Academic Programs

Academic Units: Department of Integrated Science and Technology

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Geographic Science
  • Ronald Kander, Program Director
  • Phone: (540) 568-2740
  • E-mail: kanderrg@jmu.edu
  • Web site: www.gs.jmu.edu
  • For information about specific concentrations, contact the concentration coordinators.
Back to top of page Mission Statement
The Geographic Science Program empowers, inspires and motivates students to become competent critical thinkers prepared for lifelong learning, who will respond to intellectual challenges with interest, excitement and competence, and who will see themselves as global citizens actively involved in the world around them.

The program graduates majors who are confident in their abilities as geographers, prepared for a lifetime of learning in geography, who have the skills to make a professional contribution to the field, to compete successfully in the job market, to successfully pursue graduate degrees and who are highly qualified for careers in research and development – equipped for long term success as professionals in the field of geography.

  Goals
Through the study of geography students will:
  • understand the theories, models and analytical methods that help explain spatial patterns.
  • understand the power and use of geographic tools such as maps, quantitative methods, aerial imagery, geographic information systems and global positioning systems in geographic analysis.
  • develop the ability to use maps and other geographic representations and technologies to acquire, process and report geographic information.
  • understand the relationship between cultural and physical processes within the spatial framework.
  • understand the major problems facing humankind through examination of the interactions and relationships among humans, and between humans and the physical environment.
  • develop an awareness of how cultural similarities and differences are manifested in both the human and physical environment.
  • understand how the physical environment affects human systems and how the physical environment is modified by human activities.
  • understand the value of the inter- and multi- disciplinary nature of geographical study and analysis.
  • understand the value of the geographer’s perspective in explaining global diversity.
  • understand the historical and philosophical development of geography and its sub-disciplines.
  • understand how to detect and analyze the spatial structure of phenomena using spatial models.
Back to top of page Career Opportunities
The geography major is divided into three concentration areas. Each of these offers a unique set of career opportunities.
  Applied Geographic Information Science (AGIS) Concentration
JMU Geography graduates with an AGIS concentration have been able to gain professional employment with government and industry or to go on to graduate programs. Public agencies where they have found employment include local and regional planning agencies, mapping organizations such as the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, intelligence agencies such as the CIA and the National Photographic Intelligence Center, and also in the environmental science field with the Environmental Protection Agency.

JMU AGIS graduates have also found opportunities in industry with companies such as Earth Satellite Corporation, Space Imaging, Lockheed, SPOT Image, Logicom, SAIC, Pacific Meridian, Booz-Allen & Hamilton, and many others.

Environmental Studies Concentration
Geography students trained in environmental and resource analysis, particularly those specializing in land-use planning, recreation planning, and/or resource and environmental management, find employment in both the private and public sector.

Private environmental organizations and consulting firms, as well as local, state and federal government agencies have all hired students completing the Environmental Studies Concentration. Principal employers include the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service.

Global Studies Concentration
A student who completes the Global Studies concentration finds employment in governmental and non-governmental agencies such as the State Department, the CIA, international population bureaus and relief agencies, and economic development organizations. A student with a global studies background is also prepared for graduate school, law school and service opportunities such as the Peace Corps.
Back to top of page Co-curricular Activities and Organizations
  • Geography Club
  • Gamma Theta Upsilon (International Geographical Honor Society)
Back to top of page Degree and Major Requirements
Bachelor of Arts in Geographic Science
Degree Requirements
Required Courses
Credit Hours
General Education1
41
Foreign Language classes (intermediate level required)2
0-14
Philosophy course(s) (in addition to General Education courses)
3
Major requirements (listed below) and electives
74-78

120
1 The General Education program contains a set of requirements each student must fulfill. The number of credit hours necessary to fulfill these requirements may vary.
2 The foreign language requirement may be satisfied by successful completion of the second semester of the intermediate level of the student’s chosen language (typically 232) or by placing out of that language through the Department of Foreign Language’s placement test.
Major Requirements
Core Courses
Credit Hours
GEOG 210. Physical Geography
4
GEOG 265. Thematic Cartography
4
GEOG 280. Cultural Geography
3
Capstone experience (choose one of the following):
3-6
GEOG 490. Special Studies (3 credits)
GEOG 491. International Study (3 credits)
GEOG 495. Internship (3-6 credits)
GEOG 499. Honors Thesis (6 credits)
Concentration courses
28-34
In addition to the geography core courses, students must choose one of three concentrations, listed in the “Concentrations” section.
Bachelor of Science in Geographic Science
Degree Requirements
Required Courses
Credit Hours
General Education1
41-44
Quantitative requirement (in addition to General Education)
3
Scientific Literacy requirement (in addition to General Education)
3-4
Major requirements (listed below) and electives
70-74

