College of Liberal Arts USC


 Graduate Index

David J. Cowen, Chair of the Department


    David J. Cowen, Ph.D., Ohio State University, 1971
    Carolina Distinguished Professor
    Susan L. Cutter, Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1976
    Carolina Distinguished Professor
    Patricia P. Gilmartin, Ph.D., University of Kansas, 1980
    William L. Graf, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 1974
    Educational Foundation Professor
    Robert L. Janiskee, Ph.D., University of Illinois, 1974
    John R. Jensen, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 1976
    Carolina Distinguished Professor
    Charles F. Kovacik, Ph.D., Michigan State University, 1970
    Robert E. Lloyd, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, 1974
    Julian V. Minghi, Ph.D., University of Washington, 1962
    Lisle S. Mitchell, Ph.D., Ohio State University, 1967
    Theodore R. Steinke, Ph.D., University of Kansas, 1979
    John J. Winberry, Ph.D., Louisiana State University, 1971
    Associate Dean of The Graduate School

Associate Professors

    Gregory J. Carbone, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 1990
    Michael E. Hodgson, Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 1987
    John F. Jakubs, Ph.D., Ohio State University, 1974, Graduate Director
    L. Allan James, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 1988

Assistant Professors

    Carl T. Dahlman, Ph.D., University of Kentucky, 2001
    Kirstin Dow, Ph.D., Clark University, 1996
    Blake Gumprecht, Ph.D., University of Oklahoma, 2000
    Cary J. Mock, Ph.D., University of Oregon, 1994
    Helen C. Power, Ph.D., University of Delaware, 1999

Distinguished Professor Emeritus

    Paul E. Lovingood, Jr. Ph.D., University of North Carolina, 1962
    Julian V. Minghi, Ph.D., University of Washington, 1962
    William R. Stanley, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 1966

Professor Emeritus

    Allen D. Bushong, Ph.D., University of Florida, 1961


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 emphasis reflect faculty interest and competence and include cartography; cultural-historical, economic, environmental, physical, political, recreational, and urban geography; geographic education; geographic information systems; and remote sensing. Programs of study lead to the Ph.D., M.A., M.S., M.A.T., and I.M.A. degrees. 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 Remote Sensing Laboratory, the Hazards Research Laboratory, the Center for Excellence in Geographic Education, and the South Carolina Geographic Alliance. In addition, the department has strong linkages with the Southeast Regional Climate Center and the Geographic Information Systems function of the College of Liberal Arts Computing Laboratory.


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; a transcript of all previous academic work; GRE results (verbal and quantitative sections); and a Graduate Application Summary form, available from the department. Scores for the TOEFL exam must be submitted by applicants for whom English is not the primary language. Students may enter the program at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters, although some course sequencing exists that favors fall admission. Applicants requesting financial aid beginning in the fall semester should submit completed applications by February 15; the corresponding deadline for spring semester applications is November 1. Details concerning admission can be obtained from the department’s director of graduate studies or electronically by accessing the department’s Web page at

Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. program has a core strength in geographic information processing, with concentrations in cartography, remote sensing, and geographic information systems. Students may apply their technical expertise to problems in physical, environmental, human, or regional geography. Students may select any area of interest represented by faculty strength and expertise. Details concerning specific core requirements, the comprehensive examination, admission to candidacy, and the dissertation can be obtained from the department’s graduate director.

The M.A. and M.S. programs each require a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate work. The graduate course work in geography must include at least one course in each of the following areas: physical/environmental, human/regional, technical. The thesis is a normal component of each student’s program, but there is a nonthesis option (minimum of 37 semester hours) in the geographic techniques area. This option requires the acceptance of one research paper as an alternative to a traditional thesis. The nonthesis track normally is considered to result in a terminal degree. All candidates must pass a comprehensive examination. Competence in a foreign language is not required unless a student plans to do research on or in a foreign area.

The M.A.T. degree requires 33 semester hours of graduate-level course work including 15 credits in professional graduate education and 18 credits in the teaching content area. Eligibility for admission is limited to those persons seeking initial certification. Additionally, candidates must complete South Carolina requirements for a Class I professional certification in the teaching content area and in professional education. Thus, candidates must complete additional course work in professional education and/or their teaching content area at the undergraduate and graduate levels as necessary.

The I.M.A. degree for secondary-school teachers is designed for college graduates who already hold a professional certificate in the teaching field in which they wish to earn the master’s degree or who are academically certifiable by virtue of course work previously earned. Upon completion of the I.M.A. degree program, recipients will be eligible for a South Carolina Class I certificate in the teaching area. Major emphasis in this program is placed on course work in the teaching area. The I.M.A. degree requires 33 hours of graduate-level course work consisting of nine credits in professional education, 21 credits in the teaching area, and three credits in an elective course that addresses current issues and concerns of teachers.

