Department of Geography and the Environment

GRG 301K • Weather And Climate

36670 • 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.

GRG 305 • This Human World: Intro To Grg

36710-36750 • Lemon, Robert
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM GAR 0.102
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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 309C • Creating Sustainable Socty

36755 • Swearingen, William
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM RLP 0.102
E SB (also listed as SOC 309C)
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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 319 • Geography Of Latin America

36765 • Knapp, Gregory
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM RLP 0.128
GC SB (also listed as LAS 319)
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This course is a general introduction to the environmental, cultural, economic and political geography of Latin America and the Caribbean. There are no prerequisites, and an effort is made to make the material accessible to the broadest possible range of students, as citizens and future leaders. At the same time, more advanced students can also benefit from the exploration of such topics as environmental hazards, indigenous lifeways and resource management, globalization and modernization, population and migration, cities, sustainable development, geopolitics, frontiers, conservation, and cultural survival.

GRG 323K • South Amer: Nat/Socty/Sust-Ecu

36775 • Knapp, Gregory
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This is a summer faculty-led Maymester program; students must apply to the Study Abroad Office to be admitted (deadline November 15, 2019). This course examines issues of sustainable development in South America, taking full advantage of its location in Ecuador. Field trips and site visits will include coastal, highland, and Amazonian destinations illustrative of Ecuador’s efforts to achieve sustainability. Students will examine selected issues through readings, discussions, site visits and field trips. There will be an extended amount of time in and near Cuenca, Ecuador’s third-largest city (population 730,000 in the larger metropolitan area). Cuenca was a Cañari indigenous settlement before it became first an Inca, and then a Spanish colonial city. Indigenous and colonial monuments explain its listing on the UNESCO world heritage list, while its highland setting (8200 feet above sea level) provides for a diverse hinterland with small farms, national parks, and villages noted for artisanal crafts. It has also become an important destination for ecotourism and retirement migration.

 This course may be used to meet the capstone requirement of the Sustainability Studies major; it also can be used towards the Geography major, Latin American Studies major (core requirement and/or concentration), and as part of the Latin American minor in International Relations and Global Studies (IRG).


GRG 331K • Nature, Society, & Adaptatn

36785 • Knapp, Gregory
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM RLP 0.108
EWr (also listed as ANT 324L)
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This course examines the very long-term human trajectory in gaining control over resources, impacting the environment, and transforming planet earth into a meaningful human home. This trajectory has been related to long-term changes in human integration (reciprocity, trade, and redistribution) at a variety of scales, culminating in recent globalization. These changes have been associated with great achievements in quality of life for some, but with attendant problems of violence, impoverishment, and environmental impacts including, in some extreme cases, collapse. These challenges implicate both culture (learned habitual behavior, concepts, and associated objects and landscapes) and ethics (socialy oriented decisions) as they promote or fail to promote resilience and adaptation with respect for human rights.

GRG 333C • Severe And Unusual Weather

36790 • Kimmel, Troy
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM RLP 1.102
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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.

GRG 333K • Climate Change

36795 • Beach, Timothy
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM RLP 3.102
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Course Description:

This course will survey the causes of changes in climatic systems over both short and long time periods and their consequences for landscape dynamics, biogeography, land use, sustainability, and vulnerability. The first part of the course will introduce the study of climates from an earth systems approach. Implications of differences in climate for carbon, biodiversity, and humans will be discussed. The second part of the course will look at historical and current climate change trends and controls worldwide, including coverage of the different scientific methods used for studies of these processes. We will build towards developing the expertise to critically evaluate future climate scenarios using environmental and socio-ecological approaches.

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 scientific issues associated with climate change.


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

GRG 335N • Landscape Ecology

36805 • Polk, Molly
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM JGB 2.202
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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

36810 • Heyman, Richard
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM RLP 0.104
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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 337 • The Modern American City

36820 • Heyman, Richard
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM RLP 1.104
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Issues facing residents of United States cities, such as transportation and housing, poverty and crime, metropolitan finance, environmental and architectural design; historical/comparative urban evolution. 