120
1 The General Education program contains a set of requirements each student must fulfill. The number of credit hours necessary to fulfill these requirements may vary.
Major Requirements
Core Courses
Credit Hours
GEOG 210. Physical Geography
4
GEOG 265. Thematic Cartography
4
GEOG 280. Cultural Geography
3
Capstone experience (choose one of the following):
3-6
GEOG 490. Special Studies (3 credits)
GEOG 491. International Study (3 credits)
GEOG 495. Internship (3-6 credits)
GEOG 499. Honors Thesis (6 credits)
Concentration courses
28-34
In addition to the geography core courses, students must choose one of three concentrations, listed in the “Concentrations” section.
Concentrations
Applied Geographic Information Science Concentration
  • Daniel Shaffer, Coordinator
  • Phone: (540) 568-6199
  • E-mail: shaffeds@jmu.edu
In addition to the geography core requirements, students in the AGIS Concentration must complete the following course work. At least 11 hours of those below must be upper-division courses.
Credit Hours
GEOG 366. Geographic Information Systems
4
Choose 22 credit hours from the following:
GEOG 215. Map Reading and Interpretation
3
GEOG 230. Spatial Analysis
3
GEOG 244. Introduction to Global Positioning Systems
1
GEOG 245. Global Positioning Systems
3
GEOG 285. Remote Sensing
4
GEOG 365. Advanced Thematic Cartography
4
GEOG 385. Advanced Remote Sensing
4
GEOG 466. Managing GIS & Geographic Databases
4
GEOG 467. Applied Geographic Information Systems
3
GEOG 468. Internet Geographic Information Systems
4
MATH 220. Elementary Statistics
3
Other courses as approved by the AGIS adviser (6 credits maximum)
Courses from the ISAT program, the Department of Computer Science and from the College of Business may be used as electives, as approved by the AGIS Concentration Coordinator.
Environmental Studies Concentration
  • Dr. Jack Gentile, Coordinator
  • Phone: (540) 568-6173
  • E-mail: gentiljr@jmu.edu
In addition to the geography core requirements, all students in the Environmental Studies Concentration must complete the following course work.
Required Courses
Credit Hours
GEOG 240. Natural Resource Conservation
3
GEOG 300. Population Geography
3
GEOG 315. Field Studies
3
GEOG 390. Research Design
1
Electives
18
Cognate courses
6

34
The Elective courses (18 credit hours) may be chosen from the following.
GEOG 245. Global Positioning Systems
1-3
GEOG 250. Agricultural Systems and Global Food Production
3
GEOG 310. Environmental Issues (Repeatable, no limit)
1-4 each
GEOG 311. Endangered Environments
3
GEOG 340. Biogeography
3
GEOG 344. Economic Geography and Development Issues
3
GEOG 366. Geographic Information Systems
4
GEOG 415. Climatology
3
GEOG 440. Wilderness Management
3
GEOG 441. Management and Protection of Natural Resources
3
GEOG 442. Wildlife Management
3
GEOG 475. Political Geography
3
Students may take other GS environment classes as added to the curriculum or as many as nine credit hours from environmental courses offered by other departments or programs on campus, toward the completion of the 18 credit hours of electives. Prior approval from the concentration coordinator is required. A list of these courses appears on the GS Web page.

In addition to the above course work, students will complete a cognate (six credits) that demonstrates advanced competency in an approved area of study (e.g., foreign language, regional focus, ecology, AGIS).

Global Studies Concentration
  • Dr. Mary Tacy, Coordinator
  • Phone: (540) 568-6722
  • E-mail: kimseymb@jmu.edu
In addition to the geography core requirements, all students in the Global Studies Concentration must take the following courses.
Required Courses
Credit Hours
GEOG 300. Population Geography
3
GEOG 344. Economic Geography and Development Issues
3
GEOG 390. Research Design
1
GEOG 475. Political Geography
3
Specialization electives
18
Cognate
6

34
Global Issues Track
Each student in the Global Issues Track, with the approval of his/her adviser, must develop an 18 credit specialization in a global issues area such as world population patterns, world agricultural systems, global politics or patterns of economic development.
  • Possible Global Issues Specialization Courses:
  • ANTH 300. Anthropology of Diet and Nutrition
  • ANTH 355. Culture and Ecology
  • ANTH/SOCI 352. Birth, Death, Sex: Exploring Demography
  • ECON 312. Comparative Economic Systems
  • ECON 365. Economic Development
  • ECON 405. Political Economy
  • ECON 270. International Economics
  • GEOG 250. Agricultural Systems and Global Food Production
  • GEOG 335. Geography of Africa
  • GEOG 337. Geography of Latin America
  • GEOG 346. Geography of Europe
  • GEOG 348. Russia and the Former U.S.S.R.
  • GEOG 349. Geography of East Asia
  • GEOL 340. Soils and Land Use
  • HTH 367. Comparative International Health
  • HTH 368. International Health and Nutrition Studies
  • ISAT 311. Role of Energy in Modern Society
  • NUTR 380. Global Nutrition
  • POSC 339. Politics of Communist and Post-communist Systems
  • POSC 350. Latin American Politics
  • POSC 355. East Asian Politics
  • REL 312. Religions of East Asia
  • SOCI 339. Sociology of Women
  • SOCI/SOWK 348. Third World Societies
In addition to the above course work, students will complete a cognate (six credits) that demonstrates advanced competency in an approved skill area (e.g., foreign language, world regional focus, statistics/mathematical modeling, technical writing, economics or applied geographic information science). Finally, all students in the Global Studies Concentration are encouraged to participate in an international experience.
Back to top of page Minor Requirements
Geography Minor
The minor in geography consists of the 11 credit hours of core courses (excluding the capstone experience) plus three additional Geography courses for a total of not less than 18 credit hours.
Back to top of page Credit by Examination
Credit by examination is offered for some courses taught in the Program of Geographic Science. Students who want permission to take an examination must apply to the Program Director during the first week of the semester.
Integrated Science and Technology
  • Dr. Ronald G. Kander, Head
Back to top of page Mission Statement
The ISAT program educates students for positions that are often filled by graduates of the traditional sciences, engineering, and business programs. The ISAT graduate, however, is professionally prepared in a broader sense. ISAT students are educated to be technological problem solvers, communicators and life-long learners. They are unique in having the following undergraduate preparation:
  • Breadth of knowledge and skills across a variety of scientific and technological disciplines.
  • Formal training in collaborative and leadership methods, problem-solving techniques from many disciplines, and use of the computer as a problem-solving tool.
  • The ability to integrate scientific and technological factors with political, social, economic and ethical considerations in problem solving.
  • Breadth provided through study in strategic sectors that reflect national critical technologies, including biotechnology, energy, engineering and manufacturing, environment, information and knowledge management, telecommunications, and health systems.
  • Depth is provided through studies in an area of concentration and through a capstone thesis project.
  Goals
The ISAT program strives to ensure that its students are
  • Grounded in Basic Science
  • Technical Generalists
  • Problem Solvers
  • Technically Literate
  • Computer Literate
  • Technical Communicators
  • Philosophically Grounded
  • Methodologically Sound
  • Aware of the Non-technical Contextual Issues
  • Aware of Current Issues
  • Marketable in Today’s Workplace
The ISAT graduate is
  • Broad-based in understanding science, technology and business principles.
  • Comfortable in a collaborative approach to problem solving.
  • Sensitive to political, social and ethical issues.
  • Highly skilled in the use of the computer as a problem-solving tool.
  • Skilled in solving problems.
Back to top of page Co-curricular Activities and Organizations
  • ISAT Honor Society
  • ISAT LINKS
  • JMU Student Chapter, Air and Waste Management Association
  • JMU Student Chapter, The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
  • JMU Student Chapter, Association for Facilities Engineering
  • JMU Student Chapter, Association of Energy Engineers
  • JMU Student Chapter, Virginia Biotechnology Association
  • JMU Student Chapter, International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering
  • JMU Student Chapter, Society of Manufacturing Engineering
  • JMU Student Chapter, IEEE Computer Society
Back to top of page Degree and Major Requirements
Bachelor of Science in Integrated Science and Technology
Degree Requirements
While completing the ISAT courses, the student will also pursue the university’s general education curriculum that is required of all students and is a cornerstone of the education received by every student. The required ISAT courses are listed below. A total of 120 credit hours are required for graduation.

In addition, a grade equal to or higher than “C-” is required for all ISAT Foundation courses that are prerequisites to other required ISAT courses before an ISAT major can take that ISAT course.

Credit Hours
Issues in Science and Technology I-IV
13
Social Context of Technology & Science
6
Analytical Methods I-V
17
Strategic Sectors/Concentration
31-33
Senior Thesis/Project
6
General Education courses and electives1
46-49

121
1 The General Education program contains a set of requirements each student must fulfill. The number of credit hours necessary to fulfill these requirements may vary.
Major Requirements
The ISAT program offers the Bachelor of Science degree in Integrated Science and Technology and the M.S. degree. See the JMU Graduate Catalog for information on the M.S. program. The B.S. curriculum produces a graduate broadly acquainted with basic science, technology and business principles. All students pursue a common program through their sophomore year that provides a foundation of science and an introduction to its technology applications. Studies are integrated and include mathematics, statistics, physics, chemistry, biology, knowledge-based systems, environmental science, modern production, energy, and the role of science and technology in society. During their junior and senior years, all students pursue deeper study of strategically significant areas of technology that include biotechnology, energy, environmental studies, engineering and manufacturing, health systems, information and knowledge management, and telecommunications. Each student selects a concentration in any of these areas and pursues additional study in the concentration culminating in a senior project. Students rely heavily upon the computer as a problem-solving tool throughout the curriculum, work in teams extensively and engage in laboratory experiences in the requisite sciences.
Integrated Science and Technology Major with Pre-health Preparation
For students majoring in ISAT desiring to prepare for higher education in health careers (dentistry, optometry, medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy, veterinary) may waive some required ISAT courses if they take equivalent courses required by the pre-health programs.
Required Courses for Pre-health ISAT Courses Waived
BIO 114, BIO 214 GISAT 113
CHEM 131, CHEM 132 GISAT 112
PHYS (140, 150) or (240, 250) ISAT 152, ISAT 212
MATH 205, 235 or 231 GISAT 151
MATH 220 GISAT 251
These equivalencies are NOT generally granted outside of a pre-health preparation program. Students who begin a preparation but do not finish it may be able to have some of the courses waived. Please contact Paul Henriksen, henrikpw@jmu.edu for more information.
First Year Students and Sophomore Courses
Issues in Science and Technology

This sequence of four courses engages students in the practice of science, both to motivate and to provide understanding of science and technology in the context of important current social issues. Current areas from which issues are selected are living systems, the environment, modern production and energy.

Social Context of Technology and Science

This two-course sequence introduces the student to the non-technological issues encountered in science and technology problem-solving, particularly social, ethical, economic and legal issues.

Analytical Methods

This sequence of five courses provides students with basic methods and tools for understanding and analyzing problems in science and technology. Subjects are taught in an integrated manner with applications as the unifying factor. Topics include calculus, elements of the physical sciences, statistics, project management, the computer, knowledge-based systems and instrumentation and measurement.

Junior and Senior Courses
Strategic Sectors in Science and Technology

Students complete 19-21 credit hours of instruction in strategic sectors during their junior year. The strategic sectors, developed from national critical technologies lists, represent areas of current strategic importance in the world economy. The sectors are biotechnology, energy, environment, engineering/manufacturing, information/knowledge management, telecommunications and health systems.

Concentration Requirements

Students are provided the opportunity to focus their program of study by taking four additional courses in a particular area of concentration. The current areas for a concentration are:

  • Biotechnology
  • Energy
  • Engineering and Manufacturing
  • Environment
  • Information and Knowledge Management
  • Telecommunications
  • Health Systems
The option is also open for students to tailor their area of concentration with the help and approval of their adviser.
Senior Thesis/Project

This is the capstone experience of the senior year. Working as part of a team of students and interdisciplinary faculty, seniors will propose, develop, manage, analyze and report on a project that addresses some issue of interest within their concentration.

Recommended Schedule for Majors
First Year
Fall Semester
Credit Hours
ISAT 101. ISAT First Year Student Seminar
1
GISAT 151. Analytical Methods I: Applied Calculus
4
GISAT 112. Environmental Issues in Science and Technology
4

9
 
Spring Semester
Credit Hours
GISAT 113. Issues in Science and Technology: Living Systems
3
ISAT 152. Analytical Methods II: Applied Physics
4
ISAT 131. Technology, Science and Society
3

9
 
Second Year
Fall Semester
Credit Hours
GISAT 251. Analytical Methods III: Applied Statistics
3
ISAT 211. Issues in Modern Production
3
ISAT 231. Political Economy of Technology and Science
3

9
 
Spring Semester
Credit Hours
ISAT 252. Analytical Methods IV: Programming and Problem Solving
3
ISAT 212. Energy Issues in Science and Technology
3
ISAT 253. Analytical Methods V: Instrumentation and Measurement
3

9
 
Third Year
Fall Semester
Credit Hours
ISAT Strategic Sector I
3
ISAT Strategic Sector I Lab
1
ISAT Strategic Sector II
3
ISAT Strategic Sector III
3
ISAT Strategic Sector III Lab
1

11
 
Spring Semester
Credit Hours
ISAT Strategic Sector I
3
ISAT Strategic Sector II
3
ISAT Strategic Sector II Lab
1
ISAT Strategic Sector III
3
ISAT 491. Senior Thesis I
1

11
 
Fourth Year
Fall Semester
Credit Hours
ISAT 492. Senior Thesis II
2
ISAT Concentration I
3
ISAT Concentration II
3

8
 
Spring Semester
Credit Hours
ISAT 493. Senior Thesis III
3
ISAT Concentration III
3
ISAT Concentration IV
3

9
Back to top of page Minor Requirements
Integrated Science and Technology Minor
The minor in ISAT mirrors the major in ISAT by having a breadth component and a depth component. The breadth component is satisfied through nine credit hours in Issues in Science and Technology and the Foundations of Instrumentation and Measurement. The depth component is satisfied through focused study in a concentration area requiring either nine or ten additional credit hours.

Students should note that many courses have ISAT prerequisites outside the minor (although equivalents to ISAT prerequisite courses will be accepted). In planning a sequence of courses for the minor, students are encouraged to meet with an ISAT adviser to ensure that all needed prerequisites will be taken in due course. In addition, before a student pursuing an ISAT minor can take any ISAT course, a grade equal to or higher than “C-” is required for all ISAT foundation courses that are prerequisites for another required course. The minimum requirements for the minor in ISAT follow.

Credit Hours
Choose three courses from the following:
9-10
GISAT 112. Issues II-Environment
GISAT 113. Issues I-Living Systems
ISAT 211. Issues III-Modern Production
ISAT 212. Issues IV-Energy
ISAT 253. Analytical Methods V: Instrumentation and Measurement
Choose one of the following sequences:
Energy
7
ISAT 301. Energy Lab (1 credit)
ISAT 310. Energy Fundamentals (3 credits)
ISAT 311. Energy in Modern Society (3 credits)
Environment
7
ISAT 302. Environmental Lab (1 credit)
ISAT 320. Environmental Fundamentals (3 credits)
ISAT 321. Environmental Projects (3 credits)
Engineering and Manufacturing
7
ISAT 303. Engineering/Manufacturing Lab (1 credit)
ISAT 330. Manufacturing Systems (3 credits)
ISAT 331. Automation in Manufacturing (3 credits)
Information and Knowledge Management
6
ISAT 340. Software Development (3 credits)
ISAT 341. Modeling and Simulation (3 credits)
Biotechnology
7
ISAT 305. Biotechnology Lab (1 credit)
ISAT 350. Biotechnology for the New Millennium I (3 credits)
ISAT 351. Biotechnology for the New Millennium II (3 credits)
Telecommunications
6
CIS 320. Telecommunications and Information Processing (3 credits)
ISAT 360. Fundamentals of Telecommunications (3 credits)
ISAT 399. Instrumentation and Measurement in Telecommunications (1 credit)
One additional 3 credit Integrated Science and Technology course at the 300 or 400 level
3
Materials Science Program Minor
The Department of Integrated Science and Technology is a major participant in the university’s Materials Science program. A minor is available in materials science. The materials science minor provides students with an opportunity to increase their research experience as well as develop multidisciplinary skills and knowledge in the science, engineering and application of materials.

Refer to the Interdisciplinary section of the catalog on Page 118 for the curriculum and requirements of the materials science minor.

Additional information about the materials science minor may be obtained from the Center for Materials Science in Room 3206 in the HHS Building, or by calling the director at 540-568-2723 or 540-568-8776.

Environmental Information Systems Minor
The Department of Integrated Science and Technology is a major participant in the university’s Environmental Information Systems program. For more information on this minor, see "Interdisciplinary Programs."
Back to top of page Interdisciplinary Majors
Biotechnology
In cooperation with the Department of Integrated Science and Technology, the Department of Biology offers a four-year, interdisciplinary B.S. degree program for a major in biotechnology.

Biotechnology majors must complete 47-53 credit hours of science foundation courses, 17 credit hours of biotechnology transition and core courses, and 15 credit hours of concentration courses including a capstone experience. With the advice and approval of a concentration adviser, each student selects the courses for his or her concentration area. Three broad areas of concentrations are suggested to serve a spectrum of student needs and desires. A research concentration would prepare students for graduate school or entry into a research laboratory. An industry concentration would prepare students for entry into the biotechnology industry. A custom concentration can be assembled for a specialized area of study such as bioinformatics, genomics, or agricultural biotechnology.

For more information, see Biotechnology in "Interdisciplinary Programs," or contact Dr. Robert McKown (mckownrl@jmu.edu) or Dr. