Minor in Geographic Information Science

Spatial thinking deals with the fundamental role of space, place, location, distance and interaction – crucial to tackling many research questions in the social and physical sciences. The Minor in Geographic Information Science provides a coherent exposure to rigorous spatial thinking and its expression through the theories and methods of Geographic Information Science.

Geographic Information Science covers all aspects pertaining to accessing, storing, transforming, manipulating, visualizing, exploring and reasoning about information where the locational component is important (spatial data). This includes the technical and computational aspects of geographic information systems, the methodologies of spatial analysis and spatial statistics, mapping and geo-visualization, as well as societal aspects related to the use of geographic data.

The minor serves as a complement to other majors, such as computer science, statistics, data science, economics, public policy, sociology, anthropology, political science, environmental and urban studies, but would also be of value to majors in the humanities and physical sciences interested in the spatial aspects of their field.

The courses in the minor are open to Geography majors, but the Minor cannot be taken concurrently with a Geography Major.

Program Requirements

The minor consists of six core courses and one elective from a series of offerings. The core courses provide a coherent exposure to rigorous spatial thinking and its incorporation into the methodologies of geographic information systems, spatial analysis and spatial data science. The electives consist of a list of courses that touch upon various aspects of spatial thinking, with different degrees of technical materials, and are intended to either act as “gateways” into the minor, or to provide the opportunity for the application of spatial analysis in a range of fields. The sequencing of courses is designed such that students can complete all requirements for the minor in one year of study (provided the statistics pre-requisite has been taken prior).

  1. STAT 22000 Statistical Methods and Applications (or equivalent)*

  2. GEOG 28202 Geographic Information Science I (Autumn)

  3. GEOG 20500 Introduction to Spatial Data Science (Autumn)

  4. GEOG 28402 Geographic Information Science II (Winter)

  5. GEOG 28602 Geographic Information Science III (Spring)

  6. GEOG 28000 GIScience Practicum (Spring)**

  7.  Any one of the approved electives (list here).

*Students who take STAT 22000 to satisfy a requirement in a major will complete a six course minor.  Students who take STAT 22000 to satisfy only the GIS minor will complete a seven course minor.

**The capstone course for the minor is GEOG 28000, GIScience Practicum. GEOG 28202, GEOG 28402, and GEOG 20500 MUST be completed prior to registering for this class. GEOG 28000 may be taken concurrently with GEOG 28602, Geographic Information Science III. Students will develop a multifaceted GIS project incorporating spatial thinking in design, infrastructure, and implementation. Projects could include the development of a web application, dynamic dashboard, interactive storytelling map, infographic-driven policy brief, or research article, and can be carried out in conjunction with a thesis requirement of their major.

Advising and Grading

  • Courses in the minor may not be double counted with the student's major(s), other minors, or general education requirements.

  • Courses in the minor must be taken for quality grades, and more than half of the requirements for the minor must be met by registering for courses bearing University of Chicago course numbers.

  • The courses in the minor are open to Geography majors, but the Minor cannot be taken concurrently with a Geography Major.

  • Students may petition the program director to have a course counted as elective that is not included on the current list of electives.

  • All students who need to make updates to their minor declarations or who wish to declare a minor in GIS are encouraged to reach out to Marynia or Jamie via email.