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UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA 2007-2008 graduate bulletin
graduate bulletin index

updated 8/15/2007


William L. Graf, Chair

David J. Cowen, Ph.D., Ohio State University, 1971, Carolina Distinguished Professor
Susan L. Cutter, Ph.D., University of Chicago, 1976, Carolina Distinguished Professor
William L. Graf, Ph.D, University of Wisconsin, 1974, Educational Foundation Professor
Michael E. Hodgson, Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 1987
L. Allan James, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 1988

John R. Jensen, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 1976, Carolina Distinguished Professor

Associate Professors
Gregory J. Carbone, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 1990
Kirstin Dow, Ph.D., Clark University, 1996
John F. Jakubs, Ph.D., Ohio State University, 1974
John A. Kupfer, Ph.D., University of Iowa, 1995
Cary Mock, Ph.D., University of Oregon, 1994

Assistant Professors
Sarah E. Battersby, Ph.D., University of California at Santa Barbara, 2006
Edward R. Carr, Ph.D., Syracuse University, 2001, University of Kentucky, 2002
Melanie Feakins, D.Phil., Oxford University, 2001
Monica G. Fisher, Ph.D., Purdue University, 2002
Diansheng Guo, Ph.D., Pennsylvanie State University, 2003
Frank Hardisty, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University 2003
Amy Mills, Ph.D., University of Texas, 2004

Caroline R. Nagel, Ph.D., University of Colorado, 1998


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 cartography and visualization; cultural-historical, economic, environmental, physical, political, recreational, 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 and the M.A.T. in social studies (geography option). 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 South Carolina Geographic Alliance. In addition, the department has strong linkages with the Southeast Regional Climate Center.


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 or the IELTS Intl. Academic Course Type 2 exam. The minimum acceptable score on the TOEFL is 230 (computer-based) or 570 (paper-based). The minimum acceptable overall band score on the IELTS Intl. Academic Course Type 2 exam is 6.5. 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 must 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 graduate director or electronically by accessing the department's Web page at www.cas.sc.edu/geog.

Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. program has a core strength in geographic information processing (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, including a maximum of 6 hours of GEOG 799. 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.

Information about the M.A.T. in Social Studies (Geography Option) is available at www.ite.sc.edu/ite/secmat.html.

Course Descriptions (GEOG)

  • 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.
  • 515 -- Political Geography. (3) Concepts of space and power and their relationship to polities, elections, geopolitics, identities, law, economics, populations, and civil society.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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) 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.
  • 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.
  • 549 -- Water and Watersheds. (3) (Prereq: GEOG 347, GEOL 371, or ECIV 360) 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.
  • 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.
  • 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) 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.
  • 567 -- Long Term Environmental Change. {=GEOL 567} (3) (Prereq: A 200-level course in physical geography or geology or equivalent) Climatic changes of the past and their impact on the physical landscape, with an emphasis on the Quaternary period.
  • 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.
  • 581 -- Globalization and Cultural Questions. {=ANTH 581} (3) 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.
  • 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 on research trends and writing research proposals in geography.
  • 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. {=MIBS 704 and POLI 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 International Master of Business Administration 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.
  • 810 -- Advanced Seminar in Human Geography. (3) (Prereq: any 700-level GEOG seminar course or permission of instructor) Reading intensive seminar focused on conceptual frontiers and methodological debates in contemporary human geography with a secondary emphasis on intradisciplinary and cross-disciplinary affinities.
  • 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 modeling 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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