Course Descriptions (GEOG)

  • 500–Source Materials in Geography. (3) A critical evaluation of the literature of geography (including cartography) and related literature in other disciplines. The growth and structure of geographic literature and the flow patterns of geographic information are also examined.
  • 509–Industrial Location. (3) Theories of industrial location and their application to geographic problems. Explanations of locational patterns of extractive, manufacturing, and service industries.
  • 510–Systematic Geography. (3) Spatial analysis of selected geographical phenomena.
  • 511–Planning and Locational Analysis. (3) Scientific approaches to locational problems in urban and regional planning, including regional growth and decline, land use control, public facility location and provision, and locational efficiency.
  • 512–Advanced Cultural Geography. (3) Concepts of cultural geography with emphasis on the composition, formation, and interpretation of the cultural landscape.
  • 514–Geography of Ports and Shipping. (3) The internal morphology and functional organization of ports, as well as port classification, unique relationship to changing hinterlands and forelands, and future prospects in the light of new types of ships and cargo handling. Shipping routes and significance of world shipbuilding patterns as they relate to port activity. A one-day field trip to Charleston, Savannah, or Wilmington is required of all students.
  • 515–Seminar in Political and Military Geography. (3) In-depth study of aspects of geography related to (a) the political expression of national states and (b) the planning, evolution, and outcome of selected military campaigns and battles.
  • 516–Coastal Zone Management. (3) 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.
  • 520–Advanced Study in Regional Geography. (3) Intensive work on chorographic size areas of the earth.
  • 521–Landscapes of South Carolina. (3) An examination of the factors responsible for creating the contemporary South Carolina cultural landscape.
  • 530–Environmental Hazards. (3) 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.
  • 531–Quantitative Methods in Geographic Research. (3) A survey of basic quantitative approaches for handling and interpreting geographically related data; univariate and bivariate procedures applicable to a variety of problems.
  • 541–Advanced Cartography. (3) (Prereq: GEOG 341 or consent of instructor) 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.
  • 542–Field Methods in Geographic Inquiry. (3) The sources and quality of data, sampling procedures, questionnaires, and mapping techniques used by geographers in fieldwork; collecting information through field study. Open to all students; no specific preparation required. One lecture and four laboratory hours per week.
  • 543–Computer Mapping. (3) Automated techniques to portray data spatially. Analysis of grid, polygon, and single point techniques for thematic mapping. Study of statistical plots and graphs. Spatial and non-spatial data displays.
  • 544–Geography of the City. (3) The influence of political boundaries, historical forces, settlement patterns, and transportation processes on urban life.
  • 545–Synoptic Meteorology. (4) (Prereq: GEOG 202 or equivalent) Analysis of synoptic-scale circulation using weather maps, soundings, cross sections, thermodynamic diagrams, numerical models, and imagery.
  • 546–Applied Climatology. (4) Weather and climate in the earth/atmosphere boundary layer with applications in South Carolina. Three hours lecture and one two-hour laboratory per week.
  • 547–Fluvial Geomorphology. (3) 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.
  • 548–Landscape Ecology. (3) Analysis of the relationship between landscape structure and function. Emphasis on how ecological processes create landscape-level patterns that control the flow of matter and energy across the landscape.
  • 551–Principles of Remote Sensing. (3) 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.
  • 554–Spatial Programming. (3) Computer programming of spatial problems; spatial statistical analysis, interactive graphics, and computer maps.
  • 555–Analytical Cartography. (3) (Prereq: GEOG 554 or equivalent) Theory and application of mathematical and analytical methods to solve cartographic problems. Design of computer algorithms for the analysis and display of spatial data.
  • 560–Source Materials for Geographic Instruction. {=EDSE 505} (3) Introduction to selected materials available for all levels of instruction in geography. Emphasis on the substantive nature of the materials.
  • 561–Geographic Concepts for Teachers. (3) Basic concepts and content related to physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of place, human-environment interaction, migration, regions, and the national geography standards. Cannot be used in M.A., M.S., or Ph.D. programs in geography.
  • 562–Satellite Mapping and the Global Positioning System. (3) (Prereq: GEOG 345 or 363 or 551 or consent of instructor) 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.
  • 563–Advanced Geographic Information Systems. (3) (Prereq: GEOG 363 or equivalent) 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.
  • 564–GIS-Based Modeling. (3) 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.
  • 566–Social Aspects of Environmental Planning and Management. (3) (Prereq: GEOG 343 or consent of instructor) Geographical approach to environmental problems.
  • 568–Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change. (3) (Prereq: GEOG 343 or consent of instructor) Consequences of increasing anthropogenic changes on environmental systems including the sources of change, regional impacts, and social and policy responses.
  • 569–Environment and Development. {=ANTH 569} (3) (Prereq: consent of instructor) Examination of development theory and environmental implications of social and economic change. Study of general theoretical perspectives will be balanced with case study materials.
  • 571–Microclimatology. (4) (Prereq: GEOG 202 or consent of instructor) Field techniques and processes in the atmospheric boundary layer including radiation, soil heat fluxes, turbulence, momentum, latent and sensible heat fluxes, moisture, and evaporation.
  • 573–Climatic Change and Variability. (3) (Prereq: GEOG 202 or equivalent) 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.
