Department of Geography and the Environment

GRG 301K • Weather And Climate

36875 • Kimmel, Troy
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM JES A121A
show description

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.

GRG 305 • This Human World: Intro To Grg

36915-36955 • Zutz, Clare
Meets MWF 2:00PM-3:00PM GAR 0.102
show description

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

36960 • Swearingen, William
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM RLP 0.128
(also listed as SOC 309C)
show description


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

36970 • Knapp, Gregory
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM RLP 0.128
(also listed as LAS 319)
show description

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

36975 • Knapp, Gregory
show description

Faculty led study abroad in Ecuador.  Admission to study abroad program required (deadline November 1).

GRG 327 • Geog Of Former Sov Union

36980 • Jordan, Bella
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM BUR 220
(also listed as REE 345)
show description

This course is designed to give a deeper understanding of the Post-Soviet space, focusing on the major geographic factors that define this enormous Eurasian realm, including modern and historical cultural landscapes, economy and politics of the region, demography and health, religious cultures, environmental crises, contested territories, and the most recent geopolitical developments in the region.


A Geography of Russia and Its Neighbors. By Mikhail S. Blinnikov. 2011, NY: The Gifford Press.

Grading requirements:

1)    Students must take 2 exams, each worth 25% of the totals grade.

2)    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.

3)    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.

GRG 331K • Nature, Society, & Adaptatn

36985 • Knapp, Gregory
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM RLP 0.108
(also listed as ANT 324L)
show description

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

36990 • Kimmel, Troy
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM RLP 1.102
show description

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

36992 • Krause, Samantha
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM GAR 2.128
show description

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

37000 • Polk, Mary
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM GAR 1.126
show description

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 339 • Process Geomorphology

37005 • Ramos, Carlos
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM JES A216A
show description

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 • Archaeol Of Climate Change

37025 • Rosen, Arlene
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:30PM PAR 1
(also listed as ANT 324L)
show description

Climate change has impacted human societies over the course of human

existence on the planet. It has played a role in everything from hominin evolution to the rise and

fall of civilizations through to the present day economic and ethical decision-making. In this

course we will examine why climate changes, the methods for recording climate change, and

discuss case studies of the varied responses of past human societies to climate change in different

geographic regions and time periods with varying socio-political and economic systems. We will

explore aspects of resilience and rigidity of societies and issues of environmental sustainability

in the past as well as the present. Finally we will compare and contrast modern responses to

climate change on a global scale with those of past societies.

Goals: To familiarize students with the evidence for climate change and methods of climate

change research; to increase their understanding of the social, economic and technological issues

human societies faced in the past when dealing with climate change. To understand what were

adaptive and maladaptive human strategies. To help students evaluate the modern politics and

social responses to climate change. On successful completion of this course a student should

understand how climate change is recorded and the basic climatic record for the period of human

occupation of the earth. To be familiar with current debates about how human societies adapt to

climate change. To be able to think critically about issues and arguments proposed in the

literature, and to write a coherent essay arguing a point of view.

GRG 356 • Children's Envirnmntl Hlth

37040 • Elkins, Jules
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM GDC 1.406
show description

Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

GRG 356 • Global Sustainability/Soil

37030 • Beach, Timothy
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM RLP 3.102
(also listed as LAH 350)
show description

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 356 • The Healthy, Livable City

37035 • Elkins, Jules
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM JES A303A
show description

Please check back for updates.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing.

GRG 356T • Geog Of Lat American-U.s. Migr

37045 • Torres, Rebecca
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM JES A203A
(also listed as LAS 330)
show description

Please check back for updates.

GRG 356T • Human Health & Environment

37079 • Elkins, Jules
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM JES A303A
show description

Please check back for updates.

GRG 356T • Mapping Latin America

37080 • Del Castillo, Lina
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM SRH 1.115
(also listed as HIS 363K, LAS 330)
show description

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

37050 • Stuart, David
show description

Please check back for updates.

GRG 356T • Race/Capitalism/Environment

37059 • Vasudevan, Pavithra
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM PAR 306
(also listed as AFR 372C, WGS 340)
show description

Please check back for updates.

GRG 356T • Urban Publics

37065 • Anderson, Gregory
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM RLP 1.108
show description

Please check back for updates.

GRG 356T • Vienna: Memory/The City-Aut

37060 • Hoelscher, Steven
(also listed as AMS 370, EUS 346, GSD 360, HIS 362G)
show description

Please check back for updates.

GRG 390L • Research In Geography

37145 • Torres, Rebecca
Meets TH 4:00PM-7:00PM RLP 3.710
show description

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 396T • Anthropocene In The Longue Dur

37150 • Rosen, Arlene
Meets M 3:00PM-6:00PM SAC 5.118
(also listed as ANT 380K)
show description

ANT 380K and GRG 396T

Anthropocene in the Longue Durée

This seminar explores the “Anthropocene” from the perspectives of multiple disciplines, its historical roots, and its chronologies.  Two professors lead this seminar and will be part of all meetings.  One, Arlene Rosen, is an environmental archaeologist who has worked all over the planet and directs the environmental archaeology lab.  The other, Tim Beach, is a soils geoscientist who has worked mainly in Central America and the Mediterranean and directs the Soils and Geoarchaeology Lab.  They bring perspectives from the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. 
From Plato to Alexander von Humboldt to John Muir and Rachel Carson, thinkers have long written about the metamorphosis of the Earth wrought by humans at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Only with Stoermer and Crutzen in the Early 2000s did the final term Anthropocene come to the fore. Many disciplines offer perspectives on this topic, including archaeology, ecology, climatology, geomorphology and paleontology, as well as the social sciences and humanities. Moreover, human impacts have been substantial for millennia, though “the great acceleration” since the 1950s has certainly lived up to its name. From our 21st century vantage point, now squarely in the “Anthropocene”, we need to muster all of these tools and technologies and innovate more to understand and manage our present and future, increasingly human-dominated world.
History of the concept and nature of Epochs
The Great Levers of Change
Human Drivers of Change
Markers and Golden Spikes
Who owns the narrative?
When does the Anthropocene begin? Late Pleistocene or the Holocene and its new subdivisions: The Greenlandian, Northgrippian, and Meghalayan
Early Anthropocene
15,000 BP
5,000 BP
16 July 1945
Geographic dimensions of intensive human impacts
The Anthropocene in Ecology: biodiversity, ecosystem services . . .
The Anthropocene in the soils, oceans, atmosphere, geomorphology, and anthropology
Utopian Environments, The Chthulucene, The Capitalocene, & Terrascaping
The Anthropocene & Environmental Restoration 
The Great Acceleration

GRG 410C • Spatial Data And Analysis

36965 • Beach, Sheryl
Meets MW 2:30PM-4:00PM RLP 1.404
show description

MW 2:30-4:00 p.m.

Lab W 4:00-5:30 p.m.

This is an entry level course that will prepare the student for higher level courses in geographic methods and techniques. The course content consists of a series of modules designed to cover topics common to courses in Cartography, Geographic Information Science, Field Techniques, and Remote Sensing of the Environment.

We will examine quantitative and qualitative methods of sampling, representing, classifying, and analyzing geographic phenomena. We will examine conceptions of temporal and spatial scale, location, distance and direction, and examine a broad range of geographic research methods. Specific topics will include earth shape, gravitational and magnetic fields, map projections, coordinate systems, surveying and navigation, measurements and errors, spatial statistics, and spatial analysis.

Classes will consist of lectures and discussions of the readings. Students will complete ten exercises, a mid-term examination and a final examination. In addition to the lecture, this class has a lab section.

  • Department of Geography and the Environment

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