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Department of Geography


Note that Fall 2023 courses — as well as times and meeting places — may change. While the information here will be updated as necessary, please consult the registrar's listing of courses for the most complete information.

Undergraduates may take 100- through 500-level courses. Graduate students will only receive credit for courses numbered at the 500-level and above.

Fall 2023 Courses

R = Thursday

Dr. Robert Kopack
Section 001: M W  02:20 PM – 03:35 PM  |  Callcott 201 
Section 002: M W  03:55 PM – 05:10 PM  |  Callcott 201

This course introduces students to the breadth and impact of geography through exposure to core concepts, sub-disciplinary approaches, basic cartography, and field research. The course content requires students to think about how their lives are connected to global systems and to reconsider the production and meaning of the landscapes they encounter every day.

Dr. Jean Ellis
Section: J10:  T R  04:25 PM – 05:40 PM  |  Online — synchronous

Have you ever been curious as to why the sky is blue? How hurricanes work? Or how tree ring records can provide insight into past climates? Physical geography synthesizes many aspects of various Earth and life sciences but expresses them in a way that emphasizes patterns of interaction between the environment and humankind. You will learn about the intricate workings of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere; how these spheres operate as individual systems and how these systems interact collectively to make the planet we live on today.

Section 001:  T R  10:05 AM – 11:20 AM  |  Callcott 005
Section 001:  M W F  10:50 AM – 11:40 AM  |  Callcott 005
Section 001:  T R  02:50 PM – 04:05 PM  |  Callcott 005
Section 004:  M W F  09:40 AM – 10:30 AM  |  Callcott 005 
Section H01*:  M W  02:20 PM – 03:35 PM  |  Callcott 104
Section J10:  Online – Asynchronous

This course will explore how geographic data is collected, visualized, and analyzed in various digital formats (e.g. maps, aerial images, infographics, etc.). Our exploration will include learning about the basics of cartography (map interpretation and mapmaking), problem solving through spatial thinking, and geospatial technologies. Though the subject matter is technically oriented, this course will focus on the basic concepts and applications.

* Honors section

Dr. Meredith DeBoom
M F  08:05 AM – 09:20 AM  |  Online – Synchronous & Asynchronous

This course introduces students to diversity, inequality, and interconnectedness in the contemporary world. In terms of diversity, this course highlights the ways that the physical environment, social and economic systems, political relationships, and historical circumstances have produced distinctive regional geographies. In terms of interconnectedness, this course explores the ways in which global processes—world trade, colonialism and neo-colonialism, geopolitical conflict, and climate change—have integrated different world regions into a complex global system. In terms of inequality, this course gives special attention to the way that regional and global processes intersect to produce and reinforce social and geographical disparities and differences.

Dr. Jean Ellis
Lecture: T R  10:05 AM – 11:20 AM  |  Callcott 201 
Lab 001: T  11:40 AM – 01:30 PM  |  Callcott 330
Lab 002: T  02:50 PM – 04:40 PM  |  Callcott 330 
Lab 003: R  11:40 AM – 01:30 PM  |  Callcott 330
Lab 004: R  02:50 PM – 04:40 PM  |  Callcott 330

Landforms are physical features on the Earth’s surface such as valleys, mountains, hill slopes, beaches, and stream channels. The study of landforms (geomorphology) is one of the oldest of the natural sciences from which many classic scientific premises and methods were born. This course focuses on the principles of geomorphology and examines relationships between processes and landforms at a variety of scales in space and time. In particular, we will cover geomorphological theories, weathering and slope processes, erosion and deposition, and other factors responsible for shaping physical features on the Earth's land surface, emphasizing soils, hydrology, and processes of landform creation by water, wind, ice, and gravity.

Dr. April Hiscox
Lecture: T R  01:15 PM – 02:30 PM  |  Callcott 201
Lab 001: W  08:30 AM – 10:20 AM | Callcott 330
Lab 002: W  10:50 AM – 12:40 PM | Callcott 330
Lab 003: W  01:10 PM – 03:00 PM | Callcott 330 

This course provides students with a general understanding of the processes which influence weather and climate patterns. It first examines the sources of energy driving atmospheric processes, the importance of atmospheric moisture, and the forces creating the winds. The second part of the course focuses on storm systems, including mid- latitude cyclones and severe weather. The last third of the class is devoted to the study of climate, climate variability and change, and the impact of such change on human activity.

Dr. Gregory Carbone
Lecture:  T R  10:05 AM – 11:20 AM  |  Callcott 104 
Lab H01  |  F  09:40 AM – 11:30 AM | Callcott 330

This course provides students with a general understanding of the processes which influence weather and climate patterns. It first examines the sources of energy driving atmospheric processes, the importance of atmospheric moisture, and the forces creating the winds. The second part of the course focuses on storm systems, including mid- latitude cyclones and severe weather. The last third of the class is devoted to the study of climate, climate variability and change, and the impact of such change on human activity.

