Department of Geography and the Environment

GRG 301C • The Natural Environment

37015-37055 • Ramos, Carlos
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM PAI 3.02
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Geomorphic processes that shape the earth's surface; origin and evolution of landforms. Groundwater and water resources. Pedogenesis and soil properties. 

Designed to accommodate 100 or more students.

A one-day field trip to be arranged.

GRG 301K • Weather And Climate

37060 • Kimmel, Troy
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM JES A121A
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An introductory look at weather and climate, this course will include a thorough discussion of atmospheric processes, clouds, precipitation (types), air masses, frontal boundaries, introductory discussions of severe local storms (and their offspring) and tropical cyclones as well as the climatology of these weather systems. Also included will be a brief introduction to the Koppen Climatic Classification System along with discussions of climatological processes, regimes, and climate change.

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GRG 302P • Creating Sustnble Societies

37063 • Swearingen, William
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM CPE 2.214
(also listed as SOC 304)
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The course will offer students an overview of sustainability as something human beings must strive to create in an era of global warming and ever greater social inequalities; both between countries and within countries.   The focus of the course will revolve around the core issues of sustainability:  what does sustainability mean?  Why do we need to remake human societies in more sustainable ways?  And what does social equity have to do with sustainability?  One of the problems we have in teaching about sustainability today is our focus on two of the "E's" without much attention to the third.  We talk mostly about Environment, secondly about Economy, and then tend to pay short shrift to Equity.  This course will address all three, but put a greater focus on Equity than is usual.  The course will be taught from a social sciences perspective, which approaches human relationships with the natural world (Environment) in the context of their relationships with each other (Environment and Equity).  Global warming (environment) is main reason we are talking about Sustainability today, but global warming is both cause and effect of our economies and inequalities.

Required Texts

Carolan, Micheal,  Society and the Environment; Pragmatic Solutions to Ecological Issues. Westview Press, 2013.

Grading Policy

There will be three essay assignments and one group project.  Each will count 25% of the grade

GRG 304E • Envir Sci: A Changing World

37065-37095 • Meyer, Thoralf
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM GEA 105
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Surveys the major global environmental concerns affecting the Earth and its residents from the perspectives of the environmental sciences. 

May be counted toward the writing flag requirement. May be counted toward the quantitative reasoning flag requirement.

Restricted to students in the Liberal Arts Honors Program.

GRG 305 • This Human World: Intro To Grg

37100-37170 • Doughty, Robin
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM WCH 1.120
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Course Description

This course focuses on learning why things are where they are and the processes that underlie spatial patterns. These processes are fundamentally cultural: they involve a complex mix of folk culture, popular culture, communication, religion, demography, industry and urbanization, so the course touches on all of these topics. The course also looks at the indications of human-induced environmental changes, including pollution, resource depletion, and the transformation of ecosystems. It concludes with an introduction to the range of career opportunities for people with training in geography.

Grading Policy

Final grades will be based on a combination of three exams (worth approximately 45% of the total grade), three projects (worth approximately 25% of the total grade) and participation (worth approximately 30% of the total grade).

GRG 307C • Introduction To Urban Studies

37175 • Heyman, Richard
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM PAR 301
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A multidisciplinary study of cities and complex urban environments; historical and contemporary issues from both national and international perspectives.

May be counted toward the cultural diversity flag requirement.

Meets core curriculum requirement for Social & Behavioral Science (I).

Same-as URB 301

GRG 326 • Regions/Cultures Of Europe

37180 • Jordan, Bella
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM BUR 220
(also listed as EUS 346, REE 345)
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This course is a systematic introduction to geography of all regions of Europe, from Iceland to Sicily and European Russia and Finland to Bretagne and Galicia. The course is based on a renowned textbook by Alexander B. Murphy, Terry G. Jordan-Bychkov and Bella Bychkova Jordan and focuses on all the major aspects of the European makeup: its physical, economic, political, and cultural geography, geolinguistics and environmental issues. A special attention is given to such issues as expansion of the European Union and NATO, problems associated with immigration and ethnic tensions, challenges of multiculturalism and integration. A significant portion of the class is dedicated to the analysis of demographic, urban and agricultural patterns. The historical perspective allows the analysis of the evolution of the European civilization during the last two millennia and resulting geographical patterns in modern Europe.

Prerequisites: upper division undergraduate students


  • Alexander B. Murphy, Terry G. Jordan-Bychkov and Bella Bychkova Jordan.  The European Culture Area: A Systematic Geography, 2009, 5th edition. Rowman and Littlefield: Lanham, Boulder, CO. Available at The Co-Op and

Grading: The final grade is based on 3 exams.

