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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of Geography

Department Research Topics

About Geography at USC

The Department of Geography at the University of South Carolina was established in 1963 and is the only program in the state to offer undergraduate (B.A. and B.S.) and graduate (M.A., M.S. and Ph.D.) degrees in geography. We thus seek to maintain a balanced program of research, undergraduate and graduate teaching, and outreach and service that covers the breadth of geography, including:

Physical Geography. Physical geographers in our department investigate patterns and processes associated with the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere and explore the nature and causes of their natural variability and change. Specialized expertise includes climatology and meteorology, fluvial and aeolian geomorphology, hydrology, biogeography and landscape ecology. Many of our physical geographers utilize geospatial technologies in their work.

Human Geography. Human geography in our department emphasizes questions associated with space, place, identity and inequality. At the core of the research of this group is a critical approach to understanding how people construct their identity and inequality across scales and locations. The theory-building and empirical research of this group focuses on the spatiality of economic, cultural, social, and political power.

Nature-Society Studies. Faculty working in this area focus on understanding the patterns and processes of human-environmental interactions. The increasing complexity of coupled natural and human systems necessitates an integrative perspective for understanding local to global environmental transformations and changing human security. Our faculty specialize in a range of relevant areas, including political ecology; human dimensions of global change; risks, vulnerability, and hazards; and resource use and management.

Geographic Information Sciences.  Faculty expertise in the department encompasses an understanding of cartography and geovisualization, remote sensing, and GIS. GIScience faculty conduct research that addresses basic questions in geographic technologies as well as applications of geospatial technologies to problems in hazards, public health, population studies, landscape ecology, geomorphology, and environmental change.

For more on specific research threads and activities within the department, please be sure to check out our research page.