Department of Geography (GY)

The department offers a program leading to the master of science degree in geography. Study in geography prepares students to work in a broad range of positions related to foreign area analysis, land-use management, planning, urban and economic development, environmental analysis, and geographic information techniques including computer cartography, geographic information systems, and remote sensing. These positions are found in federal, state, and local governments, as well as in private industry. Among several close associations with other disciplines, the graduate program in geography has traditionally been closely related to regional and urban planning. The program has assisted various city and regional planning agencies throughout the state, providing expertise in computer graphics, geographic information systems, remote sensing, land-use planning, redistricting, and urban-industrial location analysis.

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Faculty

Chair
  • Douglas J. Sherman
Graduate Director
  • Justin Hart
Professors
  • Seth Appiah-Opoku
  • Bennett Bearden
  • Sagy Cohen
  • Lisa Davis
  • Justin Hart
  • David Keellings
  • Matthew LaFevor
  • Sarah Praskievicz
  • Jason Senkbeil
  • Douglas J. Sherman
  • Michael Steinberg
  • Joe Weber

Courses

GY
500
Hours
3
Research Traditions Meth In Gy

An investigation of the historical development of geography, including its changing philosophies and prominent contributors. Students are also introduced to various approaches for conducting research in geography and must develop a written research proposal in an area of their interest.

GY
502
Hours
3
Climatology

Review of atmospheric processes as they relate to global and regional climate patterns in the boundary layers of the Earth's environment.

GY
504
Hours
3
Physical Geo of SE US

A study of the physical landscapes in the southeastern United States. Emphasis is on the geological setting, geomorphic features, climate, soils, and vegetation, and the interrelationships of these conditions that shape the landscape in this region.

GY
505
Hours
1-3
Dir Research Physical Geograph

No description available.

GY
506
Hours
1-3
Dir Research Human Geography

No description available.

GY
509
Hours
4
Forest History and Restoration

Investigation of the theories, tools, and techniques used in historical ecology with a focus on the establishment of reference conditions for habitat restoration and management decisions.

GY
510
Hours
3
Geography of National Parks

This course is devoted to the changing geography of the national park system and related protected areas throughout the world, with an emphasis on their design, planning, and operations.

GY
512
Hours
3
Hydroclimatology

To provide a basic understanding of the waters of Earth, especially with relation to the effects of precipitation and evaporation upon the occurence and character of water in streams, lakes and on or below the land surface.

GY
513
Hours
3
Applied Climatology

Applied Climatology is a graduate/senior level course designed to expand upon fundamental concepts learned in GY 101 and also GY 402 (Climatology). Within this broad field, a specific focus in GY 513 concentrates upon climate and human health/behavior, and human modification of climate. The course contains a mixture of lecture, lab, and field assignments.

Prerequisite(s): GY 101 GY 402
GY
517
Hours
3
Extreme Weather and Society

EW&S is an integrated physical and social science (W) seminar class consisting of readings, discussion, and lectures on perception, understanding, and communication of severe weather hazards.

GY
520
Hours
4
Remote Sensing I

Focuses on basic principles behind remote sensing physics, techniques, and technology and introduces new sensor systems and digital image processing. Major topics include electromagnetic radiation principles, airborne remote sensing, microwave remote sensing, satellite remote sensing, and digital image processing.

GY
523
Hours
3
Quantitative Methods

This course introduces several quantitative methods used by geographers to analyze and interpret geographic data and solve geographic problems. Topics include: Data formatting and organization, descriptive statistics, sampling, hypothesis formulation and testing, and parametric and non-parametric statistical procedures through factor analysis.

GY
530
Hours
4
Intro Geographic Info Systems

Introduces the basic concepts of GIS, including definition and components of GIS, spatial data structures, data sources, data input, manipulation and analysis, applications of GIS, and managing GIS.

GY
532
Hours
2-4
Spec Research In Geog

No description available.

GY
534
Hours
3-6
GIS Internship

Individual work experience in GIS supervised by the staff of an off-campus agency.

GY
535
Hours
4
Remote Sensing II

Focuses on the quantitative analysis of non-photographic remote sensor data, providing students with hands-on experience using a digital image processing software package. Topics include preprocessing, image enhancement, classification, digital change detection, and remote sensing and GIS.

GY
536
Hours
4
Adv Geographic Info Syst

Focuses on the analytical use of spatial information as well as GIS applications. Topics include spatial aspects of geographic information, attribute data structure, error and uncertainty, spatial analysis theories, GIS modeling, and GIS design.

GY
537
Hours
4
GIS for Transportation

The application of Geographic Information Systems to transportation has resulted in a sub-field known as GIS-T. This course will provide a hands-on introduction to GIS-T.

GY
538
Hours
4
Application Issues In Gis

Provides an in-depth discussion on various topics in the application and technical issues of geographic information systems.

GY
539
Hours
4
GIS Programming

This course focuses on the extension of geographic information systems (GIS) through programming as well as on the development of stand-alone algorithms for spatial analysis and numerical modeling.

GY
540
Hours
3
Commun Facil Planning

A study of concepts and processes that underlie (a) the provision of public goods and services and (b) the spatial organization of publicly owned facilities. Topics range from theory to practical methods of conflict resolution.

GY
541
Hours
3
Land Use Regulations

The course explores the legal standards by which land is regulated and controlled in the U.S. It is designed for students who wish to become actively involved or exposed to land management and the planning profession.