GRG 333C • Severe And Unusual Weather

37185 • Kimmel, Troy
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM CLA 0.106
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The course examines the principles and techniques of atmospheric science and the applications to the study of severe and unusual weather events and patterns. This course will include a thorough examination (often in real time through the use of the internet) of thunderstorms, tornadoes, flash floods, hailstorms, winter storms, tropical cyclones as well as drought. In addition to study of the events themselves, a look at the climatology of severe and unusual weather across the United States, Texas as well as our own south central Texas region will be undertaken. How these atmospheric events affect human beings and how people respond to these events will also be examined.

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GRG 335N • Landscape Ecology

37190 • Young, Kenneth
Meets TTH 8:00AM-9:30AM CLA 1.102
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Landscape Ecology                     


Geography 335N, Fall 2016

TTh 8-9:15 AM, CLA 1.102


Dr. Kenneth R. Young

Department of Geography and the Environment, UT-Austin; CLA 3.422; 512/232-8311


Course goals

Landscape ecology is the study of spatial patterns in Earth's biosphere and the processes that produce those patterns in landscapes, typically portions of the Earth measured in square kilometers. This interdisciplinary approach draws from ecology and geography, but is also a perspective increasingly shared with hydrologists, foresters, wildlife biologists, social scientists, landscape architects, and others. We will examine the current state of knowledge and research on the patches and corridors that constitute landscape mosaics. We will cover the possible causal explanations for landscape heterogeneity from geographical and ecological points of view. Finally, we will explore practical applications of landscape ecology to the study of natural environments and those managed or altered by human activities.

The overarching goal of this course is to help develop the ability to think like a landscape ecologist. This will be done by examining heterogeneous landscapes using the patch-corridor-matrix model, accounting for scale, and interpreting the effect of process on patterns (and vice versa) using quantitative and qualitative approaches.

Students are expected to read the assigned chapters and participate actively in class. The exams will test knowledge, vocabulary, and the ability to apply concepts to novel situations. The class projects, final essay, and its presentation to the class will test the ability to explain landscape ecology patterns and processes as applied to real-world examples.


Assumes background in physical geography or ecology.


Required textbooks

I. Perfecto, J. V. Vandermeer, and A. Wright. 2009. Nature’s Matrix: Linking Agriculture, Conservation, and Food Sovereignty. Earthscan/Routledge, Washington DC. (ISBN 978-1-84407-782-3)

M. G. Turner and R. H. Gardner. 2015. Landscape Ecology in Theory and Practice: Patterns and Processes. Second edition. Springer, New York. (ISBN 978-1-4939-2793-7).

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GRG 335N • Landscape Ecology

37191 • Polk, Mary
Meets TTH 8:00AM-9:30AM CLA 0.124
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The study of spatial patterns in the earth's biosphere found within landscapes, typically areas measured in square kilometers. Examines the processes that create those patterns, drawing from ecology, biogeography, and many other disciplines. Also explores the practical applications of landscape ecology to the study of natural environments and those managed or altered by human activities. Geography 335N and 356T (Topic: Landscape Ecology) may not both be counted.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing and three semester hours of coursework in physical geography or one of the geological or natural sciences.

GRG 336 • Contemp Cultural Geography

37195 • Heyman, Richard
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM CLA 1.102
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Recent theoretical developments in cultural geography, with a focus on landscapes and the everyday practices that imbue them with meaning; the ways those meanings are contested and are the foci of struggle; and how the relationship between culture and space plays a central role in the social construction of identity. Only one of the following may be counted: Geography 336, Urban Studies 354 (Topic: Contemporary Cultural Geography), 354 (Topic 8).

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

May be counted toward the writing flag requirement. May be counted toward the cultural diversity flag requirement. May be counted toward the independent inquiry flag requirement.


GRG 350K • Geographies Of Globalization

37220 • Faria, Caroline
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM WAG 214
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Course Description

What is globalization and what can Levis, Lux soap and lipstick tell us about it?

What are the colonial roots of our contemporary global economic order?

What happens when labor, land and love are your nation’s comparative advantage?

How did HIV/AIDS and H1N1 become global epidemics? Is Ebola next?

Where does your old cell phone end up when you throw it away?

Do patents promote or prevent access to medicines?

Can TOMS really save the world?


Welcome to GEO 350K: Geographies of Globalization! Globalization is one of the defining phenomena of our time. While some argue that it has produced a flat and borderless world, others push for grounded understandings that attend to the entanglements of global trade with a host of socio-cultural, economic and political processes. These are all power-laden, shaped by historically produced and entrenched inequities of gender, race, sexuality, and class. This course examines these kinds of geographies of globalization, taking a “global intimate” perspective that connects the macro geopolitical, geoeconomic, and historical to the contemporary and everyday realities of those living with, negotiating, resisting and driving globalization.


