Ph.D. Program in Spatially Integrated Social Science

SISS Ph.D. Overview

The Ph.D. program in Spatially Integrated Social Science (SISS) is a cooperative venture between the departments of Geography and Planning, Economics, Political Science and Public Administration, and Sociology and Anthropology.

This program designed around the application of geographic information science, spatial statistics, spatial econometrics and spatial analysis to study the spatial dimension of human and social dynamics, including interaction of individuals and society, government, and market participants. 

The program encompasses a new body of statistical theory dealing with techniques and topics ranging from spatially-weighted regression analysis to error theory in spatially-distributed data, spatial interpolation and sampling methods, the effects of scale and resolution in geographically distributed data, and the confounding effects of boundary alignment and modifiable areal units in data organization and analysis. 

These topics, coupled with spatial information processing technologies--notably in the form of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), remote sensing, digital cartography and related technologies--have served as an important catalyst for this emerging spatio-temporal research paradigm.

Degree Requirements

This approach is underscored by the Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science (CSISS):

CSISS recognizes the key role space plays in human society, and promotes research that advances our understanding of spatial patterns and processes. Cartographic visualization, geographic information systems (GIS), pattern recognition, spatially sensitive statistical analysis, and place-based search methodologies are the tools of spatially integrated social science (SISS) used to integrate knowledge across disciplines and paradigms. From research design to the interpretation of research findings, the use of SISS can advance understanding in nearly every domain of the social and behavioral sciences* (CSISS, 2003)

Examples cited by the Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science (CSISS) and by Goodchild, et al.**, of major topics which transcend disciplinary boundaries and follow the spatio-temporal model.  Topics are listed as follows***:

Environmental and climate change     Cultural analysis
Social and economic inequality     Criminal justice
Social and business networks     Community studies
Health and disease     Urban studies
Transportation     Economic Development
Political Redistricting     Economic Restructuring


*CSISS: Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science Web Site 2001-2003 by Regents of University of California, Santa Barbara

**Goodchild, M.F., L. Anselin, R.P. Appelbaum, and B.H. Harthorn.  2000.  Toward Spatially Integrated Social Science, International Regional Science Review, 23(2):139-159.

***please consult pp. 142-148 in Goodchild, et al. (2000) and pp. C2-C5 in the CSISS Project Description  for a more detailed treatment of these topics including cited work from the social science research literature.

Locus enim est principum generationis rerum - For place is the origin of things. (Roger Bacon)

Last Updated: 12/7/22