USC Dornsife Spatial Sciences Institute

Master’s in Spatial Economics and Data Analysis

The Master of Science in Spatial Economics and Data Analysis (M.S. SEDA) combines the best of multiple worlds: an applied economics master’s with a core focus in data science that is also linked to the power of spatial sciences. In this innovative program, students will work with globally recognized faculty from the Department of Economics and the Spatial Sciences Institute in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. This degree can be completed in four semesters.

“One strength of the M.S. in Spatial Economics and Data Analysis program is having half the program faculty in the Department of Economics and the other half in the Spatial Sciences Institute. We teach from a variety of expertise, perspectives and research experiences.”

– An-Min Wu, Ph.D.,
Assistant Professor (Teaching) of Spatial Sciences

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Program Curriculum

Students complete a core set of courses to gain a solid foundation in applied economics and data science, and then customize the program for their desired career path through a choice of electives.

Many assignments can be assembled into a digital portfolio that will help students demonstrate their capabilities and skills for the job market. Students will also have the chance to lead discussions and work collaboratively on projects with classmates. In addition, the master’s in spatial economics and data analysis includes experiential learning opportunities such as guest speaker talks, panels, colloquiums and informal discussions with peers, faculty and industry leaders.

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Career Outlook

In order to equip graduates with the skills they need to succeed in the job market, the M.S. in Spatial Economics and Data Analysis program focuses on the practical application of economic theories within the framework of GIS. Professionals with a master’s-level education in economics and spatial data analysis can apply their insights to a wide variety of specialized industries around the world, solving problems related to emerging business opportunities, environmental trends, urban crime, congestion patterns, global security, real estate valuation, technology diffusion and countless other social and commercial issues.

Upon completion of this program, students will be prepared to apply the data science and spatial economics skills they learn to their careers. Industries that can utilize this unique skill set include finance, geography, business, health sciences, city planning and environmental sciences.

Through internships, guest speaker events, industry meet-ups and other career development opportunities such as the annual Los Angeles Geospatial Summit, students will build a professional network spanning Big Data industry pros to up-and-coming startups.

Students also have the opportunity to gain field experience during their studies and can apply to be part-time researchers on funded SSI faculty projects.

The USC M.S. in Spatial Economics and Data Analysis has the U.S. Department of Education CIP code of 45.0702 for Geographic Information Science and Cartography, identified as a STEM CIP code.


What Is Spatial Economics?

Spatial economics combines data analytics and location-based big data with insights from geospatial intelligence and urban economics as a means to identify business opportunities and solve real-world problems.


What Differentiates an M.S. in Spatial Economics and Data Analysis From a Master’s in Economics or a Master’s in Data Science?

In the M.S. in Spatial Economics and Data Analysis program, students engage with a rigorous quantitative curriculum that innovatively combines economics, data science and spatial science principles and applies their theories to societal challenges. Project-based learning allows students to synthesize and analyze spatial data that can be applied to their own interests.

As spatial Big Data grows in availability and significance, so too do market opportunities for professionals who can convert real-time spatial and economic analysis into recommendations in the areas of their choice.

Ready to learn more? Download our brochure, and explore our curriculum, admissions and FAQ pages.