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Hands-On Coursework

The Importance of GIS Fieldwork

GIS technology touches all of our lives in one way or another. Real-world experience can help you better understand the science behind GIS/GPS hardware and software, learn about GIS research methodologies and get to know your classmates and faculty.

Fieldwork is an opportunity to get your hands on the technology you can expect to use on the job, test your knowledge in practical applications, further develop your critical thinking and teamwork skills, and build relationships that can last a lifetime. You’ll have the chance to see how what you learn in the classroom transfers into the field and how the practice of GIST theory plays out in real time.

Value to Employers

A 2013 study conducted by the Chronicle of Higher Education, in conjunction with American Public Media’s Marketplace, explored the importance of experience and education in various fields at different job levels. In the science and technology sector, 50% of employers say internship or field experience is more important than academic performance. (Chronicle of Higher Education, “The Employment Mismatch,” 2013).

Catalina Island Excursion Field Experience

At USC, our M.S. and Graduate Certificate in GIST programs will take students on a weeklong adventure to the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies — a half-acre research and educational campus on Catalina Island. From the moment you set sail on the Miss Christy, you’ll be immersed in what will be the highlight of your GIS studies.

Study GPS and its integration into GIS in an outdoor environment

Conduct your own research project under faculty direction

Build lasting personal and professional relationships with classmates and instructors

Conduct spatial data collection and analysis, and deliver a presentation of your work

Meet scientists from around the world who are engaged in investigative studies

Take advantage of down time to relax, hike, swim or explore the island

Upon returning from Catalina, we offer a visit to the USC main campus and book store, a tour of the Spatial Sciences Institute and a casual dinner with faculty, schedules permitting.