Dr. Robert Kopack
T R  04:25 PM – 05:40 PM  |  Callcott 102

How does where you live influence who you are? How do our understandings of the world – our beliefs, values, dreams, and memories – influence the environments of everyday life? What can we learn about cultural identity and belonging by examining the landscapes and places we think are important to who we are? How does society reinforce or challenge issues such as social, economic, or political inequality through planning and organizing physical and social space? This course will introduce students to spatial ways of thinking about culture, including the interrelation-ships between power, meanings and values, ways of life, and the material things we create and use in ordinary life. By the end of this course students will be able to: define and use the concepts of space, place, and landscape to examine current social and cultural issues; demonstrate a geographic understanding of how identity and inequality are produced in society; and use spatial concepts and geographic methodologies to research a local cultural or social topic.

Dr. Sicheng Wang
T R  11:40 AM – 12:55 PM  |   Callcott 302

This course is an introduction to the principles and practice of map design. It provides the student with an understanding of the most appropriate ways of symbolizing geographic data on maps. Students develop cartographic skills through the completion of map projects using the latest Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software. Students learn how to design effective and attractive maps through lectures, demonstrations, discussions, and hands-on mapping activities. In the latter half of the course, each student completes a final mapping project, based on a topic he or she selects.

Dr. Kirstin Dow
M W  02:20 PM – 03:35 PM  |  Callcott 101

This course examines the relationship between society and the environment, that is, relations between culture, power, and environmental change. The course not only addresses themes of environmental degradation, but also considers the history and culture of environmental protection. In this regard, we will explore ideas of nature, such as frontier wilderness and biodiversity, and analyze the ways ideas of nature have influenced national identity, urban planning, and the branding and consumption of goods. In our approach to issues of environmental degradation we will examine the wider relations of power and economic production that drive environmental change, while critically examining popular framings of environmental problems and solutions. In situating issues of environmental degradation and protection in their wider political, cultural, and historical context, this course helps students develop and apply critical thinking skills towards the environment and their place within it. 

Dr. Caroline Nagel
T R  02:50 PM – 04:05 PM  |  Callcott 112 

This class explores city life in the United States. We begin by examining the historical development of cities in the US, focusing on how industrialization processes, race/class/gender, and changing transportation technologies shape U.S. cities. We will ask, what makes a city a city, what makes urbanism a distinct way of life, and what type of city do we want to live in? This class will draw on cutting-edge research in cultural and urban geography to explore relationships between the urban political-economy and urban social life.  We will look in detail at the experiences of different social groups in cities, especially those defined on the basis of race, class, and/or gender. How do social relationships and identities become inscribed in urban space? And what are the ways in which different groups experience the city and enforce/contest power relations through their uses of space? Topics covered include: the politics of urban planning and zoning, transportation, gentrification, segregation, sprawl, and public space. 

Dr. Cuizhen (Susan) Wang
T R  01:15 PM – 02:30 PM  |  Callcott 302

This course introduces the basics of aerial photography including radiant energy, properties of the photographic image, photo geometry, photogrammetric measurement, photo acquisition, and interpretation of aerial photographs.  Emphasis is placed on practical training in an effort to make the student a competent user of air photos for a variety of geographic and multidisciplinary applications. No previous technical experience is needed. Basic knowledge of ArcGIS will help in lab exercises but is not required.

Dr. Cary Mock
T R  02:50 PM – 04:05 PM  |  Callcott 101

This course explores interrelationships between climate systems and human activities and asks how climate changes can impact social, economic, and political life. Selected case studies will cover past climatic changes, contemporary global warming, climate determinism, and climatic hazards such as hurricanes, fire, and severe drought.

Dr. R. Dean Hardy
T R  11:40 AM – 12:55 PM  |  Callcott 202

Water quenches thirst, sustains crops, generates power, cools industry, carries waste, and maintains ecosystems. Each of these functions has its own issues relating to distribution and access that play out locally, nationally, and globally. This course uses cases studies from around the world to explore the political dynamics of water distribution and access, paying particular attention to questions of justice, equity, and sustainability.

Dr. John Kupfer
T R  10:05 AM – 11:20 AM  |  Callcott 101

Biogeography involves mapping and understanding the distributions of plants and animals today and reconstructing those in the past using a range of analytical techniques, including geographic information systems, genetic analysis, dendro­chronology (the study of tree rings) and palynology (the study of pollen to reconstruct past climates). Biogeographers also conduct research on how physical and biological factors control distributions of plants and animals and study how geographic distributions affect the evolution and extinction of species. In recent years, biogeographers have been involved in applying their knowledge to the protection of rare and endangered species and the conservation and management of threatened ecosystems. This course is broken down into 3 modules. The first module focuses on ecological concepts; the second module deals with the importance of evolutionary processes and biogeographic changes in geologic time, and the final module examines the development of modern distributions of plant and animal species 
and contemporary issues in biogeography such as conservation and land management.

