USC Dornsife Spatial Sciences Institute

Curriculum

The curriculum is designed to blend conceptual knowledge with hands-on experience using modern GIS software and techniques. The majority of coursework can be completed asynchronously – there are no lectures for the USC GIS graduate programs. Core theoretical concepts are provided via course notes and assigned readings. Written assignments give students the opportunity to analyze and apply the concepts and theory learned from readings. Practical exercises will mainly use ArcGIS Pro, which students will gain access to via virtual desktops and servers.

The coursework for both master’s programs is designed to be completed within 20 months, and each of our GIS certificates can be completed in as little as eight months.

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

Few other GIS master’s programs in the country offer the same balance of broadly applicable knowledge with the opportunity to gain the technical skills to elevate a GIS career. With our online GIST master’s degree, you can tailor your coursework through an extensive selection of electives, and you’ll also have opportunities to develop your own GIS projects on real-world issues that you care about.

Learning Objectives

Graduates of the program will be able to:

  • Design and implement well-formed database models using appropriate design techniques and relational database software.
  • Design and implement strategies for capturing or sourcing geospatial data and accompanying metadata for one or more GIS projects.
  • Conduct work tasks in such a way that they achieve at least three of the following:
    • Explain complicated geographic patterns and relationships using the theoretical concepts that form the basis of both commonplace and advanced methods of spatial analysis.
    • Generate geographical information by processing digital remotely sensed data and critically evaluating its use for special one-of-a-kind applications.
    • Design and develop cartographic and other kinds of visualizations for a multimedia, Internet-enabled world.
    • Program small-scale, one-of-a-kind GIS-based applications using the Python and/or Java programming languages.
    • Identify and describe the role of people and technology in organizing, planning, monitoring, and controlling GIS projects.
  • Critically evaluate the potential impact of data quality on spatial analysis and decision-making outcomes.
  • Plan, design, and execute a series of advanced science and/or policy relevant GIS-based projects.

Depending on the selection of track or electives, graduates will also gain competency in core skills relevant to more specific areas of interest. For example, students of the GIS application development track will also be able to program one-of-a-kind GIS applications using Python and/or Java.


Track 1: Geospatial Information Management

The volume and variety of geospatial data that can be used to describe objects, events, and phenomena that have a location on the surface of the Earth has grown exponentially over the past two decades. This track equips students with the skills to acquire, manage, and share all forms of geospatial data (GPS tracking, photography, satellite imagery, sensor networks, and social media messages) and the accompanying metadata using a variety of proprietary and open source database management systems and tools.

SEMESTER 1

SSCI 581: Concepts for Spatial Thinking (4 units)

This course examines the unique characteristics and importance of spatial information as they relate to the evolving science, technology and applications of geographic information systems. It provides the foundation for understanding and applying other concepts and technologies throughout the spatial sciences programs.

SSCI 587: Spatial Data Acquisition (4 units)

This course examines the role of global positioning systems, maps, geocoding and other kinds of sensors as geospatial data sources. Students will also participate in a field data acquisition excursion on Catalina Island, in which they will have opportunities to meet their peers as well as network with leading GIS scientists and other experts.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SEMESTER 2

SSCI 582: Spatial Databases (4 units)

Students will learn how to design and implement geospatial databases. The course also provides hands-on experience with relational, object-oriented and other types of geospatial databases so that students gain practical knowledge of the structure and management of geospatial data.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SSCI 586: Spatial Programming and Customization (4 units)

This course provides the knowledge and skills for developing customized GIS applications. Students will gain hands-on experience designing, coding and implementing GIS-based software. The course focuses on leveraging programming languages commonly used in GIS software, including Python.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 582

SEMESTER 3

SSCI 588: Remote Sensing for GIS (4 units)

This course examines the principles and technology of remote sensing and role of remote sensing data in GIS applications. Students will learn to implement and evaluate digital image processing methodologies. This course also explores common uses of remote sensing data in human security and environmental sciences.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

Choice of Elective

SSCI 575: Spatial Data Science (4 units)

Principles, analytical methods, and technologies, including spatial algorithms, to extract insights from spatial data and employ predictive modeling.

