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Department of Geography

  • Meredith DeBoom en route to her Namibia fieldsite

    A Better World

    Improve our world by conducting research that answers big questions.


As geographers, we pride ourselves on research that solves pressing problems and provides critical insight into complex social and environmental phenomena.  

Our faculty members can be found measuring, monitoring and mapping atmospheric pollution, sedimentation and beach erosion, and learning how communities locally and around the world respond to environmental change. They have fieldwork sites worldwide and have investigated such topics as dune dynamics in Brazil, irrigation practices in the Nile Delta, mining conflicts in Ecuador and land-cover changes on the Tibetan Plateau.  

An important part of our mission is to train graduate students to formulate and to execute original research. We also encourage undergraduate students to pursue research opportunities and take advantage of our facilities and expertise. If you're an undergraduate and you’re interested in geography research, check out what we’re doing in the Office of Undergraduate Research, then contact undergraduate studies director Conor Harrison to get involved. 

Research Institutes and Centers

The South Carolina Geographic Alliance is a network of K-12 educators and university geographers who  bring the concepts and methodology of modern geography to the K-12 classroom. The alliance provides high-quality, low cost, professional development opportunities and materials to South Carolina educators. 

Researchers in the Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments work with stakeholders in the Carolinas to incorporate climate information into water and coastal management and related decision-making processes. This initiative is supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments program. 

The Hazards Vulnerability & Resilience Institute is an interdisciplinary research and training center. It focuses on the development of theory, data, metrics, methods, applications and spatial analytical models of understanding human vulnerability to natural hazards, such as hurricanes, tornados and other extreme weather events. 

The Center for GIScience and Geospatial Big Data (CeGIS) conducts interdisciplinary research and education on Geographic Information Science (GIScience) and Spatial Data Science including GIS, geospatial big data, remote sensing, spatial analysis, statistics, and modeling, geospatial artificial intelligence (GeoAI), spatial computing, geo-visualization, and cyberGIS.

The International Center of Excellence on Big Earth Data for Coasts researches Big Earth Data and its applications for coastal observation, adaptation and disaster management. As a joint program between Department of Geography and the Hainan Key Laboratory of Earth Observation in Sanya, China, it is one of eight centers established through the International Digital Belt and Road Science Program. 

Departmental Research Labs and Facilities

The Climate Research Lab  provides technical support and equipment for research into climate change and variability, synoptic climatology, climate impacts, microclimatology, physical climatology, historical and paleoclimatology, aerosols and climate, and air pollution. It includes faculty and students whose research and teaching interests span temporal and spatial scales. 

The Critical Ecologies Lab is an interdisciplinary collaboration between faculty and students that analyzes contemporary environmental issues through the lenses of culture, history and political economy. 

The Earth Surface Patterns and Processes Lab Complex provides facilities and equipment for teaching and research in biogeography, geomorphology, hydrology and sedimentation. 

The Geoinformation and Big Data Research Lab uses cutting-edge computing technologies and geospatial methods to advance knowledge discovery and decision-making in climate change studies, disaster management, human mobility and public health. 

The Wind-sediment Interactions and Nearshore Dynamics Lab, or WINDlab, focuses on wind-induced phenomena at a various spatial and temporal scales in the coastal zone. 


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.