Section 001: M W  02:20 PM – 03:35 PM  |  Online – Synchronous
Section 002: M W  03:55 PM – 05:10 PM  |  Online – Synchronous 

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) represent a major advancement in the management and analysis of geographical data. These systems are used extensively throughout all levels of government, private industry, and academia to provide support for place-based decision-making and problem-solving. Principles and methods of Geographic Information Systems are presented with an emphasis on modeling the Earth and abstracting geographical data; collecting geographical data using modern techniques such as GPS; mapping information; and analyzing spatial patterns and relationships. Practical experience with GIS is provided during the lab exercises using a state-of-the-art GIS. Students are provided free copies of the GIS software. There are no prerequisites for this course.

Dr. Cary Mock
T R  01:15 PM – 02:30 PM  |  Callcott 101 

The purpose of the course is to present the basic concepts and processes as they relate to tropical climatology and hurricanes.  It covers weather basics at large geographic scales encompassing climate processes that relate to the entire tropics, and then progressing to smaller regional spatial scales such as those dealing with monsoon climates, followed by tropical climate forcings such as the El Nino-Southern Oscillation.  Tropical cyclones and hurricane topics include the structure and characteristics, followed by hurricane forecasting techniques and then various aspects of hurricane climatology.  Tropical weather forecast discussions, following a format routinely used by the National Hurricane Center and utilizing real-time weather information, will reinforce important concepts learned in lecture.

Contract approved by instructor, advisor, and department chair is required for undergraduate students.

Dr. Caroline Nagel
T  04:25 PM – 07:10 PM  |  Callcott 112

Research methods and projects; restricted to students with at least 15 hours of credit in geography.

Research on a significant geography problem in the local environment. Emphasis will be on the development of relatively individualized experiences in scientific investigation.

Senior research thesis on a problem of fundamental geographic significance, supervised by faculty member; must include a written final project report.

Dr. Carl Dahlman
T R  10:05 AM – 11:20 AM  |  Callcott 112

Concepts of space and power and their relationship to polities, elections, geopolitics, identities, law, economics, populations, and civil society.

Dr. Susan Cutter
M W  08:05 AM – 09:20 AM  |  Callcott 102

Most parts of the world are at risk from environmental hazards, although to differing degrees. This course introduces you to the nature, impact, and social responses to environmental hazards from local to global scales. We will focus on the relationship between society, technology, and nature in trying to understand what makes people and places vulner­able to hazards, and which characteristics make them resilient. We will also examine hazards man­agement and relevant public policies covering pre­paredness, post-disaster recovery, and mitigation. The major goals of the course are 1) to examine the impacts of hazards on society over time and space; 2) to assess various responses to disasters (relief, recovery, reconstruction, mitigation) by individuals and society; 3) to understand the evolution of and current status of hazards policy; and 4) to analyze hazard data and evaluate the relative hazardousness of places. Grades are based on exams and written assignments. 

Prerequisite: GEOG 330 (Geography of Disasters), or its equivalent.

Dr. Zhenlong Li
M W  02:20 PM – 03:35 PM  |  Callcott 302 

How do the flu activities in South Carolina vary over space? Are the activities randomly scattered through- out the state, or are there discernible geographic patterns? What are the effects of socioeconomic status on the evacuation decision making during Hurricane Matthew? What counties attracted the most visitors along the totality path during the Great American Eclipse and why? Answering these questions needs to make use of quantitative methods (or statistical analysis) with geographic data. This course is for advanced undergraduates or graduate students in Geography and related disciplines who want to gain necessary spatial statistical analysis knowledge and skills for geographic research. Each student will be given opportunities to apply these techniques to geo- graphical datasets, with practice involving use of computer-based exercises, homework assignments, and written examinations. The course assumes knowledge of basic algebra. The course is not about how to solve equations, but rather focuses on applications.

Dr. Zhenlong Li
M W  03:55 PM – 05:10 PM  |  Callcott 302

How can a computer system distinguish between geographical features, or tell when those features overlap?  How can we develop algorithms to extract information from spatial data? How can we automate computing tasks to solve a complex spatial problems? This course explains how to solve basic spatial questions through computer programming. With this course, students will 1) learn to develop fundamental programming skills with Python; 2) apply programming skills to visualize and analyze spatial data; 2) gain practical experience in designing and developing tools to solve specific spatial problems and 3) become familiar with principles of popular GIS data models and algorithms, and the internal operations of GIS software. Prior experience with programming languages such as Python, Java, C++, Perl and VBA is helpful but not required. Hands-on programming exercises will accompany most of the lectures to help students gain programming experience and to enhance understanding of key concepts and techniques.

