Department of Geography and the Environment

GRG 301K • Weather And Climate-Wb

36120 • Kimmel, Troy
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM • Internet
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Utilizing critical thinking skills, this course is 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 Hmn Wrld: Intro To Grg-Wb

36160-36215 • Adams, Paul
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM • Internet
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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 • Intro To Urban Studies

36220 • Anderson, Gregory
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM GAR 0.102
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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 309C • Creating Sustainable Socty

36225 • Swearingen, William
Meets TTH 5:00PM-6:30PM WEL 1.316
SB (also listed as SOC 309C)
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Course Description

The course will offer students an overview of sustainability as something human beings must create. In an era of global warming and ever greater social inequalities - both between countries and within countries – how can we remake a more equitable and sustainable future for those who will come after us? 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.

GRG 326 • Regions/Cultures Of Europe-Wb

36240 • Jordan, Bella
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM • Internet
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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.


Upper division undergraduate students.


The final grade is based on 3 exams.

GRG 333C • Severe And Unusual Weather-Wb

36255 • Kimmel, Troy
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM • Internet
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Utilizing critical thinking skills, this 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-Wb

36260 • Young, Kenneth
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM • Internet
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Climate Change

GRG 333K, Fall 2020

TTh 12:30-1:45 PM (T=office hour; Th=class meeting through Zoom)

Dr. Kenneth R. Young

Department of Geography and the Environment, UT-Austin; RLP 3.706


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 look at historical and current climate change trends and controls worldwide, including coverage of the different scientific methods used for studies of these processes. The second part of the course will evaluate the study of climates from an Earth-systems approach. Implications of differences in climate for carbon, biodiversity, and humans will be discussed. 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. The exams and quizes 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.


Prerequisites:  Assumes background from GRG 301C/401C, GRG 301K, or an equivalent course.


Required textbooks (available as ebooks or paperbacks):

Archer, D. 2016. The Long Thaw: How Humans are changing the Next 100,000 Years of Earth’s Climate. Second edition. Princeton University Press, Princeton. ISBN-13: 978-0691169064

Mann, M. E. and L. R. Kump. 2016. Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Change. DK Publishing, New York. ISBN-13: 978-1465433640

Smil, V. 2017. Energy: A Beginner’s Guide. Second edition. Oneworld Publications, Simon & Schuster. ISBN-9781786071347


GRG 335N • Landscape Ecology-Wb

36270 • Young, Kenneth
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM • Internet
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Landscape Ecology                                    

Geography 335N, Fall 2020

TTh 3:30-4:45 PM by Zoom (T office hour; Th discussion & groups)


Dr. Kenneth R. Young

Department of Geography & the Environment, RLP 3.706, UT-Austin


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 shared with hydrologists, foresters, wildlife biologists, social scientists, landscape architects, and others. We will take an interdisciplinary approach to 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. Requires upper-division standing and three semester hours of coursework in physical geography or one of the geological or natural sciences.


Required textbook (Available as a paperback or as an ebook)

K. A. With. 2019. Essentials of Landscape Ecology. Oxford University Press, Oxford. (ISBN 978-0-19-883839).



De Vos, A., G. S. Cumming, D. Cumming, J. M. Ament, J. Baum, H. Clements, J. Grewar, K. Maciejewski, and C. Moore. 2016. Pathogens, disease, and the social-ecological resilience of protected areas. Ecology and Society 21(1):20. ES-07984-210120

GRG 350K • Geogs Of Globalization-Wb

36295 • Faria, Caroline
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM • Internet
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Examines the cultural, economic, political and geopolitical aspects of globalization in the U.S. and the rest of the world. We begin by understanding the rise of capitalism and its evolution into a modern world system and then look into its contemporary reincarnation as globalization. We examine theories and policies of globalization and look into specific issues like, outsourcing of jobs, sweat shops, spread of Wal-Mart, rising income inequality in the US and abroad, conflict and war.

Course will be taught by Dr. Caroline Faria

GRG 356 • Global Sustnblty/Soil-Hon-Wb

36300 • Beach, Timothy
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM • Internet
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GRG 356 “Global Sustainability and Soil”

"What I stand for is what I stand on."

— Wendell Berry

Soil is our least understood but greatest natural resource and our most biodiverse ecosystem. Despite its importance, soil degradation is happening at high rates around the world, which leads to hundreds of billions of dollars of economic and ecosystem service losses.  This course considers soils in the critical zone, including how they form, provide fertility to ecosystems and crops, how their ecosystems function, their distinguishing characteristics in Nature, their taxonomy, and their spatial variability around the globe. The course also considers how soils change both in negative and positive terms over time, such as carbon and other elemental fluxes, soil erosion, desertification, and soil pollution.  The course then considers how we manage soils for a sustainable planet by sequestering carbon to counter climate change, treat soil and water pollution, conserve soil ecosystems, build soil fertility, and grow more crops with minimal environmental impacts.  Specific topics will include biochar, terra preta, organic agriculture, the soil science in World Food Prizes (i.e., development), and agroecosystems. Three lecture hours a week for one semester.


*introduce soils and sustainability

*introduce soils in agricultural systems from indigenous to industrial

*understand soils from perspectives of global change

*recognize the parameters of soil formation

* recognize the major global soils and their ecosystems

*comprehend the major mechanisms of the soils at multiple places and time scales

*recognize the parameters of human-induced and natural soil changes

*judge cases of soil and humans interactions around the world    

*develop essential tools for analyzing soils and erosion in the lab and field

*understand USDA, FAO, and Folk taxonomies

“In modesty and humility, be like the soil.”  Rumi, c. 1250 C.E.

GRG 356T • Development And Movement-Wb

36309 • Oh, Youjeong
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM • Internet
GC (also listed as ANS 361)
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This course discusses following questions: Why are countries, cities, communities and individuals enthusiastic about the idea of development? How do they actually practice development? Why are East and Southeast Asian cities particularly obsessed with the idea of development? Why does development frequently entail massive and violent displacement, dispossession and disempowerment, despite its promises of betterment? How has contentious politics unfolded against development-induced displacement across diverse historical periods and geographical areas? How do you define Right to the City?

This course consists of four parts. In Part I, we will do various readings to understand the notions of development including developmental desires, development as international project in the post-WWII era, and the ways in which development is associated with state building, moral economy, political performance, and accumulation regimes. Part II will explore the development of civil society and social movement in East Asia, particularly focusing on Sunflower Movement, Umbrella Movement, and Candlelight Movement. Part III will cover the explanations about the mechanisms and drivers of displacement associated with infrastructure construction, industrialization, urban redevelopment, land speculation, and tourism development. In Part IV, we will conceptualize Right to the City, exploring alternative right-based approaches to land, housing, infrastructure, commons and public resources.

GRG 356T • Geog Relig E Euro/Russia-Wb

36320 • Jordan, Bella
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM • Internet
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.


Course materials: course package, media sources, video clips, films


Examples of topics for discussion:

1) The Great Schism of 1054 and Resulting Religious Regions in Europe

2) Reformation and Protestant groups in Eastern Europe

3) The Legacies of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires

4) The Shatter Zone: Balkan Religious and Ethnic Identities

5) The Great Schism of 1667 and Major Splinter Groups: Old Believers, Dukhobors,

MolokaneKristovery and other Russian Protestants

6) Eastern Orthodox Church in Armenia and Georgia

7) Vestiges of Paganism in the Baltic Countries

8) Religious Revival in Post-Soviet Russia

9) Religious Identities in Contemporary Russia

10) Major Muslim Peoples of Russia: Tradition and Innovation

11) Islam in the North Caucasus and Dagestanization of the Volga region

12) Lamaist Buddhist Ethnic Republics of the Russian Federation

13) Siberian Shamanism: Introduction to Theory and Practice

14) Siberian Shamanism: the Flight of the Sacred

15) Religious Art, Philosophy and Literature

16) Leo Tolstoy and Fedor Dostoevsky on Christianity

17) Religious Architecture and Sacred Spaces

18) Religious Festivals and Pilgrimages

19) Religious Revival portrayed in Russian Cinema

20) Russian Orthodox Church Portrayal in Zvyagintsev ‘Leviathan’

GRG 356T • Gis/Rem Sns Archaeol/Pale-Wb

36315 • Reed, Denne
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM • Internet
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This course surveys archeological and paleontological applications of remotely sensed data such as aerial photography and satellite imagery for use in locating field sites, planning field logistics and conducting landscape analysis. The remote sensing component of the course covers remote sensing data acquisition, image georectification, image processing and classification. The GIS component of the course builds on the remote sensing component and adds to it the analysis of map features stored in databases. The course introduces databases theory and practice, and moves through the various stages of GIS workflow: the planning and design of GIS projects, building geospatial datasets, various methods of geospatial analysis and a short introduction to map layouts and reports. This course covers GIS and remote sensing from an applied perspective and students are expected to invest lab time in completing tutorials on GIS and RS methods as well as applying these methods to individual projects.

GRG 368C • Sptl Anly/Geogrph Info Sys-Wb

Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM • Internet
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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

36370 • Doolittle, William
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM 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 390K • Issues In Geography

36385 • Adams, Paul
Meets T 5:30PM-8:30PM RLP 3.106
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Examines the history, philosophy, and ontology of geography, including its various subfields.
Required of all first-year graduate students in geography.
Prerequisite: Graduate standing in geography, or graduate standing and consent of the graduate adviser.


GRG 395D • Lat Amer Culs, Envir, & Dev-Wb

36390 • Knapp, Gregory
Meets M 7:00PM-10:00PM • Internet
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This seminar is designed to help Latin Americanist students perform academic research on human-environment relationships, as well as to work for and to critique development agencies, businesses and non-governmental organizations. The class explores the ideas and methods of a number of disciplines and interdisciplinary fields including cultural and political ecology, feminist political ecology, ecological anthropology, environmental history, development and post-development studies, sustainability studies, and cultural geography. The course will address a range of issues including definitions and theories of modernization and development; methods of cultural and political ecology; concepts of householders, livelihoods, and buen vivir; participatory development and theater of the oppressed; identity, territory, and mapping; population and resources; neoliberalism, conservation, and resource extraction; food and agriculture; and the roles of NGOs and academics in understanding discourses and solving problems. Topics and readings are developed in part on the basis of input from students, who typically come from multiple backgrounds and programs across campus.


Graduate standing and some knowledge of rural Latin America or the Caribbean. Knowledge of Spanish or Portuguese is desirable but not necessary.

Course Characteristics:

Each class will consist of (1) short lecture(s) by the instructor; (2) proctored discussions of the week's readings, co-chaired by two students who have, in consultation with the instructor, prepared a strategy for addressing the readings and student essays (which may include splitting into smaller groups); and (3) a food break providing for more informal discussion of the topics.

Reading Assignments

There is no textbook. Course readings and other materials will be posted on Canvas.

GRG 396T • Enviro Hydrology & Society-Wb

36395 • Beach, Sheryl
Meets T 2:00PM-5:00PM • Internet
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In order to manage a resource successfully, one must understand the nature and occurrence of that resource, and human interactions with the resource. Our focus will be on Water Resources and Hydraulic Society. This course aids that understanding by exploring three areas of Water Resources Geography: Hydrology and Climate, Physical and Biological Interactions, and Water Resources Management. Important local, regional, global, and topical issues will be highlighted along the way. The student will also be familiarized with water resources research techniques & data sources.

  • Department of Geography and the Environment

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