Spatial Minor

Minor in Spatial Studies


Spatial Studies is an interdisciplinary minor that complements a student?s academic major with concepts and tools for spatial thinking, spatial analysis, and spatial representation. In the sciences and social sciences, spatial reasoning and tools of analysis (e.g., maps, data visualizations, and spatial statistics) can contribute greater understandings about the patterning of processes in the social, biological, and physical worlds, and about applications of spatial technologies to analyze, model, and visualize problems and research outcomes. The ability to see, process, and understand information spatially also plays an important role in the design professions (e.g., architecture, engineering, and planning), and in many forms of artistic expression and interpretation in the humanities. Geography 12 (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. For the minor in spatial studies, students select one of three foci that allies most clearly with their 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.

How to Become a Minor in Spatial Studies

Although students do not need to declare the minor, students interested in the interdisciplinary Minor in Spatial Studies may seek consultation through the Center for Spatial Studies (3512 Phelps Hall). Appointments should be arranged by calling (805) 893-8224 or by email: UCSB Academic Minor in Spatial Studies to view the Course Requirements for Minor in Spatial Studies, review the course listings for all of the courses that can be applied to the minor, and see which of the approved courses for the minor are offered each quarter.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 Center for Spatial Studies in the Geography Department, Phelps Hall 3512. Once approved, the 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 from the Center for Spatial Studies (Phelps Hall 3512).
  • The sponsoring department reports completion of the minor prior to the posting of the degree.