GY
544
Hours
6
Field Studies In Africa

Experiential learning course. It explores how different cultural groups in Africa relate to the natural environment.

GY
552
Hours
3
Environ Decision Making

Designed to help students develop both the tools and the personal philosophy necessary to analyze and manage scarce resources. A review of current environmental topics is followed by a survey of different paradigms and techniques that contribute to environmental decision making.

GY
553
Hours
3
Environment & Society

Explores the linkages between the biophysical environmental and human social systems. Public-policy implications are viewed from a social science perspective.

GY
558
Hours
3
Urban Analysis Planning

A thorough examination of the literature in economics, political science, and sociology that is relevant to the geographical study of contemporary urban structure, power, and conflict.

GY
560
Hours
3
Environmental Management

Introduces students to the impact of humans on the planet and the patterns of human behavior necessary to preserve and manage the environment in a self-sustaining manner. Emphasis is on writing and speaking.

Prerequisite(s): GY 101
GY
563
Hours
4
Ecosystem Services: Theory and Practice

This course will prepare students to function effectively as future researchers and policy-makers on topics related to sustainability and sustainable management of ecosystem-oriented projects and activities. The concept of ecosystem services provides one approach to facilitate trade-off decision making to identify win-win strategies among multiple stakeholders with often conflicting near-term objectives.

GY
565
Hours
3
Region Planning Analysis

Principles and processes of regional planning and the analytical methods appropriate for solving regional planning problems. Case studies and the role of the planner in the regional planning process are discussed.

GY
566
Hours
3
Transport Geography

Examines location and function of the multimodal North American transportation system, the urban transport planning process, and the political and environmental contexts of transport systems, including impacts of continued reliance on the automobile.

GY
570
Hours
3
Special Studies Geog

No description available.

GY
572
Hours
4
Soil Science

Introduction to the scientific study of soils. Covers soil physical properties, morphology, development, classification, environmental functions and uses, and resource degradation.

GY
573
Hours
3
Public Policy Development in Water Resources Seminar

This course will evaluate the current approaches to policy theory and examine systematically the broader implications of the substantive aspects of public policy development in the water resources spectrum. In analysis of public policy development in water resources, the student will look at both policy process and policy substance. Attention will be given to the questions of how and why water policy differs across states, and how one might evaluate policy performance cross-nationally.

GY
574
Hours
3-6
Cartography Practicum

Individual work experience in cartography supervised by the faculty and staff of the University.

GY
576
Hours
3-6
Gis Practicum

Individual work experience in GIS supervised by the faculty and staff of the University.

GY
577
Hours
3
Water Resources Management, Law, and Policy

The Water Resources Management, Law, and Policy course will provide students with a survey of water resources development, control, law, policy and management with particular emphasis on public policy considerations including: the acquisition and exercise of water rights—appropriative and riparian; groundwater management; water districts and user organizations; environmental considerations; Federal/State relations including interstate allocation; and the Alabama Water Resources Act. The course will also address international water law—the multinational treaties, laws, cases, practices and politics governing Earth’s transboundary freshwater resources (watercourses including rivers, streams, lakes, and groundwater aquifers) shared by two or more countries.

GY
578
Hours
3-6
Planning Practicum

Individual work experience in planning supervised by the faculty and staff of the University.

GY
579
Hours
3-6
Planning Internship

Individual work experience in planning supervised by the staff of an off-campus planning agency.

GY
585
Hours
3
River Hydrology

Rivers are dynamic natural systems that are of great importance to ecosystems and society. This course examines river hydrology processes from a physical geography perspective. A major theme of the course will be impacts of human actions on river systems.

Prerequisite(s): instructor permission
GY
586
Hours
3
Watershed Dynamics

An examination of the physical operation of drainage basins (watersheds), focusing on surface water hydrology, erosion, and sedimentation.

GY
589
Hours
4
Forest Eco Veg Analysis

A study of the relationship of trees to the environment, and the interrelationship of organisms that compose the forest community.

GY
590
Hours
3
Internship

Individual work experience with agency involved in geographical research, analysis, and reporting.

GY
591
Hours
3
Fluvial Geomorphology

This course provides an in-depth investigation of the processes that form rivers and their evolution.

GY
593
Hours
4
Plant Geography

This course covers basic biotic and abiotic terrestrial ecosystem components, environmental gradients, plant distribution patterns, dispersal, colonization, and migration, disturbance processes, and applications to biodiversity conservation.

GY
596
Hours
4
Forest Ecosystem Management: Silviculture

In this course silviculture is treated as applied forest ecology. The goal of this course is to provide students with a knowledge of silviculture and its ecological basis so they can design manipulations in forest ecosystems to achieve a range of management objectives. The course requires field trips to tour different sites and visit with forest scientists and managers. In this course students learn about tree growth and stand development and use this information to develop silvicultural prescriptions to meet a diverse range of management goals. We will explore how silvicultural treatments can influence stand structure and composition and how these changes influence timber quantity and quality, forest health, biodiversity, soil, and wildlife habitat among other features. We will also focus on how silviculture is influenced by broader social, economic, and ecological issues.

Prerequisite(s): GY489 or GY409 or GY492 or GY494 or instructor permission
GY
598
Hours
1-3
Non-Thesis Research

No description available.

GY
599
Hours
1-12
Thesis Research

No description available.

GY
610
Hours
1-6
Seminar in Biogeography

Covers contemporary concepts in biogeography including methods, problems, and trends.