At the University of Wisconsin (1960-66), Butzer regularly offered a course on Pleistocene environments and what is now called geoarchaeology, in addition to introductory physical geography, and graduate seminars in climatology and coastal geomorphology.
At the University of Chicago (1966-84), he taught advanced courses in physical and human geography, applied geomorphology, and environmental archaeology, as well as graduate seminars in settlement archaeology / geography and archaeological theory.
Karl Butzer introduced a new program in human geography at the ETH-Zurich (1981-82), which continued to be implemented after his departure.
Since 1984 at the University of Texas he offered graduate courses in geoarchaeology and environmental history; cultural ecology; historical geography; and landscape, society, and meaning.
In 2005 he received an Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award. He has had 29 Ph.D.’s (8 of them women) and 16 M.A.’s (7 women), at Wisconsin, Chicago and Texas. Currently, he supervises three Ph.D. students.
Four of his Ph.D.’s received Outstanding Dissertation Awards of the University of Texas: Robert Ricklis (1990) on indigenous response to sea level change and political confrontation on the Texas gulf coast; Charles Frederick (1995) on climate, land use and environmental history in Mexico; Christine Drennon (1998) on ethnic conflict and the fragmentation of space in Macedonia; and Catherine Castañeda (2003) on women, ethnicity and access to resources in costal Hondouras.