Urban Sustainability Master of Arts Degree and Integrated GIS Certificate

The Urban Sustainability Master of Arts (USMA) degree with an integrated certificate in Applied Spatial Analysis for Geographic Information Systems (GIS) affords students the opportunity to earn both the MA degree and GIS certificate within 4 semesters.  The GIS certificate, a 3-semester engagement, is earned while satisfying several of the USMA program requirements. The first 3-unit GIS course (ES 5100 Geographic Information Systems) of the nine-unit GIS certificate more than satisfies the 2-unit USMA elective requirement.  ES6100 Advanced Geographic Information Systems does not satisfy any USMA requirements and thus is taken in addition to the USMA requirements.  The final GIS Applications course, however, is subsumed entirely into the USMA capstone course.   Thus, five of the certificate units satisfy five USMA required units, leaving students who want both the degree and the certificate to register for only 4 additional units beyond what is needed for the degree (36 total units). In addition, students completing both degree and certificate need to enroll for 4 semesters rather than 3 in order for the GIS courses to maintain their necessary sequencing. The first 3 semesters are full-time terms whereas the fourth one can be half-time.

The Integrated USMA + Certificate requirements are as follows:

  • Urban Sustainability (6 units)
  • Eco Systems Thinking (3 units)
  • Urban Infrastructure (3 units)
  • Research & Writing for Practitioners (3 units)
  • Sustainable Urban Economies (3 units)
  • Fieldwork Planning (1 unit)
  • Fieldwork (5 units over two semesters)
  • ES5100 Geographic Information Systems  (3 units)
  • ES6100 Advanced Geographic Information  Systems  (3 units)
  • Applied GIS Capstone  (6 units)

    Total:              36 units

USMA + Certificate Requirements by Semester

Semester 1 (10 units)
        Urban Sustainability (6)
        Systems Thinking (3)
        Fieldwork Planning (1)

Semester 2 (11 units)
        GIS (3)
        Research (3)
        Infrastructure (3)
        Fieldwork 1 (2)

Semester 3 (9 units)
       Advanced GIS (3)
       Sustainability Urban Economics (3)
       Fieldwork 2 (3)

Semester 4 (6 units)
      Capstone (6)
      (Note: GIS applications course is satisfied through Capstone)

USMA/GIS Certificate students attend a total of 7 residencies, as follows: each of the six-day residencies, at the beginning of their first and second semesters and each of the four-day residencies during week 14 of their first and second semesters; the six day residencies at the beginning of both their third and fourth semesters; and then presenting their capstone projects in a public forum at the first residency following their final semester of enrollment in the USMA/GIS Certificate program.

Integrated Schedule

Semester 1
      Week 1
      Week 2   
Semester 2
     Week 1
     Week 14

Semester 3
     Week 1

Semester 4
     Week 1  
     Final residency Week 1 of following semester.

Thesis Completion

Students who need additional time to complete their capstone projects beyond their fourth semester have the option to enroll in Thesis Completion Status during a fifth semester for a nominal fee.