Department Personnel











GEOG 101/102: Survey of Physical Geography

Have you ever wondered:

  • How human activities have impacted our natural environment?
  • Why rainforests have such high biodiversity?
  • Why the land surface in Illinois is so flat?
  • How beaches form?
  • Why it floods so quickly after a rainfall in urban environments?
  • Why the soils in Illinois are black and the soils in Georgia red?
  • What factors influence the distribution of vegetation globally?
  • How much freshwater is there in the world?
  • How are mountains built?
  • What factors influence the distribution of soils on Earth?

What General Education Objectives are met in Geography 101/102?

The physical geography perspective integrates information from other fields such as geology, biology, physics, and chemistry. Explore aspects of geography such as water resources, soil and vegetation distributions within a global context. Examples of current research in the field of physical geography expose students to the thought process associated with the scientific method. Learn to think critically about the geographic environment by examining the impact of humans on the physical landscape. Develop written, quantitative, technical, and oral skills through a variety of laboratory exercises in GEOG 102.

Facts about Geography 101/102:

Course Offered: Both spring and fall semesters: Geog 101, 3 credit hours; or Geog 101 and Geog 102, 4 credit hours

General Education: Fulfills a science/math distributive area requirement and matches the following general education goals: develop communication and technical skills, apply various modes of inquiry, and develop an understanding of integrated knowledge through a combination of lecture material, readings, laboratory assignments, and exams.

Course Goal: To introduce students to processes and interactions within the physical environment including those associated with hydrology, landforms, soils, and vegetation.

GEOG 303: Water Resources and the Environment (3)

This course is intended to provide the students with a broader understanding of water as a natural resource and its importance to our lives and the Earth's complex environment. Specifically, this course will cover issues related to water distribution, water usage, and water management. Relevant videos and supplement readings will used throughout the course. Upon successful completion of this course, the students will be able to:

  1. appreciate the uniqueness of water and water as a natural resources;
  2. explain the spatial and temporal distribution of water on and near the surface of the Earth and why it is so distributed (hydrologic cycle);
  3. be familiar with the technology and techniques for managing and conserving this precious resource in terms of both quantity and quality and its relation to sustainable development;
  4. understand the social/economical, legal, and political aspects of water resources. 


GEOG 338: Geography of Asia (3)

Regional analysis of Asia. Natural environment and resources, natural hazards, history and cultures, agriculture and rural development, demographic changes, urbanization and urban problems, industry and trade, tourism, areas of political conflicts. Geographic perspectives applied to contemporary issues.

Upon successful completion of this course, the students should be able to:

  1. appreciate the natural landscape, environment, culture and people of Asia
  2. understand the uniqueness and diversity of cultures of this region and their relationships with natural environment
  3. understand the environmental issues and sustainable development
  4. understand the population growth and urbanization issues
  5. understand impacts of globalization on the economy and trade in this region
  6. recognize the roles of this region in global politics
  7. know the tourist attractions


GEOG 359: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems (3)

This course introduces the basic theory and concepts of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and provides hands-on experience of working with a particular GIS software package (i.e, GeoMedia Pro by Intergraph Corporation, Huntsville, AL) through exercises and projects. The theory and concepts provides a context for understanding the functions of GeoMedia and the lab reinforces the theory and concepts covered in the lecture. After successful completion of this course, the students will be able to:

  1. describe what GIS is; name the major GIS software available; know where to find more information;
  2. explain the components and functionality of a GIS and the differences between GIS and other information systems;
  3. explain how spatial information is stored in computer (including map projection) and the two types of GIS data structure;
  4. conduct simple spatial analysis using GeoMedia Pro software; design and complete a GIS project from start to finish (data capture, data storage and management, analysis, and presentation);


GEOG 460/560: Remote Sensing (with Mace Bentley) (3)

The overall goal of this course is to introduce students to the basic principles of remote sensing and demonstrate its applicability to different fields. After successful completion of this course, students should be able to explain:

  1. electromagnetic radiation of an object and its interaction with the atmosphere
  2. interpret aerial photos and satellite imagery
  3. apply basic techniques of image processing to obtain meaningful information
  4. understand the components and orbits of meteorological satellites
  5. interpret satellite imagery pertaining to weather analysis and forecasting


GEOG 492: Hydrology (3)

This course introduces the fundamental physical principles that are necessary to understand the occurrence, distribution, and circulation of water near the Earth's surface. A qualitative understanding of the hydrological phenomena will be enhanced by a quantitative examination of the physical processes involved in the hydrological cycle. The course will provide an introduction to hydrological processes (what, where, how, and why) and data acquisition and analysis. The purpose of the laboratory is to reinforce the principles and applications introduced in lecture and to be familiar with computer modeling tools in hydrology: Excel and HEC software (predict and forecast). After successful completion of this course, the students should be able to:

  • apply physical laws to solve basic hydrologic problems
  • use common computer modeling tools to simulate simple hydrologic process


GEOG 493: Computer Methods and Modeling (3)

This course introduces the basic customization of ArcGIS using VBA and Geoprocessing using Model Builder and Python. After successful completion of this course, the students will be able to:

  1. customize user interface
  2. implement specific tasks with VBA or python
  3. construct models using model builder and modify the code
  4. understand ArcObject and object-oriented programming


GEOG 498A/790A: Seminar in Current Problems (3)

This course will introduce classical concepts and recent trends in landform evolution and modeling by reading and discussing book chapters and recent papers on a variety of topics, including early conceptual models on landform evolution, terrain analysis and basin morphometry, GIS, DEMs, scales and fractals, computer simulation models, applied geomorphology, and Martian geomorphology, etc. At the end of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Explain the classical concepts on landform evolution
  2. Summarize the current trends in geomorphology research
  3. Identify remaining questions in current research
  4. Understand the format of scientific paper and write one ready for submission to a journal