SSCI 576: Remote Sensing Applications and Emerging Technologies (4 units)

This course explores how remote sensing systems provide geospatial information that is relevant, accurate, timely, accessible, cost-effective and available in an appropriate format. Students learn the principles of remote sensing and the technical characteristics and constraints of Earth observation missions. They generate geographical information by processing digital remotely sensed data and critically evaluate its use for human security and environmental applications.

SSCI 591: Web and Mobile GIS (4 units)

This course provides essential and practical knowledge developing web-hosted GIS applications. Students will gain experience using a variety of tools commonly used for GIS application development, including Google Maps, ArcGIS and several open source technologies.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SEMESTER 4

SSCI 594a: Master’s Thesis (2 units)

Credit on acceptance of thesis. Graded CR/NC.

SEMESTER 5

SSCI 594b: Master’s Thesis (2 units)

Credit on acceptance of thesis. Graded CR/NC.


Track 2: Geospatial Programming and Software Development

The explosive growth in the use of programming languages and applications to automate geospatial tasks and produce optimized views of geospatial information will transform the ways in which geospatial professionals and others interact with geospatial information in future years. This track equips students with the skills required to use programming languages and applications – such as JavaScript, Jupyter Notebooks, Python, and APIs – to build custom geospatial tools and products across a large variety of disciplines and application domains.

SEMESTER 1

SSCI 581: Concepts for Spatial Thinking (4 units)

This course examines the unique characteristics and importance of spatial information as they relate to the evolving science, technology and applications of geographic information systems. It provides the foundation for understanding and applying other concepts and technologies throughout the spatial sciences programs.

SSCI 587: Spatial Data Acquisition (4 units)

This course examines the role of global positioning systems, maps, geocoding and other kinds of sensors as geospatial data sources. Students will also participate in a field data acquisition excursion on Catalina Island, in which they will have opportunities to meet their peers as well as network with leading GIS scientists and other experts.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SEMESTER 2

SSCI 582: Spatial Databases (4 units)

Students will learn how to design and implement geospatial databases. The course also provides hands-on experience with relational, object-oriented and other types of geospatial databases so that students gain practical knowledge of the structure and management of geospatial data.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SSCI 586: Spatial Programming and Customization (4 units)

This course provides the knowledge and skills for developing customized GIS applications. Students will gain hands-on experience designing, coding and implementing GIS-based software. The course focuses on leveraging programming languages commonly used in GIS software, including Python.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 582

SEMESTER 3

SSCI 591: Web and Mobile GIS (4 units)

This course provides essential and practical knowledge developing web-hosted GIS applications. Students will gain experience using a variety of tools commonly used for GIS application development, including Google Maps, ArcGIS and several open source technologies.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

Choice of Elective

SSCI 576: Remote Sensing Applications and Emerging Technologies (4 units)

This course explores how remote sensing systems provide geospatial information that is relevant, accurate, timely, accessible, cost-effective and available in an appropriate format. Students learn the principles of remote sensing and the technical characteristics and constraints of Earth observation missions. They generate geographical information by processing digital remotely sensed data and critically evaluate its use for human security and environmental applications.

SSCI 588: Remote Sensing for GIS (4 units)

This course examines the principles and technology of remote sensing and role of remote sensing data in GIS applications. Students will learn to implement and evaluate digital image processing methodologies. This course also explores common uses of remote sensing data in human security and environmental sciences.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SSCI 589: Cartography and Visualization (4 units)

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.

SEMESTER 4

SSCI 594a: Master’s Thesis (2 units)

Credit on acceptance of thesis. Graded CR/NC.

SEMESTER 5

SSCI 594b: Master’s Thesis (2 units)

Credit on acceptance of thesis. Graded CR/NC.


