Jerry Mitchell, Chair
The Department of Geography offers training in fundamental geographic skills and the opportunity for advanced study and research in a variety of fields within the discipline. Areas of faculty interest and competence include economic, human-environmental, physical, political, , and urban geography; geographic education; geographic information science; global positioning systems; and remote sensing. Programs of study lead to the Ph.D., M.A., and M.S. in geography. The department has a strong record of success in graduate placement in private- and public-sector careers as well as in the academic sphere. To assist in its educational role, the department administers the Center for GIS and Remote Sensing, the Hazards Research Laboratory, the Center for Excellence in Geographic Education, and the climate and decision-making program, the Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments.
For the master’s degree programs, the department does not require an applicant to have an undergraduate major in geography; rather, it requires evidence of general intellectual ability and a compelling interest in geography. For the Doctor of Philosophy program, a master’s degree in geography is normally required. Applicants for all degree programs must submit a brief statement of career goals and probable field(s) of study; at least two letters of recommendation from individuals who have personal knowledge of the applicant’s academic experience and abilities; transcripts of all previous academic work; GRE results; and a Graduate Application Summary form, available from the department. Applicants whose native language is not English are also required to submit a satisfactory score on the TOEFL, the IELTS International Academic Course Type 2 exam, or the PTE Academic English proficiency tests. Information on scores is available through the Graduate School Admissions page. The Graduate School does not require TOEFL scores for students who have completed or working on an undergraduate or graduate-level degree from a U.S. university; however, the department prefers to see scores if they are available. . Students are encouraged to enter the program at the beginning of the fall. Applicants requesting financial aid beginning in the fall semester must submit completed applications by January 15; Spring admissions are considered under exceptional circumstances no later than October 15th. Details concerning admission can be obtained from the department’s graduate director or electronically by accessing the department’s Web page at https://www.sc.edu/study/colleges_schools/artsandsciences/geography/index.php .
Selected topics of special interest in geography. May be repeated as content varies by title.
A survey of the political, economic, and social causes and consequences of migration. Topics include immigration policy, border control, settlement patterns, transnationalism, multiculturalism, and integration. Selected contemporary and historical cases.
Concepts of space and power and their relationship to polities, elections, geopolitics, identities, law, economics, populations, and civil society.
Analysis of the competing demands for limited resources in the coastal zone with emphasis on the role of management in the resolution of conflicts over resource use.
Graduation with Leadership Distinction: GLD: Professional and Civic Engagement Internships
A discussion-based seminar course that examines nature-society relations in coastal regions globally. The course will use social theory to understand how uneven development processes shaped – and continue shaping – current coastlines. We will explore key topics including coastal capitalism, delta ecologies, and climate justice via several global case studies.
Cross-listed course: ENVR 517
An examination of the factors responsible for creating the contemporary South Carolina cultural landscape.
Analysis of transportation systems and the application of geographic tools to transportation planning.
Human and environmental contributions to the generation and management of hazards originating from extreme natural events to technological failures. Contemporary public policy issues at the national and international level.
A survey of basic quantitative approaches for handling and interpreting geographically related data; univariate and bivariate procedures applicable to a variety of problems.
Examination of the geo-spatial aspects of hazards analysis and planning with specific reference to disaster preparedness, recover, mitigation, and resilience.
Political, social, and cultural landscapes of food and farming around the world; issues of agricultural production, trade, consumption, and food security.
Cross-listed course: ENVR 538
Planning, compiling, constructing, and evaluating thematic maps. Theory and practice in scribing, separation and screening, color proofing, and map reproduction. Discussions of the process of map communication and the ways the cartographer can improve that communication.
Theories and principles of interactive and animated cartographic design.
The influence of political boundaries, historical forces, settlement patterns, and transportation processes on urban life.
Analysis of synoptic-scale circulation using weather maps, soundings, cross sections, thermodynamic diagrams, numerical models, and imagery.
Analysis of climate applications in natural and human-modified environments. Content may include water resources, solar energy, urban planning, air quality, agriculture, and tourism. Course work includes lab and field experimentation.
Introduction to landforms and processes associated with flowing water at the earth’s surface. Hydrology, sedimentology, and theories of channel formation and drainage basin evolution.
Spatial variation of hydrology, water quality, and water-related hazards, including runoff generation, soil erosion, sedimentation, and flood hazards. Emphasizes a watershed perspective using geographic data and methods.
Introduction to remote sensing. A variety of imaging systems including black and white, color, and high altitude color infrared photographs, LANDSAT, thermal infrared, and active microwave. Use of remote sensing for studying the extra-terrestrial environment and earth weather systems.
Computer programming of spatial problems; spatial statistical analysis, interactive graphics, and computer maps.
Web-based Geographic Information Systems (WebGIS), including concepts and principles of WebGIS, web programming fundamentals, web-based mapping techniques, and developing WebGIS applications.
Introduction to selected materials available for all levels of instruction in geography. Emphasis on the substantive nature of the materials.
Cross-listed course: EDSE 505
Key concepts of geography and current approaches to teaching geography with specific attention to classroom materials, curriculum reform, cross-curricular integration, learning theory, and the use of geospatial/instructional technology.
Technology and use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS). GPS space segment, receiver technologies, range observables, and positioning accuracy. Applications to large/medium scale mapping, remote sensing, and aerial photography.
Theory and application of geographic information systems including discussions of automated input, storage, analysis, integration, and display of spatial data. Use of an operational geographic information system.
