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Please note: Geography majors are eligible for the Minor in Spatial Studies.

The Minor in Spatial Studies has been transferred from the Center for Spatial Studies to the Department of Geography for advisory support for students seeking to complement their disciplinary majors with a Minor in Spatial Studies. Spatial Studies is framed as an interdisciplinary minor that recognizes the many disciplinary origins of innovations in spatial reasoning, representation, and analysis. Please note: All advising is now done through the Department of Geography.

General information or document submission: General advising: Ally Foot; Academic advising: Konstadinos Goulias.

With upper-division courses from more than two-dozen disciplines listed for the minor, students can tap into a creative mix of ideas and tools to enhance their majors and career orientations with spatial perspectives. For the Minor in Spatial Studies, a student selects one of three focus areas that allies most clearly with his/her areas of disciplinary and/or career interest. These include: (a) Spatial Thinking, (b) Space and Place, and (c) Spatial Science. The curricula for these areas of study include a breadth of courses that reflect the pervasive nature of spatial reasoning across diverse fields of knowledge.

Focus in Spatial Thinking

The Spatial Thinking focus emphasizes spatial cognition and reasoning associated with problem solving and representation, and applications of both elementary and complex reasoning processes in different domains of human activity and knowledge development. This focus represents a concentration on the science of spatial learning at individual and societal levels, and on the mental associations that facilitate learning about and functioning within human and natural environments.

Focus in Spatial Science

The Spatial Science focus emphasizes the analysis and visualization of information, featuring courses that build methodological and technological competencies for documenting space-time patterns and processes about phenomena in the physical world as well as about behavior and its consequences in the human world. In the design disciplines (including some branches of engineering) the focus is on problem solving and product development that frequently entails the (re)arrangement of spatial entities and documentation of the consequences thereafter.

Focus in Space and Place

The Space and Place focus builds on courses that apply spatial reasoning and visualization in the humanities. Examples include creative and aesthetic renderings (e.g., stories, visualizations, sounds, and fine arts), the design of lived-in environments that reflect and accommodate human values and activities, the documentation and assessment of affinity to sense of place and region, and communication through use of spatial metaphor and spatialized languages.

Geography W12 (Maps and Spatial Reasoning), the required common course for the minor, treats the fundamental science of mapping, including the underlying mathematics for spatial transformations and projections, exposure to computerized graphics and mapping systems, and the use of maps as research tools to document and communicate information as well as to solve problems. The widespread and increasing use of online and handheld mapping technologies over the past decade has embedded the map into expressions of spatial and geographical metaphor, spatiality, and place identity that render geo-spatial literacy as an appropriate foundation for informed citizenship and problem solving in many disciplines and careers. Geog. W12 is taught online and holds a weekly lab.

How to Become a Minor in Spatial Studies

Have you completed the Minor? Please evaluate our program in our Survey Questionnaire

Although students do not need to declare the minor, students interested in the interdisciplinary Minor in Spatial Studies may seek consultation in the Department of Geography (Ellison 1837). The advisor’s office hours will be established once the campus is reopened (possibly September 2021); currently, appointments for remote advising may be made by email: AllyFoot.

Students who meet course requirements may request certification to graduate with a Minor in Spatial Studies by completing the Course Requirements for Minor in Spatial Studies before meeting with an advisor in the Center for Spatial Studies.

Once a student has completed the required courses, he or she can deliver the completed Course Requirements Form for review and approval by the advisor in the Department of Geography at 1837 Ellison. Once approved, the academic advisor will sign a Clearance Form for the Minor in Spatial Studies and deliver it to the registrar.

Minor Regulations

The following conditions must be met for official recognition of the minor:

  • Students must consult the General Catalog for prerequisites to all listed courses.
  • All courses to be applied to the minor must be completed on a letter-grade basis. This includes all courses that are applied to the minor, offered by the Department of Geography as well as those offered by other departments.
  • No more than 3 upper-division courses can be taken from a single department
  • At least 20 upper-division quarter units are completed for the minor. Waivers cannot reduce the requirement below this number.
  • Substitutions and waivers are subject to approval by the advisor for the Spatial Studies Minor.
  • The UC grade-point average in ALL applicable upper-division courses, including those in excess of minimum requirements, is 2.0 or higher.
  • No more than 5 upper-division units overlap between the Spatial Studies Minor and the upper-division portion of a student’s major(s) or other minor(s). If the overlap with a student’s major(s) exceeds 5 upper-division units, then completion of the Spatial Studies Minor will not be formally recognized; if the overlap with other minor(s) exceeds 5 upper-division units, then only the first minor reported will be noted on the student’s transcript.
  • Students must have completed at least 12 of the upper-division requirements for the minor while registered as a UCSB student.
  • Once a student has completed the course work outlined above, he or she can pick up, complete, and submit a Course Requirements for Minor in Spatial Studies checklist at the Geography Department (1837 Ellison).
  • The sponsoring department reports completion of the minor prior to the posting of the degree.