The Geographic Science
is housed in the Integrated Science and Technology Department within
of Integrated Science & Engineering.
Applied Geographic Information
Environmental Conservation, Sustainability and Development (ECSD)
Admission and Progression Standards for this major:
Click on the link to learn more about the admission and progression standards of this major: http://www.jmu.edu/advising/snapshots/SSGEOG.shtml
The Geographic Science Program empowers students to address problems associated with the spatial patterns and processes of human and environmental change. It does this by taking a highly integrated approach that couples the study of people and the environment with the use of cutting edge tools such as digital mapping technologies and images of the earth collected from satellites and aircraft. This unique approach produces graduates who are ‘big picture’ thinkers and are valued by a wide range of employers and prepared for further study in geography and related disciplines.
me more about this field of study.
Geography is the study of the earth’s landscapes, peoples, places and environments. It is, quite simply, about the world in which we live. The focuses of geography, and its interdisciplinary approach, put it at the center of critical contemporary questions of globalization and environmental change.
As a discipline, Geography is unique in bridging the social sciences (human geography) with the natural sciences (physical geography). One of the key focuses of geography is the interaction between people and the physical environment. Physical geographers are especially concerned with processes and change in our climate, biosphere, landscape and waters.
Understanding the causes of differences and inequalities between places and social groups underlie much of the newer developments in human geography. Geography puts this understanding of social and physical processes within the context of places and regions - recognizing the great differences in cultures, political systems, economies, landscapes and environments across the world, and the links between them.
Geography provides an ideal framework for relating other fields of knowledge. It is not surprising that those trained as geographers often contribute substantially to the applied management of resources and environments.
Geography is at the cutting edge of the development and use of digital mapping technologies, helping to deepen the understanding of human and environmental issues. This discipline is at the forefront of the use of satellite and aerial imagery in spatial analysis.
In summary, Geography is a holistic, inclusive discipline, rooted in the exploration, analysis, and understanding of real-world human and physical environments. Through critical examination, and through the use of maps and geospatial technologies, geographers answer the questions: How is the world organized and how does the world work?
Tell me more about specializations in this major.
The Geographic Science Program has two main focuses. You can decide to concentrate your studies in either or both:
- Geospatial Technologies and Digital Mapping: AGIS Concentration
- Environment, Conservation, Sustainability and Development: ECSD Concentration
Geospatial Technologies and Digital Mapping
Through the Geography program, you can become skilled with the latest geospatial technologies. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) allows you to:
- Make maps
- Analyze spatial data
- Provide solutions for businesses, governments and non-profit organizations.
You will be an in-demand, highly skilled graduate ready to work with these technologies in a wide range of areas.
The Applied Geographic Information Systems (AGIS) concentration will introduce you to exciting, cutting edge technologies used to find out about the earth and to map it. The concentration will give you hands-on experience in three focus areas:
- GIS uses computer-based map data to solve a vast array of problems such as wildlife conservation area boundaries or determining how to get food aid to a famine-affected area.
- Earth observation uses satellite and aircraft images to help scientists better understand climate change, mapping forests, and obtaining intelligence information, among other things.
- Cartography is the science of producing maps, which can be used for everything from helping drivers find their way around a city to helping scientists track the spread of diseases.
Demand for AGIS-related technologies has been growing exponentially over the past decade, and demand for graduates is high.
Environment, Conservation, Sustainability and Development
The Environment, Conservation, Sustainability and Development (ECSD) concentration allows students to explore human and environmental change in depth. With real-world experiences, you will learn to think critically about the problems facing humans and the environment today.
Whatever your focus, you will have the opportunity to travel the world, and become an accomplished graduate, ready for employment in any field with a demand for globally intelligent, widely skilled, critical and analytical thinkers.
- Our program emphasizes sustainability as a focus that brings together environmental and economic questions. Our geography students have recently developed new landscape designs for the new Harrisonburg hospital, helping to manage stormwater runoff.
- Geography students at JMU understand how humans interact with their environment, and develop new ways of examining our natural world. Knowing how the physical environment works means you can offer valuable solutions and strategies for environments under pressure.
- As a geographer, you can explore the realities of contemporary globalization and global inequality, and see first-hand the challenges facing the developing world. Geographers at JMU seek to understand the human contexts of urbanization, development, sustainability and conservation. With this understanding, and as future leaders and decision-makers, you will better direct the priorities of our changing world.
common major or minor combinations from other departments
complement this major?
Geographic Science majors commonly combine a double
major or minor in Geology, Anthropology, Biology, Computer
Science, Economics, Environmental Studies, History,
Integrated Science and Technology, International Business,
Marketing, Materials Science, Mathematics, Modern Foreign
Languages, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology,
Statistics, Urban and Regional Studies, or Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication.
OF SUCCESSFUL STUDENTS
JMU Geographers are globally intelligent, widely skilled, critical and analytical thinkers.
Geography graduates find opportunities and careers from a diverse array of employers. As a graduate, you can
apply the knowledge, skills, and perspectives gained from your geographical education in the private,
governmental, and non-profit sectors. Keeping that spirit of adventure associated with geography, both
national and international employers are ready to use your technical skills and global understanding. The JMU Geography Program also has an excellent track-record of placement in some of the best graduate programs in the United States.
Students who concentrate in AGIS have found opportunities in industry with companies such as Earth Satellite Corporation, GeoEye, Lockheed, SPOT Image, Logicom, SAIC, Sanborn, Booz-Allen Hamilton, Boeing, and many others.
Private environmental organizations and consulting firms, as well as government agencies, have all hired students completing the environmental studies concentration (ECSD) at JMU. Principal employers include the Environmental Protection Agency, Dewberry, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey and non-profit organizations including the Nature Conservancy and Peace Corps.
Many graduates choose typical career paths associated
with this major. However, some graduates choose unrelated
careers that utilize skills and experiences developed
during their years in college. Keep in mind, that some
fields will require graduate study or further training.
Example of potential careers include the following: