USC Dornsife Spatial Sciences Institute Logo
USC Logo

GIST Online Curriculum

M.S. GIST | GIST Certificate | Geospatial Intelligence Certificate | Geospatial Leadership Certificate

Online Master’s in Geographic Information Science and Technology (28 units)

With our online GIS master’s degree, you can tailor your coursework to position yourself for long-term professional growth in increasingly diverse occupations and disciplines. You’ll also design and produce a thesis — an original, independent, professional work — on a compelling topic of your choice. Previous thesis topics have covered the full breadth of geographic information science and technology across a wide range of fields, including architecture, biogeography, business, epidemiology, geology, history, human geography, public health, natural hazards, planetary sciences and sustainability.

Required Core (16 units)

SSCI 581

Concepts for Spatial Thinking

The unique characteristics and importance of spatial information as they relate to the evolving science, technology and applications of geographic information systems. (4 units)

SSCI 582

Spatial Databases

Design, implementation and interrogation of relational, object-oriented and other types of geospatial databases. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

SSCI 587

Spatial Data Acquisition

Role of global positioning systems, maps, geocoding and other kinds of sensors as geospatial data sources. Includes field data acquisition excursion on Catalina Island. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

SSCI 594ab

Master’s Thesis

Credit on acceptance of thesis. Graded CR/NC. (2-2 units)

Track 1: Spatial Data Acquisition and Integration (12 units)

SSCI 585 Geospatial Technology Project Management
Concepts, principles and use of project management tools and the people issues encountered running GIS projects. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

SSCI 588 Remote Sensing for GIS
Principles of remote sensing, satellite systems and role of remote sensing data in GIS applications. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

SSCI 593 Geospatial Data Integration
Role of crowdsourcing, volunteered geographic information, spatial data infrastructures and web portals in helping with the collection, storage, curation and distribution of geospatial data assets. Recommended preparation: SSCI 587 (4 units)

Track 2: Spatial Data Analysis and Visualization (12 units)

SSCI 583 Spatial Analysis
Provides the knowledge and skills necessary to investigate the spatial patterns which result from social and physical processes operating at or near the Earth’s surface. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

SSCI 589 Cartography and Visualization
Principles of visual perception, spatial cognition and cartographic design and their contributions to the maps, animations, virtual reality and multimedia displays produced with modern GIS. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

SSCI 584 Spatial Modeling
The use of spatial models to describe social and environmental processes, patterns and systems at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Recommended preparation: SSCI 583 (4 units)

Track 3: Spatial Application Development (12 units)

SSCI 586 GIS Programming and Customization
Design, coding and implementation of GIS-based software and models using the Python programming language. Recommended preparation: SSCI 582 (4 units)

SSCI 591 Web GIS
Design and implementation of locally served and cloud-based geospatial web applications. Construction of web maps, mashups and volunteered geographic information interfaces. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

SSCI 592 Mobile GIS
Design, coding and implementation of mobile GIS applications using the Java and JavaScript object-oriented programming languages. Recommended preparation: SSCI 591 (4 units)

Track 4:  Spatial Thinking (choose three)

SSCI 583 Spatial Analysis
Provides the knowledge and skills necessary to investigate the spatial patterns which result from social and physical processes operating at or near the Earth’s surface. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

SSCI 584 Spatial Modeling
The use of spatial models to describe social and environmental processes, patterns and systems at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Recommended preparation: SSCI 583 (4 units)

SSCI 585 Geospatial Technology Project Management
Concepts, principles and use of project management tools and the people issues encountered running GIS projects. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

SSCI 586 GIS Programming and Customization
Design, coding and implementation of GIS-based software and models using the Python programming language. Recommended preparation: SSCI 582 (4 units)

SSCI 588 Remote Sensing for GIS
Principles of remote sensing, satellite systems and role of remote sensing data in GIS applications. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

SSCI 589 Cartography and Visualization
Principles of visual perception, spatial cognition and cartographic design and their contributions to the maps, animations, virtual reality and multimedia displays produced with modern GIS. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

SSCI 591 Web GIS
Design and implementation of locally served and cloud-based geospatial web applications. Construction of web maps, mashups and volunteered geographic information interfaces. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

SSCI 592 Mobile GIS
Design, coding and implementation of mobile GIS applications using the Java and JavaScript object-oriented programming languages. Recommended preparation: SSCI 591 (4 units)

SSCI 593 Geospatial Data Integration
Role of crowdsourcing, volunteered geographic information, spatial data infrastructures and web portals in helping with the collection, storage, curation and distribution of geospatial data assets. Recommended preparation: SSCI 587 (4 units)

Online Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science and Technology (16 units)

GIST provides the foundation for professional advancement utilizing fundamental geographic information science principles and the latest GIS, GPS and remote sensing platforms and applications.

Required Core (12 units)

SSCI 581

Concepts for Spatial Thinking

The unique characteristics and importance of spatial information as they relate to the evolving science, technology and applications of geographic information systems. (4 units)

SSCI 582

Spatial Databases

Design, implementation and interrogation of relational, object-oriented and other types of geospatial databases. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

SSCI 587

Spatial Data Acquisition

Role of global positioning systems, maps, geocoding and other kinds of sensors as geospatial data sources. Includes field data acquisition excursion on Catalina Island. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

Electives (choose one)

SSCI 583 Spatial Analysis
Provides the knowledge and skills necessary to investigate the spatial patterns which result from social and physical processes operating at or near the Earth’s surface. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

SSCI 584 Spatial Modeling
The use of spatial models to describe social and environmental processes, patterns and systems at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Recommended preparation: SSCI 583 (4 units)

SSCI 585 Geospatial Technology Project Management
Concepts, principles and use of project management tools and the people issues encountered running GIS projects. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

SSCI 586 GIS Programming and Customization
Design, coding and implementation of GIS-based software and models using the Python programming language. Recommended preparation: SSCI 582 (4 units)

SSCI 588 Remote Sensing for GIS
Principles of remote sensing, satellite systems and role of remote sensing data in GIS applications. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

SSCI 589 Cartography and Visualization
Principles of visual perception, spatial cognition and cartographic design and their contributions to the maps, animations, virtual reality and multimedia displays produced with modern GIS. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

SSCI 591 Web GIS
Design and implementation of locally served and cloud-based geospatial web applications. Construction of web maps, mashups and volunteered geographic information interfaces. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

SSCI 592 Mobile GIS
Design, coding and implementation of mobile GIS applications using the Java and JavaScript object-oriented programming languages. Recommended preparation: SSCI 591 (4 units)

SSCI 593 Geospatial Data Integration
Role of crowdsourcing, volunteered geographic information, spatial data infrastructures and web portals in helping with the collection, storage, curation and distribution of geospatial data assets. Recommended preparation: SSCI 587 (4 units)

Online Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Intelligence (16 units)

Accredited by the U.S. Geospatial Intelligence Foundation (USGIF), this program helps develop your readiness for careers in disaster management, human security, international relief and many other fields. USGIF accreditation signifies that the USC GEOINT graduate certificate meets the high academic standards to ensure it develops students with the necessary knowledge and skills to succeed in the professional GEOINT workforce.

Required Core (8 units)

SSCI 581

Concepts for Spatial Thinking

The unique characteristics and importance of spatial information as they relate to the evolving science, technology and applications of geographic information systems. (4 units)

SSCI 588

Remote Sensing for GIS

Principles of remote sensing, satellite systems and role of remote sensing data in GIS applications. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

Electives (choose one)

SSCI 583 Spatial Analysis
Provides the knowledge and skills necessary to investigate the spatial patterns which result from social and physical processes operating at or near the Earth’s surface. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

SSCI 584 Spatial Modeling
The use of spatial models to describe social and environmental processes, patterns and systems at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Recommended preparation: SSCI 583 (4 units)

SSCI 589 Cartography and Visualization
Principles of visual perception, spatial cognition and cartographic design and their contributions to the maps, animations, virtual reality and multimedia displays produced with modern GIS. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

Required Capstone Course

SSCI 579 Geospatial Intelligence Tradecraft
Typical geospatial intelligence tasks and their use in military operations, national and homeland security, international relief work and disaster management. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

Online Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Leadership (16 units)

This program is designed to expand the geospatial knowledge and leadership skills of GIS managers or those who aspire to leadership positions. The capstone course allows you to build a personal leadership plan to position yourself to make high-level and strategic decisions in the geospatial field.

Electives (choose three)

SSCI 583 Spatial Analysis
Provides the knowledge and skills necessary to investigate the spatial patterns which result from social and physical processes operating at or near the Earth’s surface. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

SSCI 584 Spatial Modeling
The use of spatial models to describe social and environmental processes, patterns and systems at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Recommended preparation: SSCI 583 (4 units)

SSCI 585 Geospatial Technology Project Management
Concepts, principles and use of project management tools and the people issues encountered running GIS projects. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

SSCI 586 GIS Programming and Customization
Design, coding and implementation of GIS-based software and models using the Python programming language. Recommended preparation: SSCI 582 (4 units)

SSCI 588 Remote Sensing for GIS
Principles of remote sensing, satellite systems and role of remote sensing data in GIS applications. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

SSCI 589 Cartography and Visualization
Principles of visual perception, spatial cognition and cartographic design and their contributions to the maps, animations, virtual reality and multimedia displays produced with modern GIS. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

SSCI 591 Web GIS
Design and implementation of locally served and cloud-based geospatial web applications. Construction of web maps, mashups and volunteered geographic information interfaces. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)

SSCI 592 Mobile GIS
Design, coding and implementation of mobile GIS applications using the Java and JavaScript object-oriented programming languages. Recommended preparation: SSCI 591 (4 units)

SSCI 593 Geospatial Data Integration
Role of crowdsourcing, volunteered geographic information, spatial data infrastructures and web portals in helping with the collection, storage, curation and distribution of geospatial data assets. Recommended preparation: SSCI 587 (4 units)

Required Capstone Course

SSCI 578 The Practice of Geospatial Leadership
The geospatial value proposition and the qualities and skills leaders will need to help their geospatial information management groups and organizations achieve success. Recommended preparation: SSCI 581 (4 units)