THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA GRADUATE CATALOG

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6.10 DEPARTMENT OF GEOGRAPHY (GY)

Chairperson: Professor Douglas J. Sherman, Office: 204A Farrah Hall

Graduate Director: Associate Professor Justin Hart, Office: 116 Biology Building

 

The programs leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Geography are designed to prepare students in the fields of biogeography, climatology, geomorphology, geospatial analysis, human-environment interactions, and hydrology. The graduate programs emphasize the application of geospatial analysis to understanding the complexities of socio-environmental systems, biogeochemical processes, environmental sustainability, and the emerging risks that environmental change and degradation pose to society. The requirements listed here complement those of the Graduate School as listed elsewhere in the catalog.

 

Admission Requirements

Applicants must satisfy the minimum admission requirements established by the Graduate School. An applicant to the MS program is normally required to have a bachelor's degree in geography, environmental science, or a related discipline. Applicants with degrees in disciplines other than geography or with background deficiencies may be required to complete certain undergraduate requirements. An applicant to the PhD program is normally required to have a master's degree; however, an applicant with exceptional credentials may be admitted directly into the PhD program.

 

 

Degree Requirements

 

MS in Geography, Thesis Option. This option requires a total of 30 credit hours including 6 hours of program requirements and 6 hours of thesis research. A minimum of 12 credit hours must be taken from courses in one of the areas of concentration including earth system science; environment and natural resources; environment and society; or geographical information techniques. The remaining 9 credit hours may consist of courses from any of the other three areas of concentration and/or may be selected from related courses offered in other disciplines with departmental approval (up to 6 of the 9 credit hours). A thesis committee should be established by the end of the first semester of residence and a thesis proposal must be defended by the end of the second semester of residence. Additional information is provided in the Department of Geography MS Graduate Handbook

 

MS in Applied Geography, Non-thesis Option. This option requires a total of 39 credit hours including 6 hours of program requirements and 3 hours for non-thesis research projects. Students selecting this option must take a minimum of 8 hours of geographic techniques and may count up to 15 credit hours of such coursework towards their MS program. A minimum of 15 credit hours must be taken from courses in one of the areas of concentration including earth system science; environment and natural resources; environment and society; or geographical information techniques. The remaining 10 credit hours may consist of courses from any of the other three areas of concentration; related courses in other disciplines with departmental approval (up to 6 of the 10 credit hours); and/or experiential learning courses (up to 3 of the 10 credit hours). The non-thesis option is only available with consent of the academic advisor and graduate program director.

Doctor of Philosophy. The PhD program requires a minimum of 48 hours of coursework beyond the baccalaureate degree (that may include up to 24 credit hours of approved graduate-level coursework transferred from a master's program and a maximum of 12 hours of non-thesis or non-dissertation research), 24 hours of dissertation research, and a dissertation. A dissertation committee should be established by the end of the first semester of residence and a dissertation project should be established by the end of the third semester of residence. Each PhD candidate must pass a candidacy examination, submit and successfully defend a dissertation proposal, and pass an oral dissertation defense. Additional information is given in the Department of Geography PhD Graduate Handbook

 

 

Course Descriptions

GY 500 Research Traditions and Methodology in Geography.  Three hours.
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 Climatology. Three hours.

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

GY 504 Physical Geography of the Southeastern United States. Three hours.
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 Directed Research: Physical Geography. Variable credit.

GY 506 Directed Research: Human Geography. Variable credit.

GY 507 Boundary Layer Climates. Three hours.
This course is designed to introduce the nature of the atmosphere near the ground and the interactions these processes have with the physical, biological, and human systems on Earth.

GY 512 Hydroclimatology. Three hours.

Introduces the nature of the atmosphere near the ground and the interactions these processes have with the physical, biological, and human systems on Earth.

GY 520 Remote Sensing I. Four hours.
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 Quantitative Methods. Three hours.

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 Introduction to Geographic Information Systems. Four hours.
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 Special Research in Geography. Two to four hours.

 

GY 534 GIS Internship. Three to six hours. 
Individual work experience in GIS supervised by the staff of an off-campus agency.


GY 535 Remote Sensing II. Four hours.
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 Advanced Geographic Information Systems. Four hours.
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 538 Application Issues in GIS. Four hours.
Provides an in-depth discussion on various topics in the application and technical issues of geographic information systems.

GY 540 Community Facilities Planning. Three hours.
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 Land Use Regulations. Three hours.
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 Field Studies in Africa. Six hours.
Experiential learning course. It explores how different cultural groups in Africa relate to the natural environment.

GY 552 Environmental Decision Making. Three hours.
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 Environment and Society. Three hours.
Explores the linkages between the biophysical environmental and human social systems. Public-policy implications are viewed from a social science perspective.

GY 558 Urban Analysis Planning. Three hours.
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 Environmental Management. Three hours.
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.

GY 561 Social Impact Assessment. Three hours.
Focuses on the theories, philosophies, and methodologies of assessing the social consequences of environmental change.

GY 565 Regional Planning and Analysis. Three hours.
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 Regional and Urban Transportation Systems. Four hours.
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 567 Topics in Global Environmental Change. Three hours.
Review and discussion of natural and human-induced changes in the physical environment with emphasis on deforestation, changing land use, and recent climate change.

GY 570 Special Studies in Geography. Three hours.

GY 572 Soil Science. Four hours.
Introduction to the scientific study of soils. Covers soil physical properties, morphology, development, classification, environmental functions and uses, and resource degradation.

GY 574 Cartography Practicum. Three to six hours.
Individual work experience in cartography supervised by the faculty and staff of the University.

GY 575 Cartography Internship. Three to six hours.
Individual work experience in cartography, supervised by the staff of an off-campus agency.

GY 576 GIS Practicum. Three to six hours.
Individual work experience in GIS supervised by the faculty and staff of the University.

GY 578 Planning Practicum. Three to six hours.
Individual work experience in planning supervised by the faculty and staff of the University.

GY 579 Planning Internship. Three to six hours.
Individual work experience in planning supervised by the staff of an off-campus planning agency.

GY 586 Drainage Basin Dynamics. Three hours.
An examination of the physical operation of drainage basins (watersheds), focusing on surface water hydrology, erosion, and sedimentation.

GY 588 Planning and Government. Three hours.

Examines the role of planning as a governmental function, and the legal means available to local governments to carry out this important function.


GY 589 Forest Ecology and Vegetation Analysis. Three hours.
A study of the relationship of trees to the environment, and the interrelationship of organisms that compose the forest community.

GY 590 Internship. Three hours.
Individual work experience with agency involved in geographical research, analysis, and reporting.

GY 598 Nonthesis Research. One to three hours.

GY 599 Thesis Research. One to twelve hours.

 


THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA GRADUATE CATALOG

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