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Geographic Information Science Minor

Geography, Urban, Environmental & Sustain Studies
College of Liberal Arts
  • Program Type: Undergraduate minor related to major
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2015
  • Required credits in this minor: 26
The minor in geographic information science has as its core the study and use of geographic information systems (GIS). Central to this program are the theoretical and applied fundamentals of the collection, management, analysis, and representation of spatial data. The program builds on this core by exploring both traditional and novel methods for geo-visualization. Methods include teaching about various remote sensing technologies used to collect and classify remotely sensed data and how to use these technologies, critically discussing the implications of geo-spatial technologies on individuals and society, demonstrating how geo-spatial technologies are used effectively in urban and regional planning processes, and by exploring applications of GIS to environmental, resource and policy/management issues. The minor interweaves well with majors in anthropology, biology, chemistry, computer science, criminology, engineering, environmental sciences, geology, history, mathematics, political science, sociology, and statistics.
Program Delivery
This program is available:
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Admission Requirements
Students must complete 3 credits before admission to the program.
To be accepted into the GIS minor program, students must first complete GEOG 2552 and have an overall GPA of at least 2.00. A full understanding of basic computer use is expected. Students following the fall 2011 or earlier degree requirements for majors or minors in: geography, environmental studies, and urban and regional studies are not eligible for the GIS minor, but they can enroll in the GIS Certificate Program. Students following the fall 2012 or later degree requirements for majors or minors in: geography, environment and sustainability, and urban and regional studies may minor in GIS.
For information about University of Minnesota admission requirements, visit the Office of Admissions website.
Minor Requirements
Core (14 cr)
To be accepted into the GIS minor, students must complete GEOG 2552 and have an overall GPA of at least 2.00.
Choose one:
GEOG 1304 - Human Geography [LE CAT6, LECD CAT06, SOC SCI] (3.0 cr)
or GEOG 1414 - Physical Geography [LE CAT4, NAT SCI, SUSTAIN] (4.0 cr)
Take all of the following:
GEOG 2552 - Introduction to Maps and Geospatial Information [LE CAT2, LOGIC & QR] (3.0 cr)
GIS 3563 - Geographic Information Science I: Theory and Analysis (4.0 cr)
GIS 3564 - Geographic Information Science II: Applied GIS (4.0 cr)
Electives (12 cr)
Take 3 or more course(s) totaling at most 12 credit(s) from the following:
· GEOG 3532 - Map Design and Geographic Visualization (4.0 cr)
· GIS 3xxx
· GIS 4xxx
· GIS 5xxx
· FORS 3167 - GEOG 3167 Cultural Geography of Iceland (3.0 cr)
· FORS 3205 - GEOG 3205 Mapping in Belize (3.0 cr)
· FORS 3800 - COMM 3800/GEOG 3800 Grassroots Activism in India (4.0 cr)
 
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GEOG 1304 - Human Geography (LE CAT6, LECD CAT06, SOC SCI)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
Ecological basis of human existence. Human population patterns and cultural diffusion. Agricultural geography. Political geography. Geography of language, religion, and ethnic groups. Effects of urbanization; economic geography.
GEOG 1414 - Physical Geography (LE CAT4, NAT SCI, SUSTAIN)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Earth-sun relations, maps and globes, and major factors of the natural environment, including water resources, landforms, weather and climate, natural vegetation, and soils. (3 hrs lect, 2 hrs lab)
GEOG 2552 - Introduction to Maps and Geospatial Information (LE CAT2, LOGIC & QR)
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall, Spring & Summer
This course will define a map and consider maps as tools for communication. Students will explore the effects of scale, projection, cartographic symbolization and generalization on the mapping process and resulting digital databases. Students will be introduced to spatial data models, types of spatial data and representation, and will study alternative or non-tradition map representations provided by GIS and Remote Sensing.
GIS 3563 - Geographic Information Science I: Theory and Analysis
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Prerequisites: credit will not be granted if already received for GEOG 3564 or 4563 and 4564.