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GRG 356 • Children's Envirnmntl Hlth

37230 • Elkins, Jules
Meets TTH 8:00AM-9:30AM CLA 1.108
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Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

GRG 356 • Water Res: Lat Amer/Caribbean

37225 • Ramos, Carlos
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM SRH 1.320
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Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

GRG 356T • Anthropocene

37235 • Young, Kenneth
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM CLA 1.102
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GRG 356T, Fall 2016

TTh 3:30 PM, CLA 1.102


Dr. Kenneth R. Young

Department of Geography and the Environment, UT-Austin; 512/232-8311

Course description:

This course is designed to evaluate the cumulative effects of humans on Earth. It will use readings, lectures, and class exercises to examine the kinds of evidence used 1) to reconstruct past environments, 2) to decipher the ecological and biogeographical consequences of land use, 3) to measure altered surface processes, 4) to distinguish the anthropogenic contribution to climate change, and 5) to predict likely future scenarios. The course will explore the interaction of human history with altered biophysical patterns and processes. Finally, the class will collectively and critically assess the recognition of the Anthropocene as a potential new epoch in Earth history, including the implications of that recognition for environmental stewardship.  

Students are expected to read the assigned readings and participate actively in class. The exams will test knowledge, vocabulary, and ability to explain and apply information. The class projects and writing assignment will work on the ability to synthesize and communicate on the associated scientific issues.

Prerequisites:  Assumes background from GRG 301C, GRG 301K, or an equivalent course.


Required textbooks (all also available in digital form):

D. Archer. 2009. The Long Thaw: How Humans are changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth’s Climate. Princeton University Press, Princeton. ISBN 978-0-691-14811-3

G. Ceballos, A. H. Ehrlich, and P. R. Ehrlich. 2015. The Annihilation of Nature: Human Extinction of Birds and Mammals. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. ISBN 978-1-4214-1718-9

R. DeFries. 2014. The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis. Basic Books, NY. ISBN 978-0-465-04497-9

R. C. Francis. 2015. Domesticated: Evolution in a Man-Made World. W. W. Norton, NY. ISBN 978-0-393-06460-5

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GRG 356T • Geoprocessing

37245 • Arima, Eugenio
Meets M 4:00PM-7:00PM CLA 1.402
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Geoprocessing courses can encompass a variety of topics, ranging from what we would normally simply call ‘GIS’ to remote sensing techniques to computer science. This course will adopt a narrower definition: geoprocessing will be mostly about computer scripting and programming applied to georeferenced (spatial) data. The skills you will hopefully attain in this course are useful in a number of different ways. Scripting & Programming a) automates processes that are repetitive and time consuming, b) allows for the implementation of solutions that are not available as built-in functions, c) allows for easy replication of your work and of methods, among others. 

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GRG 356T • Mapping In Storytelling

37247 • Goldsberry, Kirk
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM BMC 3.208
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Please check back for updates.

GRG 356T • Society Of Modern Mexico

37250 • Ward, Peter
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM CLA 0.102
(also listed as LAS 325, MAS 374, SOC 335, URB 354)
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This course seeks to understand Mexico through three lenses. First to introduce students to modern Mexico - its geography, economy, polity and society, and to examine in detail the nature and the forces of change that have impacted so dramatically upon the country during the past two decades. Second, we will examine Mexico-US bi-lateral relations both historically as well as in the contemporary sphere. Third, our lens will focus attention upon “Mexico Here”, and will analyze the dramatic Hispanic “rise” in the USA since 1990, with a special emphasis upon the ways in which the minority majority of Mexicans and Mexican Americans are shaping our own society, economy and polity of central Texas.

The first half of the course will offer an overview of the modern Mexico – its economic and political opening, challenges of overcoming poverty, and more recently the instability born of the drug cartels. Here too we will examine the key bilateral issues between the two countries: immigration reform; insecurity; and economic integration.  The second half of the course is designed to analyze the demographic and socio-cultural changes and policy challenges that Mexican-origin populations confront today in here Central Texas: in education, health care, citizenship aspirations, access to housing, justice and human rights and wellbeing. The aim is to gain a more sensitive and nuanced awareness of how Mexican populations specifically, and Hispanic populations more generally, are transforming the cultural and political landscape of Texas and the US, in order to offer a broad-brush introduction that will allow us consider the public policy dilemmas and imperatives that we have to confront today.

The course will comprise a substantial writing component including three essays. In class participation is expected, and in addition an important element of the class assessment will comprise two group projects about how Mexicans and Mexican-American identities are shaping politics, society & culture (broadly defined) here in Central Texas. There will be one midterm exam, but no final.


Essays and Papers 45%

Participation 20%

Mid-term 20%

Group Project 15%


GRG 357 • Medical Geography

37255 • Elkins, Jules
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM CLA 1.108
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The geographic distribution, expansion, and contraction of the infectious diseases that have the greatest influence in shaping human societies today: malaria, AIDS, and others. 

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

GRG 360G • Envir Geographic Info Systems

37260-37275 • Miller, Jennifer
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM CLA 0.128
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This course introduces basic concepts underlying geographic information systems and science (GIS), including related or integrated technologies and applications such as global positioning systems (GPS), cartography, and spatial analysis. It combines an overview of the general principles of GIS with a theoretical treatment of the nature and issues associated with the use of spatial environmental information. Although the course has a laboratory component that introduces students to the most commonly used GIS software package, the focus is on the “science behind the software” (eg, types and implications of functions and analysis, rather than just how to do the analysis).

GRG 368C • Spatial Anly/Geograph Info Sys

37290 • Miller, Jennifer
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM CLA 1.402
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In this course we will explore in greater depth and breadth spatial analysis concepts introduced in GRG 360G (or similar intro GIS course). The course addresses ‘spatial problem solving’ by focusing on both the theoretical/conceptual and practical aspects of GIS modeling and spatial statistics.

GRG 373F • Field Techniques

37305 • Doolittle, William
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM CLA 3.102
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Geographers sitting in their offices frequently find themselves lacking the right type of data to deal with a specific problem at hand. This is the case for practitioners holding a bachelor's degree and working in the private sector as well as for academicians holding doctoral degrees and teaching at comprehensive research universities. For example, a geographer employed by a firm designing a retirement community may be faced with a problem such as assessing a series of possible sites on which to build the swimming pool. Maps and aerial photographs may be available, but do they contain sufficiently detailed information about the soils, geology, slope, vegetation, hydrology, and cultural features such as historic structures, wells, fences or walls? And, how are these items or conditions spatially distributed in absolute terms and relative to each other? Or, consider a scholar investigating the expansion cacao cultivation in the rainforests of southern Brazil. How does she or he distinguish fields from forest? Cacao, after all, is a tree which grows in the shade of taller trees, and, accordingly, farmers do not clear-cut the forest before planting their crop. And, what about the composition(s) of the "natural" environment(s) and that (those) of the fields? What about the sizes and shapes of the fields, and socio-economic characteristics of the farmers? The only way to get these data are to go into "the field," and to use certain techniques.

This course introduces advanced geography students to a number of various techniques used in gathering field data. It does not deal with every technique nor does it go into great detail on any one.  It does, however, offer the basics of certain types of data collection, and, in so doing, it provides a foundation on which more advanced study--either formally through other classes, or informally through self-training--can be undertaken.

The course is divided into two parts, each dealing with different types of techniques, and each with different levels of supervision.  The first part of the course deals with mapping, the most fundamental of geographic activities. Students learn how to collect data with a clearly spatial dimensions. They begin by using some very simple instruments and progress to using the latest electronic surveying equipment. Emphasis is placed on mapping small areas largely because data at this scale are usually what geographers do not already possess, and, therefore, need. Also, working at this scale gives students a first-hand appreciation for, or at least a "taste" of, the processes involved in collecting data portrayed on existing maps of various scales. Instruction during this first half of the semester is very focused; students are closely supervised.

The second part of the course focuses on the collection of various types of environmental data that can be mapped. Emphasis here is placed on both "natural" data used most often, but not exclusively, by so-called "physical geographers," and "cultural" data commonly used by so-called "human geographers." Also, techniques for determining past as well as current conditions are covered in order for students to assess changing geographies. Instruction during the second half of the semester is less supervised than in the first half. Students are given a great deal of liberty to hone their skills at making professional judgements.

The focus of this course is on landscapes, especially those that are material and visible. Instruction includes some classroom lectures and several outdoor exercises. This course involves hands-on experience. Students can expect to be hot, cold, dirty, and wet, and exposed to some health risks. Research methods, project formulation, laboratory data analyses, and cartography are not be part of this course. This course deals exclusively with outdoor data collection techniques.

GRG 462K • Intro Remote Sensing Of Envir

37280-37285 • Meyer, Thoralf
Meets TTH 8:00AM-9:30AM CLA 0.128
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The use of electromagnetic energy to sense objects in the natural environment; interpretation and recognition of patterns detected by sensors. 

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

GRG 470C • Advanced Geographic Info Sys

37295-37300 • Arima, Eugenio
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM CLA 1.102
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Geographic Information Systems (GIS) modeling capabilities have been used to inform and support decision making in the management of watersheds and parks, in the design of emergency evacuation plans, among others. Advanced GIS will cover a wide range of modeling applications using rasters, including watershed drainage analysis, ecological corridors and least cost path analysis. Students will also be introduced to analytical tools such as spatial data interpolation techniques, fuzzy set analysis, and location/allocation analysis. Hands-on experience will be provided through weekly labs and final project.

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