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

  • Major culture types, nomadic hunters and herders, peasant and tribal societies, sophisticated kingdoms; social, political, economic, and religious institutions.

  • Archaeology as the means of investigating our shared human past, from the origins of humanity to the foundations of current civilization.

  • Visual communication techniques applicable to the design of the built environment; drawing, photography, modeling.

  • Introduction to the ways architecture represents aspirations of culture, satisfies practical and spiritual needs, shapes the social and urban environment, and helps preserve the planet.

  • An examination of the physical and biological laws that influence agriculture, pollution, population dynamics (including humans), climate, biodiversity and ecosystem structure and function

  • Methods and techniques employed in modern archaeological research, including the tools and principles of allied scientific fields and the impact of analytical and technological advances.

  • Impact of civilization on planet earth, and impact of earth’s natural evolution on society: earthquakes, volcanism, landslides, floods, global warming, acid rain, groundwater depletion and pollution; mineral and fossil fuel depletion, formation of the ozone hole.

  • Climate systems from the beginning of earth history to the present; tools and techniques used to reconstruct prehistoric climate records; effects of climate variations on development of life forms on earth.

  • A thematic approach to California history from precontact to present; focus on peoples, environment, economic, social, and cultural development, politics, and rise to global influence.

  • The urban context for planning and policy decisions. Socioeconomic, physical, and spatial structure of cities: and the underlying demographic, economic, and social processes that drive their ongoing transformation.

  • Examination of the challenges of environmental problem-solving at the personal, local, national and global scales, focused on the issue of climate change.

  • Los Angeles as a metaphor for the American Dream, exploring the city’s history and potential futures, including economic opportunity, social justice, spatial organization, and environmental sustainability.

  • Los Angeles as a metaphor for the American Dream, exploring the city’s history and potential futures, including economic opportunity, social justice, spatial organization, and environmental sustainability.

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

  • Introduction to the complex relationship between human development and natural hazards, which are increasingly causing damage and displacement to human populations throughout the world.

  • 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. Recommended preparation: 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. Prerequisite: SSCI 382L.

4 units of upper-division elective (choose one below)

  • Training of archaeology students in the use of GIS through the understanding of basic principles and theoretical restrictions of geospatial sciences.

  • Critical observation of the architecture of public buildings and places and the importance of design in promoting a better contemporary public life.

  • Emphasis on photographic storytelling in print, video and Web-based media; understanding of visual thinking and imagery techniques.

  • Introduction to graphic design, photodocumentation, and geographic information systems as employed in planning, policy, and development. Visual explanations. Computer and by-hand applications.

  • Basic GIS concepts, ArcView and other GIS software, planning applications and databases, basic cartography; students select, research and prepare a planning GIS analysis project.

  • Students examine images of urban America and use the camera to produce visual representation in their analysis of social relations.

  • Conceptual foundations and techniques of statistics and how they can be used with geographic data to produce actionable information across spatial science domains.

  • Intensive experience in local public agency, private firm, or nonprofit agency engaged in applied geospatial analysis, modeling and mapping work. Graded CR/NC.

Learn more

Ask Dr. Diana Ter-Ghazaryan about the minor in Spatial Studies. Email her at