Doctoral Certificate in Spatial Analysis

S4 administers a new doctoral certificate in Spatial Analysis. The certificate is flexibly structured, in order to meet the needs of PhD students across all disciplines at Brown who have an interest in developing their spatial analysis skills.

The certificate requires completion of four courses. Two of these are required foundational courses in spatial theory and methods. The remaining two courses can be completed in the student’s home department or in a related field. Below is a list of currently offered courses.

1. Required foundational courses (select two of these)

ANTH 1201. An Introduction to GIS and Spatial Analysis for Anthropologists and Archaeologists. Introduction to the concepts, techniques, and the histories that motivate geographic information systems and their employment in anthropological and archaeological scholarship. 

*SOC 2612. GIS and Spatial Analysis for the Social Sciences. Introductory, graduate-level course focusing on spatial analysis methods and applications in the social sciences.

*Note: Students who successfully complete the GIS Institute may select another elective course in lieu of SOC 2612. The GIS Institute is a two-week GIS training workshop for Brown University graduate students, faculty, and staff, normally offered twice annually by S4 in conjunction with EarthLab and University Library.

SOC 2961B. Applications in Geographic Information Systems. Review of selected topics requiring spatial analysis, including substantive readings and lab-based replication of research results.

SOC 2610. Spatial Thinking in the Social Sciences. This course provides an overview of applications of spatial analysis across the social sciences with an emphasis on how spatial concepts are understood and used.

PHP 2015. Foundations of Spatial Analysis in Public Health. This course provides an overview of spatial analysis methods and applications in public health. Students will knowledge and skills as spatial thinkers and understand how GIS applications like ArcGIS can be used to collect, analyze, and visualize spatial data to inform, evaluate, and improve public health programs.

2. Elective courses

a. Advanced courses in spatial methods (strongly recommended for quantitatively oriented students)

ANTH 2202. Advanced GIS and Spatial Analysis. Builds upon ANTH 1201, and broadens the topics covered to suitability modeling, network analysis, intermediate spatial statistics, and scripting, with a focus on developing competencies across multiple software platforms, including QGIS, ArcGIS Pro and R. 

GEOL 2330. Advanced Remote Sensing and Geographical Information Systems. Strategies and the physical principles behind the quantitative extraction of geophysical and biophysical measurements from remotely sensed data. Advanced methods of digital image processing and data integration. Introduction to GIS and methods of integrating remotely sensed data into a GIS.

PHP 2604. Statistical Methods for Spatial Data. An introduction to the use of Bayesian models for spatial analysis, accessible to students with extensive statistical background.

SOC2960G. Spatial Data Analysis Techniques for the Social Sciences. Survey of spatial data analytical techniques with emphasis on the analysis of cross-sections of point and areal data. It introduces source software for spatial statistical analysis, such as the various specialized packages included in R, the PySAL library for spatial analysis in Python, and the GUI-based GeoDa and GeoDaSpace software.

SOC2961A. Advanced Spatial Data Analysis Techniques for the Social Sciences. Builds upon 2960G, and broadens the topics covered to the analysis of dynamic (space-time) phenomena as well as models for discrete dependent variables.

SOC 2960S. Methods for Analyzing Clustered and Panel Data. Introduction to multilevel and time-series models, including issues of neighborhood effects and spatial clustering.

b. Disciplinary offerings

AMST 2220B. Culture, Politics and the Metropolitan-Built Environment. A historically and culturally oriented overview of changes over time in the structure of the U.S. metropolis.

ANTH 2201. Archaeology in the Digital Age. Uses of digital methods including spatial analysis in contemporary archaeology.

ANTH 2590. Space, Power, and Politics. A course focusing on the political production of space – from the scale of bodies, to cities, states, and international systems.

CLAS 2010B. Roman Topography. Study of the history of monuments and buildings and the constellation of meanings assigned to places where they are located.

ECON 2420. The Structure of Cities. The basics of land use theory, demand estimation and hedonic methods, sorting across political jurisdictions, applied econometric methods for spatial data, transport mode choice, housing, segregation, and place-based policies.

ECON 2410. Urbanization. Advanced land use theory, sources of productivity advantages of size and density, systems of cities and New Economic Geography models.

HIAA 2980. Approaches to Space. Treatments of space and place in art, architecture, and landscape studies.

PHP 2325. Place Matters: Exploring Community-Level Contexts on Health Behaviors, Outcomes and Disparities. Theories and findings related to the effects of local environments on health outcomes.

SOC 1871W. Geographical Analysis of Society. Covers theories/concepts and related analytical tools that facilitate understanding of spatial organization of individuals, societies, and economies.

SOC 2320.  Migration.   Examination of migration in its several manifestations: internal, international, and patterns of settlement and segregation. Consideration is given to both determinants of population movement and the socioeconomic adjustment of migrants in their destination. Includes comparative study across migrant groups and geographic settings. 

SOC 2960C. Urban Sociology. Urban development as a social and political process, where space and place are important at multiple scales: neighborhoods, cities, regions, nations.

SOC 2960R. Urbanization in a Global System. Issues of urban development, inequality, and governance in an explicitly comparative framework and emphasis on the international and national systems within which cities are embedded.

c. Independent project in a discipline

Students will have the option of counting an independent research project in their area of specialization toward the certificate. Projects would have to be supervised by an S4-affiliated faculty member and approved in advance by the S4 Director. A special S4 independent research course number could be established for this purpose.