Suresh Muthukrishnan Furman University

Dr. Suresh Muthukrishnan joined Furman University immediately upon completing his Ph.D. at Purdue University. His thesis research at Purdue was on understanding and modeling the impacts of landuse/land cover transformations on water quality and runoff. His research advisor Dr. Jon Harbor (Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Purdue University) provided the inspiration to pursue academic career and continues to serves as a role model even today. Since arriving at Furman, Dr. Muthukrishnan has broadened his research interest to include location based teaching and research. He enjoys mentoring undergraduate students and helping his colleagues implement GIS based solutions to their teaching/research.

He has played a pivotal role in promoting GIS (Geographic Information System) awareness and usage on Furman's campus. Dr. Muthukrishnan strongly believes in travel-study programs as they provide incredible, life changing experience to our students. He not only includes exciting field trips as part of his classes but has been part of several study abroad programs including semester in India, and May Experience programs in Iceland and Tanzania. He is an avid photographer and enjoys taking extremely large, giga-pixel images of unique landscapes and incorporates them into his teaching. He has won outstanding graduate student of the year award at Purdue University and Henry Keith and Ellen Hard Townes Associate Professorship at Furman University.


Introduction to GIS

This course covers basic foundations of Geographic Information System, and provides the opportunity to practice the acquired knowledge and skills through carrying out a real-life applied project experience.  Project development, data collection and analysis, implementation and dissemination are emphasized.  Students of all levels and majors are encouraged.  No computer background necessary.

Name Title Description


Environmental Science

Study of human transformation of Earth as a trade-off for growth of the human enterprise. Topics include changes in population, land cover (agriculture, deforestation, urbanization), climate, nitrogen and phosphorous cycles, biodiversity; limits of water, soil, energy and mineral resources; and links between population and consumption patterns.


Natural Hazards and Disasters

An introduction to the understanding of natural hazards and disasters (earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, etc) as violent and often destructive phenomena triggered by dynamic geological processes. Emphasis on the interrelationship among hazards and human role in them.


Geographic Information Systems

Introduction to use of geographic information system analysis to enhance geographic pattern and relationship recognition in geo-spatial data. Data collection and data quality. Data transformation and linkages. GIS modeling.


Surficial Processes

Introduction to the physical and chemical processes and their mechanics that operate within the Earth146s surficial systems to govern landform development. Includes quantitative analysis of geomorphic data in an interdisciplinary context, with emphasis on the interpretation of process.


Remote Sensing

The theory and application of remote sensing studies as a tool for environmental management. Topics include the fundamentals of electromagnetic radiation, different methods of remote sensing, platforms and sensor technology, visual image interpretation, and digital image processing.


Ocean and Climate Systems

This course is an introduction to the understanding of physics that govern the large scale circulations of the ocean and the atmosphere and its connection to the global climate. Emphasis will be on ocean-atmosphere interaction, energy transfer, climate changes and human impacts.


Research and Analysis

Analysis of data, reading of scientific literature relevant to individual research, and writing of a thesis based on the results of an independent research project. Students must also present results at a professional meeting and to the department. EES-502 must be enrolled at the same time.


Earth & Envrmntl Sci Seminar


Eyes in the Sky

This course covers fundamentals of aerial photography and satellite imaging technologies; basics of image interpretation; geospatial data gathering, analysis, and application. Students will learn to collect aerial photographs to successfully complete a project.

*Denotes undergraduate coauthor

  • 2012. *Price, A. E., Reed, J. A., & Mutukrishnan, S. Trail user demographics, physical activity behaviors, and perceptions of a newly constructed greenway trail. Journal of Community Health, 37(6), 1264-1268.
  • 2011. Julian A. Reed, Steven P. Hooker, Suresh Muthukrishnan, and Brent Hutto, User Demographics and Physical Activity Behaviors on a Newly Constructed Urban Rail/Trail Conversion, Journal of Physical Activity and Health, Vol. 8, pp. 534-542
  • 2008. Reed. J. A., Malvern, L., Muthukrishnan, S., Hardy, R., & King, L., An ecological approach with primary-care counseling to promote physical activity, Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 2008 (5), p. 169 – 183.
  • 2007. Muthukrishnan, S., Lewis, G.P., and Andersen, C.B., Relationships between land cover, vegetation density, and nitrate concentrations in streams of the Enoree River basin, piedmont region of South Carolina, USA (Chapter 24), in, D. Sarkar, R. Datta, and R. Hannigan (eds.), Concepts and Applications in Environmental Geochemistry , Elsevier Press, New York, p. 517-542.
  • 2007. Muthukrishnan, S., Geology:Long-Term Hydrologic Impacts of Land Use Change (Chapter 15), in, Diana Stuart Sinton and Jennifer J. Lund (eds.), Understanding Place: GIS and Mapping Across the Curriculum, ESRI Press, Redlands, CA, p. 212-222.
  • 2007. Reed. J. A., Malvern, L., Muthukrishnan, S., Hardy, R., & King, L, A descriptive examination of a novel approach to primary care counseling for physical activity in a community health center in upstate South Carolina. The EJournal of the South Carolina Medical Association, 103(March) , 40-43.
  • 2007. Reed. J. A., Malvern, L., Muthukrishnan, S., Hardy, R., & King, L. An ecological approach combined with primary care counseling to promote physical activity. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 39(5) Supplement: S80-S81, May 2007.
  • 2006. Muthukrishnan, S., J. Harbor, K. J. Lim, and B. A. Engel, Calibration of a simple rainfall-runoff model for long-term hydrological impact evaluation, Journal of the Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), 18(2):33-40.

Dr. Suresh Muthukrishnan's research interests cover the following areas: Fluvial Geomorphology, modeling land cover transformation and its impacts on water resources, landslides, and the application of Geographic Information System (GIS) and Remote Sensing methods to problem solving in social and environmental context.

The main question that Dr. Muthukrishnan's research seeks to answer is: to what extent human transformation of natural landscapes have influenced the natural river processes, and how do these changes in turn impact the humans? Using field based observations of stream geomorphology and GIS based modeling work, Dr. Muthukrishnan seeks to identify the problems such as bank erosion, sedimentation, and flooding, as well as to find the sources of such problems in order to find a solution.

Dr. Muthukrishnan collaborates closely with River Basins Research Initiative group as well as other faculty outside the group. In the recent years, Dr. Muthukrishnan and Dr. Julian Reed (Health Sciences) have established a long-term collaborative research project studying the social and health impacts of trail development and usage as well as rail2trail transformation, particularly focusing on trails in Greenville and Spartanburg counties. Dr. Muthukrishnan also collaborates with Dr. Bill Ranson and Dr. Jack Garihan on studying landslides in the Upstate of South Carolina.

Purdue University
Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay, India
Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay, India
Anna University - Chennai, India

Connect with Admission

Furman University is one of the nation's premier undergraduate liberal arts colleges. We offer outstanding academics, opportunities for a broad range of talented students with a passion for learning, a robust arts program, and NCAA Division I athletics.

Want more information about the admission process at Furman?

Contact us

Once you see our campus, making the right college decision will be so much easier.

Plan a visit

Undergraduate Evening Studies provides adults the opportunity to receive an education from one of the premier liberal arts universities in the nation.

Whether you are starting or continuing your education, or have been away from the classroom for a few months or several years, our program provides many services to assist you with accomplishing your educational and professional goals.

Apply now

Our graduate studies program is designed for the professional educator.

We know the challenges teachers and administrators face every day, and we are committed to helping you become a leader within your school system or district.

Apply now
  • 50th Anniversary of Desegregation at Furman
  • Furman University