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

May be counted toward the cultural diversity flag requirement.

SAME AS ARC 350R (TOPIC 1) , URB 352 (TOPIC 1).

GRG 339 • Process Geomorphology

36825 • Ramos, Carlos
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM GAR 2.112
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Analysis of geomorphic processes and their effects on landform development. 

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing, and credit or registration for Geography 301C or Geological Sciences 401.

GRG 356 • Children's Envirnmntl Hlth

36845 • Elkins, Jules
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM RLP 1.102
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Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

GRG 356 • Environmental Law

36839 • Challa, Zeenia
Meets MW 4:00PM-5:30PM JGB 2.202
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Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

GRG 356 • Spatial Reasoning With Gis

36838 • Miller, Jennifer
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM RLP 1.402
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Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

GRG 356 • The Healthy, Livable City

36840 • Elkins, Jules
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM GAR 2.112
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Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

GRG 356T • Development And Movement

36849 • Oh, Youjeong
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM MEZ 1.216
GC (also listed as ANS 361)
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This class explores various interpretations, methods, and policies of development mainly focusing on the cases of East and Southeast Asia. We will trace the history of development as a post-war international project that emerged in the context of decolonization since the 1940s. Particular attentions will be given to the state-driven developmentalism in East and Southeast Asia, intertwined with the Cold War geopolitics, decolonization, post-colonial desires, economic development, and the US-led neocolonizing capitalist incorporation of the greater Asia region. Then we will move to practices of development/counter-development/post-development in the era of globalization and neoliberalism. Topics included land, labor and livelihood struggles; race, gender, power; activism and social movements; transnational development and the reinterpretation of foreign aid; and civil society and the future of the state.

GRG 356T • Geog Religion E Euro/Russia

36880 • Jordan, Bella
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BUR 220
GC (also listed as REE 345)
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Course description: This course is designed to give a comprehensive understanding of major religious culture regions in the former Eastern bloc countries. In the post-socialist period some of these societies are experiencing religious revival and others display high degrees of secularization. The course will focus on the analysis of such processes, including religious revival in the former Soviet republics, political and historical roots of divergence of Christian denominations in Central and Eastern Europe, Russian protestant movements like Old Believers and Dukhobors, traditional Islam in the Balkans and North Caucasus, Lamaist Buddhist traditions among Buryats and Tuvans of Siberia, and resurfacing of neo-paganistic and neo-shamanistic practices.

This course will discuss the most important features of these religious regions, such as religious art and architecture, most important beliefs and rituals, political and cultural reverberations of such practices for people, residing in these regions.


Basis for the grade:

  1. Students must take 2 exams, each worth 25% of the totals grade. Exams will contain Multiple Choice questions, short questions, a take-home essay and a map question. The exams will be of the same format.
  2. Students will write a term paper, worth 30% of the final grade. The paper must be 10-12 pages long, double-spaced, typed in 12-point font. The bibliography should contain scholarly publications, including books and articles from peer-reviewed journals. Worth 30% of the final grade.
  3.  Working in a team of 2 or 3, students will prepare an oral presentation on a topic related to the term paper and approved by the instructor. The presentation’s length should not exceed 15 minutes.  20% of the grade.

GRG 356T • Human Health & Environment

36870 • Elkins, Jules
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM RLP 1.108
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GRG 356T • Mapping Latin America

36875 • Del Castillo, Lina
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM SRH 1.115
GCWr (also listed as HIS 363K, LAS 330)
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The main objective of the course is to understand the role of maps in the creation of Latin America as a specific sort of place.  As such, the course itself will allow students to become familiar with a broad overview of Latin American history from Pre-Columbian civilizations to the modern period.

GRG 356T • Maya Art/Architecture-Gua

36850 • Runggaldier, Astrid
GC VP (also listed as LAS 327)
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GRG 356T • Race/Capitalism/Environment

36860 • Vasudevan, Pavithra
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM RLP 0.122
CDGC (also listed as AFR 372C, WGS 340)
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GRG 356T • Urban Publics

36865 • Heyman, Richard
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM RLP 0.122
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GRG 369D • Gis Apps In Social/Env Sci

36915 • Miller, Jennifer
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM RLP 1.402
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In this course we will explore in greater depth and breadth the application of spatial analysis concepts introduced in GRG 460G (or a similar intro GIS course). The course involves reading journal articles to explore issues relevant to environmental and social sciences that can be addressed using GIS analysis and spatial statistics. This class does not have a formal computer lab session but many of the concepts will be explored on the computers in class and the quizzes, final project, and most of the assignments will require significant GIS analysis to be performed in a campus computer lab or on your own computer. While many of the GIS/analysis topics covered in this course overlap with those covered in GRG 368, this course focuses on real-world applications of spatial statistics instead of their theoretical background. In addition to experience with spatial data management, GIS and spatial analysis, this course will also provide students with experience in research design and presentation.

GRG 373F • Field Techniques

36920 • Meyer, Thoralf
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM RLP 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 390L • Research In Geography

36935 • Torres, Rebecca
Meets TH 4:00PM-7:00PM RLP 3.710
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Builds on topics explored in Geography 390K by focusing on epistemology and research in the field of geography. Students develop plans for research and write a research proposal.

Required of all first-year graduate students in geography.

Prerequisite: Graduate standing and Geography 390K.

GRG 392M • Smnr Biodiversity Conservation

36940 • Young, Kenneth
Meets M 6:00PM-9:00PM RLP 0.108
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Seminar in Biodiversity Conservation:

Human Dimensions


GRG 392M, Spring 2020

RLP 0.108, M 6-9 PM


Dr. Kenneth R. Young (

Department of Geography & the Environment, UT-Austin


Course goals:
This course will use a graduate-student seminar format to examine the state of knowledge about biodiversity conservation, with special attention to future challenges that involve both environmental and social perspectives of change.

This semester we will examine in detail the goals and methods of biodiversity conservation; the challenges of conserving useful species; and the implications of global climate change.

Students will be expected to read the relevant literature, to actively participate in class discussions, and to write three essays. The seminar is designed to expose participants to new research concerning the consequences of global change for biological diversity, and to get experience in communicating scientific findings.


Course schedule:

Part 1:  Humans and conservation

Part 2:  Species useful to people

Part 3:  Climate change


Required textbooks:

Lovejoy, T. E. & L. Hannah (eds.). 2019. Biodiversity and Climate Change: Transforming the Biosphere. Yale University Press, New Haven. ISBN 978-0300206111 (paperback; also available in ebook form)

Voeks, R. A. 2018. The Ethnobotany of Eden: Rethinking the Jungle Medicine Narrative. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. ISBN 978-0226547718 (hardcover; also available as ebook)

Wilson, E.O. 2019. Genesis: The Deep Origin of Societies. W. W. Norton, New York. ISBN 978-1631495540 (hardcover; also available as ebook)

GRG 401C • The Natural Environment

36640-36665 • Young, Kenneth
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM GSB 2.126
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The Natural Environment

 GRG 401C, Spring 2020                         

Dr. K. Young (


Lecture: GSB 2.126, TTh 9:30-11 AM  (Must also attend one weekly lab section)



Course description:

This course will provide an introduction to the study of the Earth, and in particular to the physical and biological factors that create the biosphere in which we live. Physical geography includes aspects of all the earth sciences. As a result, you will be exposed to the vocabulary used by earth scientists and to the processes that control climate, the distributions of plants and animals, and the dynamics and development of landforms and soils of the Earth.


Required textbook:

W. Christopherson et al. 2016. Geosystems Core. Pearson Education, NJ.

GRG 462K • Intro Remote Sensing Of Envir

36905-36910 • Meyer, Thoralf
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM ART 1.120
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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.

  • Department of Geography and the Environment

    The University of Texas at Austin
    305 E. 23rd Street, A3100
    RLP 3.306
    Austin, TX 78712