Track 3: Geospatial Analytics

Geographic information systems have been used to build maps, graphs, and statistics that shed light on the complex relationships which characterize coupled human-environment systems for more than 50 years and the need for this geospatial intelligence continues to grow as the global population grows and our world becomes more connected. This track equips students with the skills required to choose and implement the spatial analysis and modeling approaches that can be used to turn spatiotemporal data into actionable information for clarifying opportunities and solving problems across a large number and variety of disciplines and application domains.

SEMESTER 1

SSCI 581: Concepts for Spatial Thinking (4 units)

This course examines the unique characteristics and importance of spatial information as they relate to the evolving science, technology and applications of geographic information systems. It provides the foundation for understanding and applying other concepts and technologies throughout the spatial sciences programs.

SSCI 587: Spatial Data Acquisition (4 units)

This course examines the role of global positioning systems, maps, geocoding and other kinds of sensors as geospatial data sources. Students will also participate in a field data acquisition excursion on Catalina Island, in which they will have opportunities to meet their peers as well as network with leading GIS scientists and other experts.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SEMESTER 2

SSCI 583: Spatial Analysis and Modeling (4 units)

This course 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. The focus is on providing an understanding of the theories and context of spatial analysis, preparing students to identify the best analytical tool for a given problem and produce valid, defensible spatial analysis output.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SSCI 589: Cartography and Visualization (4 units)

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.

SEMESTER 3

SSCI 574: Spatial Econometrics (4 units)

Theoretical foundations, methods, techniques, and software systems for spatial econometrics, including the effects of spatial dependence and spatial heterogeneity.

Choice of Elective

SSCI 575: Spatial Data Science (4 units)

Principles, analytical methods, and technologies, including spatial algorithms, to extract insights from spatial data and employ predictive modeling.

SSCI 586: Spatial Programming and Customization (4 units)

This course provides the knowledge and skills for developing customized GIS applications. Students will gain hands-on experience designing, coding and implementing GIS-based software. The course focuses on leveraging programming languages commonly used in GIS software, including Python.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 582

SSCI 588: Remote Sensing for GIS (4 units)

This course examines the principles and technology of remote sensing and role of remote sensing data in GIS applications. Students will learn to implement and evaluate digital image processing methodologies. This course also explores common uses of remote sensing data in human security and environmental sciences.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SEMESTER 4

SSCI 594a: Master’s Thesis (2 units)

Credit on acceptance of thesis. Graded CR/NC.

SEMESTER 5

SSCI 594b: Master’s Thesis (2 units)

Credit on acceptance of thesis. Graded CR/NC.

Online Master’s in Human Security and Geospatial Intelligence (34 units)

The USC online Master of Science in Human Security and Geospatial Intelligence degree provides students with an understanding of where human security has both stability and instability. This degree connects collaborative and interrelated sciences and disciplines and provides a set of viable tools for graduate-level planning and leadership on future human security and geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) work within the U.S. DoD, U.S. State Department, related U.S. support/non-governmental agencies and within comparable international organizations.

Learning Objectives

Graduates of the program will be able to:

  • Lead and manage new initiatives within the rapidly evolving GEOINT landscape
  • Apply innovation to influence the successful generation, adoption and deployment of new ideas
  • Evaluate and solve for how disruptive technologies might affect GIS organizations in the future
  • Design and implement strategies for sourcing and managing spatial data for use in geospatial initiatives and applications
  • Leverage GIS and related software to develop innovative insights using spatial data
  • Master the theory and protocols of radar interpretation, infrared and multispectral imagery, full motion video, legacy maps, digital geospatial datasets and social media feeds
  • Shape the results of geospatial information management groups and organizations.

Sample Course Plan (subject to course scheduling)

SEMESTER 1

SSCI 581: Concepts for Spatial Thinking (4 units)

This course examines the unique characteristics and importance of spatial information as they relate to the evolving science, technology and applications of geographic information systems. It provides the foundation for understanding and applying other concepts and technologies throughout the spatial sciences programs.

