGS) Scholar-Internship Program
American Association of Geographers
Pat Tillman Foundation Scholarship Program


4 units of lower-division elective (choose one below):

Gateway to the majors and minors in Environmental Studies. Provides students with an overview of how government agencies and societal institutions address (or fail to address) the interrelated social and scientific aspects of environmental problems and policies.
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.
The changing character of contemporary international political issues from the Cold War to the future and U.S. foreign policy options for the future; exploration of competing perspectives. Not available for major credit.
Basic concepts of world affairs for non-majors. Development of competency to understand and critically evaluate global relations and international events, stressing empirical approaches. Not available for major credit.
Comprehensive introduction to contending theoretical and analytical approaches; development of critical, evaluative, cognitive, and analytical competencies regarding historical and contemporary issues.
Modern political ideologies; their assumptions, perceptions, and prescriptions regarding political stability and social injustice: anarchism, communism, socialism, liberalism, conservatism, and fascism.
Gateway to the major in political science. Comparative analysis of political institutions and processes in selected industrial, developing and socialist countries, in terms of contrasting ideologies, parties, elites, and economies.
Interaction between law and politics; overview of the American legal system; value conflicts and public policy questions which arise within it.
Overview of human rights controversies across the globe. Introduction to techniques of analysis for social issues, interdisciplinary research methods, and interpretation of complex political problems.
Theories and case studies of conflict and coexistence between cultures, civilizations and ethnic groups in the context of the countervailing force of Western socio-economic globalization.
A comparative analysis of multi-ethnic societies through case studies of inter-ethnic conflict and coexistence, conflict resolution, prevention of genocide and defense of human rights.
The role of formal reasoning, abstract representation and empirical analysis in building maps for sharing knowledge across the physical, life and social sciences and humanities.
The influence of sustainability science on public policy and vice versa in the context of social/ethical theories, analytical methods and solutions.
Introduction to the complex relationship between human development and natural hazards, which are increasingly causing damage and displacement to human populations throughout the world.
Develop the requisite knowledge and practical skills to source, analyze, and produce GIS and simulation-based projects with unmanned aerial systems-derived data.
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.

3 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.
Introduction to basic geospatial intelligence knowledge and related practical skills that assist in informing decision-making in a variety of human security settings.

Choice of:

The role and evolution of espionage and intelligence as tools of statecraft are examined. Open, covert, clandestine, counterintelligence programs and oversight processes are considered.  ornational security policy; political/social constraints, and military justice.
Explore causes of human security threats, challenges to state sovereignty, and actions to address failed states, conflicts and protect people through humanitarian intervention.

4 units of upper-division elective (choose one below):

Military professionalism and the context in which defense policy is formulated and implemented; national security policy, political/social constraints, and military justice.
Military professionalism and the context in which defense policy is formulated and implemented.
Key concepts in international security studies; historical evolution of international warfare and diplomacy; contemporary international security issues.
Examination of terrorism and responses to terrorism, including how societies understand and deal with terrorism; focus on ethical and normative issues.
Major strands of Islamic political thought from early Islam through the classical Islamic period to contemporary developments and transformations.
Develops student proficiency in planning and executing complex operations, functioning as a member of a staff, and mentoring subordinates. Students explore training management, methods of effective staff collaboration, and developmental counseling techniques.
Develops student proficiency in planning and executing complex operations, functioning as a member of a staff, and mentoring subordinates. Students explore training management, methods of effective staff collaboration, and developmental counseling techniques.
Principles of human relationships; principles of decisionmaking and management at the junior officer level; theory and techniques of leadership.
Introduction to primary duties of junior naval officers; counseling and interviewing techniques; review of basic administrative responsibilities at the division officer level.
Political development in the Middle East, emphasizing historical, cultural, and socioeconomic conditions affecting political structures and functions; modernization and countervailing social, economic, and religious forces.
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.