  • 595–Internship in Geography. (3—6) (Prereq: contract approved by departmental internship program director) Internships in various government agencies and industry under joint supervision of agency personnel and the internship program director. Maximum credit six units; three credits applicable to a master’s degree. Pass-Fail.
  • 701–History of Geographic Thought. (3) A survey of the development of geographic philosophy and an analysis of geographic methodology.
  • 705–Directed Individual Studies in Geography. (1—3) Directed research topics individually assigned and supervised by graduate faculty. May be repeated for credit.
  • 706–Selected Topics in Cartography and Remote Sensing. (1—3) 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.
  • 709–Women Explorers and Travelers. {=WOST 709} (3) Examines in geographical and historical contexts the activities of various women travelers and explorers.
  • 710–Systematic Geography for Teachers. (3) Maps, cartography, and the spatial characteristics and interactions of physical, demographic, cultural, political, and economic systems. Emphasis on concepts and their application to spatial analysis. Cannot be used in M.A., M.S., or Ph.D. programs in geography.
  • 711–Seminar in Regional Geography. (3) An analysis of the total geographic complex of selected major world regions.
  • 712–Urban Geography. (3) An investigation into the concepts of the urban field and the urban region.
  • 713–Advanced Economic Geography. (3) Investigation into the locational aspects and the spatial systems of selected economic activities, from both regional and systematic viewpoints.
  • 720–World Regional Geography for Teachers. (3) 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.
  • 721–Seminar in Systematic Geography. (3) 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.
  • 723–The Geography of Recreation. (3) An investigation into the spatial aspects of recreational activity with special emphasis on the public sector.
  • 724–Seminar in Geography of Latin America. (3) A seminar on selected topics in the geography of Latin America.
  • 725–Seminar in Geography of Europe. (3) Selected topics in geography of contemporary European problems.
  • 726–Seminar in Geography of the Middle East and Africa. (3) A seminar on selected topics in the geography of the Middle East and Africa.
  • 730–Seminar in Environmental Geography. (3) (Prereq: GEOG 530 or GEOG 568) Review of recent geographic literature on nature-society interactions with an emphasis on identifying research themes and methodologies employed by contemporary geographers.
  • 731–Seminar in Quantitative Analysis in Geography. (3) (Prereq: GEOG 531 or equivalent) 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 and prepare brief summaries of their interpretation.
  • 734–Field Seminar in Third World Development Projects. (6) (Prereq: permission of instructor) The student works in a developing country for two to four months on projects designed by instructor and funded by the host country.
  • 735–Seminar in Political Geography. (3)
  • 737–Seminar in Spatial Cognition. (3) Selected topics in spatial cognition.
  • 740–Research Trends in Geography. (1) Seminar in the research aims and techniques in the field of geography. (Pass-Fail Grading)
  • 741–Seminar in Cartography. (3) A seminar to familiarize students with current experimental techniques, literature, and research topics in cartography.
  • 746–Seminar in Climatology. (3) Major theories, measures of climatic change and variability, climate models, statistical analysis, and climate impacts.
  • 747–Seminar in Physical Geography. (3) Investigation of physical systems and processes at the earth’s surface. Topics vary: landforms, hydrology, pedology, biogeography, quaternary science, human impacts on physical systems.
  • 748–Geomorphology from Space. (3) (Prereq: GEOG 547 or GEOL 501 or a course in landforms, or consent of instructor)Intrepretation of geomorphic forms from small-scale imagery. Skills include landform identification and the inference of genesis, physical processes, and internal structures of landforms at all scales.
  • 751–Digital Techniques of Remote Sensing. (3) (Prereq: GEOG 551 and course in computer programming or consent of instructor) 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.
  • 763–Seminar in Geographic Information Systems. (3) (Prereq: GEOG 563) 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.
  • 789–Area Analysis: Europe, the Latin American Republics, Asia, or the United States. {=DMSB 704 and GINT 789} (3—6) 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 Master in International Business Studies program.
  • 799–Thesis Preparation. (1—9)
  • 801–Contemporary Approaches to Geography. (3) Foundations of contemporary issues in geography.
  • 805–Directed Individual Studies in Geographic Information Processing. (3) Directed research topics in geographical information processing to be individually supervised by graduate faculty.
  • 811–Advanced Seminar in Regional Geography. (3) Advanced reading and discussion of the physical, economic, social and/or cultural geography of major selected world regions.
  • 830–Advanced Seminar in Environmental Geography. (3) (Prereq: GEOG 730) A research seminar where students critically evaluate relevant literature, develop a research proposal, and complete a related research project in environmental geography.
  • 841–Advanced Seminar in Cartography. (3) A topic central to cartography will be studied. Students will critically evaluate pertinent literature, develop a research proposal, and complete a related research project.
  • 847–Advanced Seminar in Physical Geography. (3) (Prereq: GEOG 547 or GEOG 746) Research and discussion on various topics in physical geography. Literature varies with seminar topic but will include prevailing theories, data types, and modelling strategies in climatology, meteorology, hydrology, biogeography, soils, or geomorphology.
  • 851–Advanced Seminar in Remote Sensing. (3) 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.
  • 863–Advanced Seminar in Geographic Information Systems. (3) 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.
  • 899–Dissertation Preparation. (1—12)

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