Geographical information systems for modeling physical/human processes in space and time using raster and vector data. Cartographic modeling concepts, embedded models, and GIS-model coupling.
Geographical approach to environmental problems.
Climatic changes of the past and their impact on the physical landscape, with an emphasis on the Quaternary period.
Cross-listed course: GEOL 567
Consequences of increasing anthropogenic changes on environmental systems including the sources of change, regional impacts, and social and policy responses.
Intersections of international development and environmental change; study of general theoretical perspectives balanced with case studies from the Global South.
Cross-listed course: ANTH 569
Graduation with Leadership Distinction: GLD: Diversity and Social Advocacy, GLD: Global Learning
Geography of public land, water, and related public trust resources (wildlife, timber, minerals, fuels, recreation, wetlands, coastal zones, wilderness); historical geography of policy; spatial aspects of current research and management.
Field techniques and processes in the atmospheric boundary layer including radiation, soil heat fluxes, turbulence, momentum, latent and sensible heat fluxes, moisture, and evaporation.
Observations and theories of climatic change and variability as they occur at different space and time scales. Projections of future climates. Techniques used in climatic change research and impact analysis.
Introduction to digital image processing techniques and applications. Image correction, enhancement, spatial and spectral transformation. Land use/land cover classification, and change detection.
This course examines cultural understandings of and responses to globalization, examining topics such as its history and theories, migration, economic integration and inequality, identity, social movements, and the environment.
Cross-listed course: ANTH 581
Graduation with Leadership Distinction: GLD: Global Learning
Influence of wind on coastal systems, with emphasis on nearshore currents, sediment transport and bedforms, aeolian transport, and dunes. Minimum Junior standing required.
Cross-listed course: MSCI 590
Internship in government agencies, private-sector businesses, and non-profit organizations under the joint supervision of sponsor and departmental. A maximum of three credits may be applied to undergraduate Geography major or to Geography master's degree. May be repeated to a maximum of six credits.
Graduation with Leadership Distinction: GLD: Professional and Civic Engagement Internships
Experiential Learning: Experiential Learning Opportunity
A survey of the development of geographic philosophy and an analysis of geographic methodology.
Directed research topics individually assigned and supervised by graduate faculty. May be repeated for credit.
Special topics are offered in the form of short courses, seminars, and workshops. Students may take these offerings, by permission of the instructor, for variable credit. The course may be taken more than once.
Examines in geographical and historical contexts the activities of various women travelers and explorers.
Cross-listed course: WGST 709
Review of recent literature on geography education with an emphasis on the national geography standards, spatial thinking and the use of geospatial technology in pedagogic contexts.
An analysis of the total geographic complex of selected major world regions.
An investigation into the concepts of the urban field and the urban region.
Investigation into the locational aspects and the spatial systems of selected economic activities, from both regional and systematic viewpoints.
The physical and human geography of major world regions with emphasis on basic principles of regional geography. Cannot be used in M.A., M.S., or Ph.D. programs in geography.
Studies of the characteristics, processes, and distributions over the world of the different cultural and physical environmental elements, such as economic, political, or social activities, climate and landforms.
Advanced quantitative approaches for handling and interpreting geographically related data. Multivariate procedures applicable to a variety of problems will be presented. For each topic the students will analyze data relating to their individual interests.
The student works in a developing country for two to four months on projects designed by instructor and funded by the host country.
Selected topics in spatial cognition.
Seminar on research trends and writing research proposals in geography.
A seminar to familiarize students with current experimental techniques, literature, and research topics in cartography.
Major theories, measures of climatic change and variability, climate models, statistical analysis, and climate impacts.
Investigation of physical systems and processes at the earth’s surface. Topics vary; landforms, hydrology, pedology, biogeography, quaternary science, human impacts on physical systems.
Introduction to the fundamental principles and methods of digital image processing of remotely sensed data. Algorithms are discussed for preprocessing, enhancement, and classification mapping of digital data for agricultural, urban, geological, and environmental problems.
Satellite-based information extraction; programming skills for digital image processing; self-developed modeling approaches; quantitative analysis of remote sensing data.
Theory and application of modern automated approaches to handling geographic data. Includes computer oriented procedures for the input, analysis and display of spatial data. Areas covered range from census address matching to statewide natural resource systems.
To provide the student with a substantial understanding and familiarity with the region of specialization; a multidisciplinary approach with an emphasis on geographic, political, and economic issues most significant for each region. Offered for the International Master of Business Administration program.
A survey of (1) the philosophical and intellectual foundations of Geography as a discipline, and (2) contemporary ideas and debates in major subfields of geographic research.
Advanced directed research by a PhD 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.
Reading intensive seminar focused on conceptual frontiers and methodological debates in contemporary human geography with a secondary emphasis on intradisciplinary and cross-disciplinary affinities.
Advanced reading and discussion of the physical, economic, social and/or cultural geography of major selected world regions.
A research seminar where students critically evaluate relevant literature, develop a research proposal, and complete a related research project in environmental geography.
A topic central to cartography will be studied. Students will critically evaluate pertinent literature, develop a research proposal, and complete a related research project.
Advanced reading and discussion in the following areas - 1) the theoretical bases of remote sensing; 2) remote sensing of biophysical variables such as plant and soil temperatures and moisture content; 3) advanced principles of optical and digital image processing; and 4) economic aspects of remote sensing of the environment.
A research seminar in which students conduct a detailed analysis of specific aspects of geographical data handling. This will include the design, implementation, and management of an operational geographical information system.