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Emphasizes the concepts needed to use GIS effectively for manipulating, querying, analyzing and visualizing spatial data. This course will provide an introduction to and basic skills with industry standard GIS software in a wide variety of applications in both the natural and social sciences. The course will cover basic data modeling, data manipulation, and analytical methods and implications of geospatial technologies on society. prereq: credit will not be granted if already received for GEOG 3564 or 4563 and 4564.
GIS 3564 - Geographic Information Science II: Applied GIS
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
This course provides more hands-on skills with industry standard GIS software in a wide variety of applications in both the natural and social sciences. The course will cover the design aspects of application, as well as organizational and institutional aspects of applied GIScience. Lastly, the courses will consider ethics and geospatial information and a code of ethics for geospatial professionals. prereq: 3563; credit will not be granted if already received for GEOG 3564 or 4563 and 4564.
GEOG 3532 - Map Design and Geographic Visualization
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
Thematic mapping of qualitative and quantitative data. Data measurement levels and their relationships to geographic phenomena and map symbols. Appropriate treatment (both statistical and representational) of map data. Designing and creating maps using computers. (2 hrs lect, 4 hrs lab) prereq: 2552 or instructor consent; Stat 1411 recommended
FORS 3167 - GEOG 3167 Cultural Geography of Iceland
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02252
Prerequisites: Admission to an approved study abroad program requires consent from the International Education Office.
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Fall, Spring & Summer
Taught in Iceland this course explores the changing cultural & political geography of Iceland and its relationship to the complex processes of globalization, regional politics and local economies. It examines the history of Iceland as a Viking settlement, a colony of Denmark, and an independent nation with a focus on the political and economic connection between Iceland and other places have influenced the country. Students will examine Iceland's position as part of the European Economic Community but not of the common currency or the European Union, contributed to the 2008 economic crisis and the responses to that crisis. Student will consider how geographic context, national culture and political economy impact the cultural geography of Iceland and is designed to give an intercultural experience with contemporary economic and political issues through a geographic perspective. Students will apply geographic theories of cultural difference, political economy, and resistance to develop an understanding of the multiple sites and scales of Icelandic identity, culture and politics. prereq: Admission to an approved study abroad program requires consent from the International Education Office.
FORS 3205 - GEOG 3205 Mapping in Belize
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02084 - GEOG 3205/FORS 3205
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Summer
Study abroad course; taught on site in Belize. Novice mappers to the geospatially proficient students will be exposed to a meaningful field experience and lab practicum where field data and satellite imagery will be combined to render valuable information about the Maya Gold landscape. Students will utilize Global Positioning System (GPS) and remote sensing techniques to create informative and cartographically derived outputs; a map. Through this international experience, students will be exposed to a unique cultural experience where they will learn what is important to Mayan culture by observing the dynamics of this landscape. Time spent in Belize will expose each student to the eclectic mingling of Mestizo, Mopan and Kekchi Maya, Garifuna, Creoles, Lebanese, East Indian and Chinese peoples. prereq: Admission to an approved study abroad program requires consent from the International Education Office.
FORS 3800 - COMM 3800/GEOG 3800 Grassroots Activism in India
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: 02244 - FORS 3800/COMM 3800/GEOG 3800
Prerequisites: Minimum 2.5 GPA, minimum 30 credits, instructor consent. Admission to an approved study abroad program requires consent from the International Education Office.
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Periodic Summer
Taught in Bangalore, India where students will examine the process of social change in Bangalore and witness firsthand how disempowered groups such as tribal communities and religious minorities are advocating for their social and economic rights. Bangalore has grown tremendously in the last 10 years, as the city has become the center of India's technology economy; however, the benefits of this growth have not been equally distributed. Students will examine the causes of disenfranchisement (including gender, caste, and colonialism) as well as how city has changed as a result of globalization and the liberalization of the Indian economy. This course has three goals: (1) Students understand the notions of community employment as theorized by scholars such as Paulo Freire, M.K. Gandhi, R.J. Ambedkar, as well as more contemporary Indian thinkers; (2) Students visit and learn about the cultural and historical forces that have shaped India, and (3) Students interact firsthand with activists and disenfranchised communities involved in struggles for human rights/empowerment. prereq: Minimum 2.5 GPA, minimum 30 credits, instructor consent. Admission to an approved study abroad program requires consent from the International Education Office.