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University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

Geography (GEOG)

GEOG 333 Human Dimensions of Natural Hazards (3) An introduction to natural hazards, integrating physical and social science perspectives.

GEOG 333 Human Dimensions of Natural Hazards (3)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.


Natural hazards – such as earthquakes, tsunami, volcanoes, and floods – are not simply forces of nature. Their impacts depend on the interaction between the hazardous events and the characteristics of people, their communities, and the human systems in which they operate. The physical dimensions of natural hazards require knowledge of physical science, and the human dimensions of natural hazards call for knowledge of social science. Nevertheless, understanding natural hazards means not only that students know the physical and social sciences, but also that they know how nature and society work together to increase or decrease potential harm posed by these phenomena.

This course introduces students to the topic by surveying the range of natural hazards and by applying important social science perspectives, such as risk, vulnerability, and the true costs of hazards, to each of the hazards. Because the study of natural hazards is interdisciplinary, readings, lectures, and discussions address crucial aspects of both natural and social sciences.

GEOG 333 has two goals: (1) to develop understanding of a set of issues related to the human dimensions of natural hazards; (2) to develop and apply communication skills by discussing, writing about, and presenting on natural hazards. The specific content of the course will change with the instructor, but the focus on interactions between the natural and human worlds and on skill-development in writing and speaking will be constant.

Students will be evaluated on both the course goals: (1) understanding of the human dimensions of natural hazards; (2) application of communication skills. Although exact procedures for determining grades will vary with instructor, the basis for grades will always include a combination of written exams based on lectures and readings, oral presentations and papers, and in-class discussion and participation.


General Education: None
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: Social and Behavioral Science
Effective: Fall 2011
Prerequisite: junior or senior standing

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.

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Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.



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