Major programs for a lifetime

A constant search for knowledge and the keys to understanding the human condition.

The teachings of Plato and Aristotle. The dynamics of world politics and how other nations' world views affect their consequent actions. Our humanities and social sciences programs will change the way you view the world and, more profoundly, the way you see yourself. Our programs will take you to new places in your mind.

  1. Photo: Dave Rexrode and David Mills

    Face Off

    Red, Blue, and JMU

    Virginia Republican Dave Rexrode ('01) and Democrat David Mills ('02), hold mirror positions as executive directors Virginia's two primary political parties, talk politics and consensus …Read more

  2. Photo: Ashley Mitchell

    Critical Thinking

    Approximately 80 percent of JMU undergraduates do research, a practicum, an internship or student teach. Many do more than one of these. The result? A change in perspective. Critical thinking skills. An intense education. For example, Katie Sensabaugh …Read more

  3. Photo: Ashley Mitchell

    Bridging the gap

    Bridging the gap between poverty and success

    Arriving at work before 8 a.m., Ashley Mitchell (’09) starts each day with a ”sponge.“ By the time students arrive in their classrooms an hour later, Mitchell is ready and waiting to give a ”sponge lecture“ — a review of the previous day’s lessons …Read more

  4. Photo: Joann Grayson

    A Virginia Woman in History

    Fourth-graders honor child advocate Joann Grayson

    When an elementary school class embarked on an Internet search for the name of a Virginia woman who made a difference in the lives of children, one name came up over and over again, Joann H. Grayson, JMU professor of psychology …Read more

  5. Photo: Paul McDowell

    Validating my potential

    A Q&A with Paul McDowell ('11) on his HIST 395 research project

    Rising junior Paul McDowell is a member of the Honors Program and the JMU Honors Learning Community. In addition to his history degree, he is pursuing a minor in Italian. He completed his HIST 395 research project about the 19th-century lynching of 11 Italian Americans in New Orleans. He is continuing that research … Read more

  6. Photo: Eric Johnson ('95) spent some of his time in Nasiriyah, Iraq, thinking of ideas for his Open Source Shakespeare Web site, which receives more than 15,000 visitors a month.

    Searching Shakespeare

    Eric Johnson's ('95) 'experiment in literary technology'

    "To be, or not to be" may well have been a question William Shakespeare pondered. But for history major Eric Johnson ('95) the question is "To create, or not to create?" The alum's unique Web site, Open Source Shakespeare,, originated … Read more

  7. Photo: JMU English professor Joanne Gabbin

    Consciousness-raising poetry

    Professor of English Joanne Gabbin

    Like the poetry she revels in, Joanne Gabbin radiates with the power to transform. Both of her pioneering Furious Flower Poetry conferences have advanced African-American poetry, celebrating beauty and achievement, and revealing … Read more

  8. Photo: Caroline F. Braun ('09), left, (shown here with Lindsay Casale ('09) in Portugal) spent her entire junior year abroad studying in England and Spain.

    The best year of my life

    My two Study Abroad experiences in England and Spain

    It was the best year of my life. My family and close friends thought I was crazy to want to spend my entire junior year studying abroad. They said it would be hard. I will never regret my decision. I spent the entirety of my junior year learning culture, history and language … Read more

  9. Photo: JMU history professor and Afghan scholar Shah Mahmoud Hanifi

    Understanding identity

    Professor builds students' global perspective

    JMU history professor and Afghan scholar Shah Mahmoud Hanifi is researching and influencing the political discourse on a region at the forefront of world attention today and bringing it directly to the classroom. His work encourages a fuller and richer understanding … Read more