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The Department of Geography at the University of South Carolina is the only program in the state to offer Bachelors, Masters' and Ph.D. degrees in Geography. The 17 full-time faculty members represent three broad areas of expertise within the discipline (human/regional; physical/environmental; and geographic techniques). We also participate in interdisciplinary programs — International Studies, Southern Studies, Women's Studies, and the School of the Environment — in the College and University.

USC Geographer Receives Fulbright Fellowship

Dr. Jean Ellis has received a Fulbright Fellowship to conduct research in Brazil during Fall 2014. For the project, Dr. Ellis will collaborate with Prof. Luis Parente Maia, Director of the Institute of Marine Science at the Federal University of Ceara, to study the formation and evolution of 'aeolian ripples'. Dr Ellis, who is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography with a joint appointment in the Marine Science Program, has been studying the linkages between the physical characteristics of turbulent wind flow and the associated sediment dynamics of wind-blown sand for over a decade.

Kevin Remington and Lynn Shirley featured on Carolina's IT Minute podcast

As a result of featuring GIS in the Thomas Cooper library in late fall 2013, both Kevin and Lynn were approached by the USC IT media group for interviews regarding GIS activities on campus. Kevin's interview focused on campus GIS activities and projects and can be found at:

Lynn was asked to cover the changing nature of GIS instruction over the past decades. Lynn's comments can be heard at:

Measuring champions

Volunteers measuring champion trees

Volunteers, under the direction of USC geography professor John Kupfer, are surveying and measuring champion trees in the Congaree National Park.

If you’ve ever hiked through the Congaree National Park, there’s a good chance you’ve seen the world’s largest loblolly pine, which, at nearly 170 feet tall, is pretty hard to miss. But you might have seen a few other record-setting trees as well without even realizing it.

Known as champion trees, these lofty specimens represent the largest known examples of their type, either nationally or in-state, as determined by a formula that considers height, circumference and crown area. A 1996 partial survey of the 26,000-acre park identified dozens of champion trees.

Now, thanks to the efforts of USC geography professor John Kupfer and a team of graduate students, National Park Service rangers and “citizen scientists,” a new survey is underway that will not only update the 1996 statistics but will also give the public a more comprehensive picture of the park’s living treasures.

Read this entire article written by Craig Brandhorst at:

Geography Masters Student Wins Carolinas GITA (Geographic Information & Technology Association) Award

Continuing master's student Caitlin Strachan has won the 2014 educational scholarship in the amount of $1500 from the Carolinas chapter of the Geographic Information & Technology Association. Her application included work with Esri's StoryMaps on siting new fire stations in Lexington County. The award was also based on recommendations, grades and participation in the GIS community.

Former master's student Sara Flecher was a previous winner of this award which is open to all students in colleges and universites in both North and South Carolina.

Climate Change and Dr. Kirstin Dow's Timely Research Contributions

Coincident with the third time in 124 years that snow has been seen in Columbia S.C. comes information proceeding out the research interests of Dr. Kirstin Dow, professor of geography with particular interests in climate change.

Columbia's primary daily newspaper (The State) featured an article focused on what long-term climate change could mean for South Carolina. The story can be found at:

Research from her work is incorporated in Charleston's News and Courier reports on the implication for our coastal areas in:

A major publication on climate change in the Southeastern U.S. features Dr. Dow's research as well. Information on the book can be found at:

MayMester 2014 Study Abroad in Chile - Latin American Geography

Study Abroad is excited to announce a Maymester 2014 program to Chile! To apply for this Global Classroom Programs, follow these instructions. For more information about this programs, see below, or refer to the Study Abroad office's website.

Students will earn three credits for GEOG 223M: Geography of Latin America. This course will focus the geography of Latin America, with a specific interest on Chile. The course explores many different facets of geography, including: physical, historical, population, cultural, economic, political, and settlement geography.

Students will travel with a USC faculty member who will be available for the entire duration of the program. The faculty leader for the program will be Dr. Jerry Mitchell, who has professional experience in Latin America and has published research on Peru and Chile. Dr. Mitchell is a Research Associate Professor in the USC Department of Geography. There is no language prerequisite for this program, but students will have a “Survival Spanish” lesson prior to departure.

View complete PDF flyer on this experience. Departmental Contact: Dr. Jerry Mitchell * 777-2986 or

Geography Masters Student Appointed as Diversity Affairs Liaison to GSA

 A special congratulations to Cam Horne, who has been appointed as the Diversity Affairs Liaison to the University Graduate Student Association. It is always great to see Geography students assuming leadership roles on campus.

Ed Carr's Insight on Climate Change and Conflict in Various Outlets

From Aspen public radio story:

Dr. Carr's blog on the Washington Post's Wonkblog:

Discover's Collide-a-scape blog:

And the original post:

Department of Geography • Callcott Building, Room 127 • 709 Bull Street • Columbia, SC 29208

Phone: 803-777-5234 • Fax: 803-777-4972