Dr. Jerry Mitchell
T R  11:40 AM – 12:55 PM  |  Callcott 101

Geography defines itself not by its subject matter, but rather by its perspective or worldview. Geography is content-driven, graphically rich, technologically sophisticated, and applicable to other subject areas. This course helps teachers and prospective teachers acquire geographic knowledge and skills needed to understand the spatial characteristics and interactions of important physical, demographic, cultural, political, and economic systems. Students enrolled in this course will acquire theoretical and practical knowledge of geographic philosophy and methods, and will be able to use geographic knowledge and methods in pedagogic contexts. 

The student will learn to: 

  • Use historical, cultural, and geopolitical contexts to analyze social and environmental issues at all scales
  • Apply the principles of the natural sciences to contemporary issues
  • Use technology to understand spatial relationships
  • Incorporate geographic concepts within the K-12 classroom
  • Complete a lesson plan that engages K-12 students in spatial thinking

T R  02:50 PM – 04:05 PM  |  Callcott 302

This course presents geographical and temporal modeling concepts using GIS modeling languages and techniques. Practical laboratory experience with state-of-the-art software and hardware will be used. Material covered will include the cartographic modeling language concepts by Tomlin, deterministic and statistical models, coupled/embedded approaches for modeling implementations, and calibration/validation techniques. By the end of the course, students should be able to make informed decisions about the appropriate conceptual model, scale of analysis, and GIS implementation strategy for geographical modeling problems. Students will also be able to implement a variety of embedded models using ArcGIS and Python/Model Builder. Application examples in the course includes physical processes (e.g., hydrology, toxic-releases, flora mapping, animal behavior) and human-environment interaction (e.g., hazards, facility siting, accessibility, and attitudes-behavior). 

Prerequisites:  GEOG 363 or equivalent and some experience with a scripting language (e.g. HTML, JavaScript, Python).

Dr. Gregory Carbone
T R  08:30 AM – 09:45 AM  |  Callcott 202

Few environmental topics currently get as much attention as climate change. This course will examine climate variations from the recent past and those projected to occur in 21st century. We will explore potential causes of climate variability and change using both the observed record and projections from climate models. We will examine change at global, continental, and regional scales, and from interannual variability to longer-term changes. Specific topics will include: the climate system, radiative forcing, feedbacks and climate sensitivity, the recently observed temperature record, climate extremes, El Niño/Southern Oscillation, North Atlantic and Pacific decadal changes, seasonal to interannual forecasts, and decadal prediction. The course will involve a combination of lectures, student presentations, and interactive computer exercises involving computer model output and observed data sets. The final grade will be based on one mid-term exam, take-home assignments, and presentations.

Dr. Cuizhen (Susan) Wang
R  04:25 PM – 07:10 PM  |  Callcott 302

This course is about information extraction and land use/land cover (LULC) mapping with remote sensing imagery. Emphasis is placed on computer-assisted digital image processing, including image radiometric/atmospheric/geometric correction, spatial and spectral transformation, land use/land cover classification, and change detection. Via lectures, hands-on exercises and class projects, students will gain marketable skills of geospatial applications in agricultural, environmental, forestry, wetland and urban/transportation studies. 
Pre-requisite: GEOG551 or instructor consent.

Dr. Cuizhen (Susan) Wang

The internship in geography helps students acquire valuable "on the job" experience and develop marketable job skills as well as learn about employment opportunities and requirements. Students serve as interns with cooperating government agencies, or commercial and nonprofit businesses. A special effort is made to assign each intern to a position compatible with his/her interests, abilities, and career aspirations. The course must be taken for a grade to receive degree credit. Grades are determined in consultation with supervisory personnel in hosting agency. Grades are based on the performance of internship duties and the preparation of an internship summary report.

Instructor approval and a signed Internship Contract required.

Directed research topics individually assigned and supervised by graduate faculty. May be repeated for credit.

Dr. Kirstin Dow
M  09:40 AM – 12:10 PM  |  Callcott 228

Review of recent geographic literature on nature-society interactions with an emphasis on identifying research themes and methodologies employed by contemporary geographers.

Prerequisites: GEOG 530 or GEOG 568.

Dr. Meredith DeBoom
F  09:40 AM – 12:10 PM  |  Callcott 228

Approved by instructor and with department permission.
Thesis preparation research topics individually assigned and supervised by graduate faculty.

Advanced directed research by a Ph.D. student on geographical topics to be individually supervised by graduate faculty. This course may be taken for 1–3 credit hours of independent study by a student working closely with a faculty member on a specific research project to be defined and agreed upon between the student and a supervising faculty member.

Approved by instructor and with department permission.
Dissertation preparation research topic is individually assigned and supervised by graduate faculty.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.