Excel in grad school and in your career

Today’s successful professionals have a command of geographic information sciences (GIS) and geospatial technologies in the social, economic and political contexts of sustainable development. With GIS, they are equipped to guide transitions to sustainability, can support adaptive management in specific places and can encourage society to collaborate for sustainability. This geospatial information is key to linking human and natural systems to understand how humans create stress on ecosystems. With this understanding, decision makers can make informed choices about how to alleviate environmental stress or restore damaged ecosystems.

The demand for GIS and geospatial professionals continues to rise. Geospatial jobs are currently available and growing in every industry and discipline in consulting firms, non-profit organizations, government agencies and private-sector companies. Students combining this minor with their major are prepared for graduate studies in geographic information science, sustainability management, environmental sciences and other related disciplines.

I fell in love with the science of cities and solution-driven research during my four years at the USC Spatial Sciences Institute.

Eileen Baoqi Chen, Minor in GIS and Sustainability Science ’23, USC Renaissance Scholar and Order of Troy

Curriculum (20 units)

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

  • The influence of sustainability science on public policy and vice versa in the context of social/ethical theories, analytical methods and solutions.

  • 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.

  • 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. Prerequisite: SSCI 301L.

  • Fundamentals of spatial modeling and remote sensing and how to use GIS customization and programming to streamline complex spatial analysis and modeling workflows. Prerequisites: SSCI 301 and SSCI 382.

Capstone course

  • Principles and techniques for leveraging geospatial technologies and information in support of sustainability, with emphasis on coupling human and natural systems for global sustainable development.