SSCI 587: Spatial Data Acquisition (4 units)

This course examines the role of global positioning systems, maps, geocoding and other kinds of sensors as geospatial data sources. Students will also participate in a field data acquisition excursion on Catalina Island, in which they will have opportunities to meet their peers as well as network with leading GIS scientists and other experts.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SEMESTER 2

SSCI 577: Human Security and Disaster Management (4 units)

The relationship between human security (population growth, urbanization, conflict) and disasters, both man-made and natural, where complex emergencies are impactful to human populations.

SSCI 578: The Practice of Geospatial Leadership (4 units)

This course closely examines the way GIS provides value within an organizational context. Students will also learn the qualities and skills leaders need to help their teams form new ideas and how to drive their organizations toward success.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SEMESTER 3

SSCI 579: Geospatial Intelligence Tradecraft (4 units)

This course explores the practical application of geospatial intelligence, highlighting specific examples of its use in military operations, national security, international relief work and disaster management. Students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the many and varied types of threats that impact human security and how geospatial technologies and methodologies can be used in each type of scenario.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SSCI 585: Geospatial Technology Project Management (4 units)

This course examines the concepts, principles and use of project management tools, with a focus on the common people-centric issues encountered running GIS projects. Topics covered include the geospatial project lifecycle, budgets, risk management, team building and ongoing trends that may influence geospatial project management (e.g. increasing usage of open source software).

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SEMESTER 4

SSCI 588: Remote Sensing for GIS (4 units)

This course examines the principles and technology of remote sensing and role of remote sensing data in GIS applications. Students will learn to implement and evaluate digital image processing methodologies. This course also explores common uses of remote sensing data in human security and environmental sciences.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

Choice of Elective

SSCI 576: Remote Sensing Applications and Emerging Technologies (4 units)

This course explores how remote sensing systems provide geospatial information that is relevant, accurate, timely, accessible, cost-effective and available in an appropriate format. Students learn the principles of remote sensing and the technical characteristics and constraints of Earth observation missions. They generate geographical information by processing digital remotely sensed data and critically evaluate its use for human security and environmental applications.

SSCI 586: Spatial Programming and Customization (4 units)

This course provides the knowledge and skills for developing customized GIS applications. Students will gain hands-on experience designing, coding and implementing GIS-based software. The course focuses on leveraging programming languages commonly used in GIS software, including Python.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 582

SSCI 589: Cartography and Visualization (4 units)

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.

SEMESTER 5

Capstone Course (2 units)

SSCI 595: Applied Geospatial Intelligence Problem Solving (2 units)

This course provides a hands-on opportunity in which students apply the knowledge and GEOINT skills to make an informed human security recommendation. In the capstone course, students will work with one of USC's GEOINT partners to solve a real-world GEOINT challenge.

Pre-requisites:
SSCI 577; SSCI 588; SSCI 579; SSCI 581;
SSCI 585 (can also be taken as a co-requisite)

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

The online Graduate Certificate in GIST provides the foundational knowledge for professional advancement utilizing fundamental geographic information science principles and the latest GIS, GPS and remote sensing platforms and applications.

Learning Objectives

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  • Design and implement well-formed database models using appropriate design techniques and relational database software
  • Design and implement strategies for capturing or sourcing geospatial data and accompanying metadata for one or more GIS projects
  • Conduct work tasks in such a way that they achieve at least one of the following:
    • Explain complicated geographic patterns and relationships using the theoretical concepts that form the basis of both commonplace and advanced methods of spatial analysis.
    • Generate geographical information by processing digital remotely sensed data and critically evaluating its use for special one-of-a-kind applications.
    • Design and develop cartographic and other kinds of visualizations for a multimedia, Internet-enabled world.
    • Program small-scale, one-of-a-kind GIS-based applications using the Python and/or Java programming languages.
    • Identify and describe the role of people and technology in organizing, planning, monitoring, and controlling GIS projects.
  • Critically evaluate the potential impact of data quality on spatial analysis and decision-making outcomes

Students will also gain skills in at least one other area, depending on choice of elective. Electives cover topics ranging from GIS software development to spatial modeling.

SEMESTER 1

SSCI 581: Concepts for Spatial Thinking (4 units)

This course examines the unique characteristics and importance of spatial information as they relate to the evolving science, technology and applications of geographic information systems. It provides the foundation for understanding and applying other concepts and technologies throughout the spatial sciences programs.

SSCI 587: Spatial Data Acquisition (4 units)

This course examines the role of global positioning systems, maps, geocoding and other kinds of sensors as geospatial data sources. Students will also participate in a field data acquisition excursion on Catalina Island, in which they will have opportunities to meet their peers as well as network with leading GIS scientists and other experts.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SEMESTER 2

Elective Courses (8 units) — Choose Two:

SSCI 574: Spatial Econometrics (4 units)

Theoretical foundations, methods, techniques, and software systems for spatial econometrics, including the effects of spatial dependence and spatial heterogeneity.

SSCI 582: Spatial Databases (4 units)

Students will learn how to design and implement geospatial databases. The course also provides hands-on experience with relational, object-oriented and other types of geospatial databases so that students gain practical knowledge of the structure and management of geospatial data.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SSCI 583: Spatial Analysis and Modeling (4 units)

This course 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. The focus is on providing an understanding of the theories and context of spatial analysis, preparing students to identify the best analytical tool for a given problem and produce valid, defensible spatial analysis output.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SSCI 585: Geospatial Technology Project Management (4 units)

This course examines the concepts, principles and use of project management tools, with a focus on the common people-centric issues encountered running GIS projects. Topics covered include the geospatial project lifecycle, budgets, risk management, team building and ongoing trends that may influence geospatial project management (e.g. increasing usage of open source software).

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SSCI 586: Spatial Programming and Customization (4 units)

This course provides the knowledge and skills for developing customized GIS applications. Students will gain hands-on experience designing, coding and implementing GIS-based software. The course focuses on leveraging programming languages commonly used in GIS software, including Python.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 582

SSCI 588: Remote Sensing for GIS (4 units)

This course examines the principles and technology of remote sensing and role of remote sensing data in GIS applications. Students will learn to implement and evaluate digital image processing methodologies. This course also explores common uses of remote sensing data in human security and environmental sciences.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SSCI 589: Cartography and Visualization (4 units)

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.

SSCI 591: Web and Mobile GIS (4 units)

This course provides essential and practical knowledge developing web-hosted GIS applications. Students will gain experience using a variety of tools commonly used for GIS application development, including Google Maps, ArcGIS and several open source technologies.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

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.

Learning Objectives

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  • Develop further critical thinking, collaboration and communication skills
  • Understand surveillance, targeting and navigation needs
  • Design and implement strategies for capturing or sourcing geospatial data and any accompanying metadata
  • Critically evaluate potential impacts of data quality on spatial analysis and decision making
  • Master the theory and protocols of radar interpretation, infrared and multispectral imagery, full motion video, legacy maps, digital geospatial datasets and social media feeds
  • Prepare and present intelligence reports tailored to a variety of human security applications

Sample Course Plan (subject to course scheduling)

SEMESTER 1

SSCI 581: Concepts for Spatial Thinking (4 units)

This course examines the unique characteristics and importance of spatial information as they relate to the evolving science, technology and applications of geographic information systems. It provides the foundation for understanding and applying other concepts and technologies throughout the spatial sciences programs.

SSCI 577: Human Security and Disaster Management (4 units)

The relationship between human security (population growth, urbanization, conflict) and disasters, both man-made and natural, where complex emergencies are impactful to human populations.

SEMESTER 2

Choice of Elective

SSCI 576: Remote Sensing Applications and Emerging Technologies (4 units)

This course explores how remote sensing systems provide geospatial information that is relevant, accurate, timely, accessible, cost-effective and available in an appropriate format. Students learn the principles of remote sensing and the technical characteristics and constraints of Earth observation missions. They generate geographical information by processing digital remotely sensed data and critically evaluate its use for human security and environmental applications.

SSCI 585: Geospatial Technology Project Management (4 units)

This course examines the concepts, principles and use of project management tools, with a focus on the common people-centric issues encountered running GIS projects. Topics covered include the geospatial project lifecycle, budgets, risk management, team building and ongoing trends that may influence geospatial project management (e.g. increasing usage of open source software).

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SSCI 588: Remote Sensing for GIS (4 units)

This course examines the principles and technology of remote sensing and role of remote sensing data in GIS applications. Students will learn to implement and evaluate digital image processing methodologies. This course also explores common uses of remote sensing data in human security and environmental sciences.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

Capstone Course

SSCI 579: Geospatial Intelligence Tradecraft (4 units)

This course explores the practical application of geospatial intelligence, highlighting specific examples of its use in military operations, national security, international relief work and disaster management. Students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the many and varied types of threats that impact human security and how geospatial technologies and methodologies can be used in each type of scenario.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

Online Graduate Certificate in Geospatial Leadership (16 units)

The online Geospatial Leadership Certificate 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.

Learning Objectives

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  • Identify the various ways that GIS promotes well-being
  • Shape the results of geospatial information management groups and organizations
  • Apply innovation to influence the successful generation, adoption and deployment of new ideas
  • Evaluate and solve for how disruptive technologies might affect GIS organizations in the future
  • Share your vision for how the GIS field is likely to grow and evolve during the next five to 10 years

SEMESTER 1

SSCI 578: The Practice of Geospatial Leadership (4 units)

This course closely examines the way GIS provides value within an organizational context. Students will also learn the qualities and skills leaders need to help their teams form new ideas and how to drive their organizations toward success.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

Choice of Elective

SSCI 585: Geospatial Technology Project Management (4 units)

This course examines the concepts, principles and use of project management tools, with a focus on the common people-centric issues encountered running GIS projects. Topics covered include the geospatial project lifecycle, budgets, risk management, team building and ongoing trends that may influence geospatial project management (e.g. increasing usage of open source software).

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SSCI 574: Spatial Econometrics (4 units)

Theoretical foundations, methods, techniques, and software systems for spatial econometrics, including the effects of spatial dependence and spatial heterogeneity.

SSCI 575: Spatial Data Science (4 units)

Principles, analytical methods, and technologies, including spatial algorithms, to extract insights from spatial data and employ predictive modeling.

SSCI 576: Remote Sensing Applications and Emerging Technologies (4 units)

This course explores how remote sensing systems provide geospatial information that is relevant, accurate, timely, accessible, cost-effective and available in an appropriate format. Students learn the principles of remote sensing and the technical characteristics and constraints of Earth observation missions. They generate geographical information by processing digital remotely sensed data and critically evaluate its use for human security and environmental applications.

SSCI 582: Spatial Databases (4 units)

Students will learn how to design and implement geospatial databases. The course also provides hands-on experience with relational, object-oriented and other types of geospatial databases so that students gain practical knowledge of the structure and management of geospatial data.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SSCI 583: Spatial Analysis and Modeling (4 units)

This course 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. The focus is on providing an understanding of the theories and context of spatial analysis, preparing students to identify the best analytical tool for a given problem and produce valid, defensible spatial analysis output.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SSCI 586: Spatial Programming and Customization (4 units)

This course provides the knowledge and skills for developing customized GIS applications. Students will gain hands-on experience designing, coding and implementing GIS-based software. The course focuses on leveraging programming languages commonly used in GIS software, including Python.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 582

SSCI 591: Web and Mobile GIS (4 units)

This course provides essential and practical knowledge developing web-hosted GIS applications. Students will gain experience using a variety of tools commonly used for GIS application development, including Google Maps, ArcGIS and several open source technologies.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SEMESTER 2

Choice of Elective

SSCI 585: Geospatial Technology Project Management (4 units)

This course examines the concepts, principles and use of project management tools, with a focus on the common people-centric issues encountered running GIS projects. Topics covered include the geospatial project lifecycle, budgets, risk management, team building and ongoing trends that may influence geospatial project management (e.g. increasing usage of open source software).

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SSCI 574: Spatial Econometrics (4 units)

Theoretical foundations, methods, techniques, and software systems for spatial econometrics, including the effects of spatial dependence and spatial heterogeneity.

SSCI 575: Spatial Data Science (4 units)

Principles, analytical methods, and technologies, including spatial algorithms, to extract insights from spatial data and employ predictive modeling.

SSCI 576: Remote Sensing Applications and Emerging Technologies (4 units)

This course explores how remote sensing systems provide geospatial information that is relevant, accurate, timely, accessible, cost-effective and available in an appropriate format. Students learn the principles of remote sensing and the technical characteristics and constraints of Earth observation missions. They generate geographical information by processing digital remotely sensed data and critically evaluate its use for human security and environmental applications.

SSCI 582: Spatial Databases (4 units)

Students will learn how to design and implement geospatial databases. The course also provides hands-on experience with relational, object-oriented and other types of geospatial databases so that students gain practical knowledge of the structure and management of geospatial data.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SSCI 583: Spatial Analysis and Modeling (4 units)

This course 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. The focus is on providing an understanding of the theories and context of spatial analysis, preparing students to identify the best analytical tool for a given problem and produce valid, defensible spatial analysis output.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SSCI 586: Spatial Programming and Customization (4 units)

This course provides the knowledge and skills for developing customized GIS applications. Students will gain hands-on experience designing, coding and implementing GIS-based software. The course focuses on leveraging programming languages commonly used in GIS software, including Python.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 582

SSCI 591: Web and Mobile GIS (4 units)

This course provides essential and practical knowledge developing web-hosted GIS applications. Students will gain experience using a variety of tools commonly used for GIS application development, including Google Maps, ArcGIS and several open source technologies.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

Online Graduate Certificate in Remote Sensing for Earth Observation (16 units)

The online Graduate Certificate in Remote Sensing for Earth Observation (RSEO) program connects students with the most advanced tools and methods for gathering, managing and analyzing spatial information. The curriculum is designed to help professionals start or advance in a career in working with remote sensing data.

Learning Objectives

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  • Use spatial thinking and concepts with geospatial methodologies and technologies to generate, collect and acquire spatial data in preparation for geospatial analysis, visualization and application.
  • Explain the principles of remote sensing and the technical characteristics and constraints of other spatial data collection missions.
  • Critically evaluate some of the opportunities and available methods for integrating both remotely sensed data and non-traditional spatial data into GIS.
  • Design and conduct a GIS-based project for real-world decision-making.

SEMESTER 1

SSCI 581: Concepts for Spatial Thinking (4 units)

This course examines the unique characteristics and importance of spatial information as they relate to the evolving science, technology and applications of geographic information systems. It provides the foundation for understanding and applying other concepts and technologies throughout the spatial sciences programs.

SSCI 588: Remote Sensing for GIS (4 units)

This course examines the principles and technology of remote sensing and role of remote sensing data in GIS applications. Students will learn to implement and evaluate digital image processing methodologies. This course also explores common uses of remote sensing data in human security and environmental sciences.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SEMESTER 2

SSCI 576: Remote Sensing Applications and Emerging Technologies (4 units)

This course explores how remote sensing systems provide geospatial information that is relevant, accurate, timely, accessible, cost-effective and available in an appropriate format. Students learn the principles of remote sensing and the technical characteristics and constraints of Earth observation missions. They generate geographical information by processing digital remotely sensed data and critically evaluate its use for human security and environmental applications.

Choice of Elective

SSCI 575: Spatial Data Science (4 units)

Principles, analytical methods, and technologies, including spatial algorithms, to extract insights from spatial data and employ predictive modeling.

SSCI 587: Spatial Data Acquisition (4 units)

This course examines the role of global positioning systems, maps, geocoding and other kinds of sensors as geospatial data sources. Students will also participate in a field data acquisition excursion on Catalina Island, in which they will have opportunities to meet their peers as well as network with leading GIS scientists and other experts.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581

SSCI 591: Web and Mobile GIS (4 units)

This course provides essential and practical knowledge developing web-hosted GIS applications. Students will gain experience using a variety of tools commonly used for GIS application development, including Google Maps, ArcGIS and several open source technologies.

Recommended preparation: SSCI 581


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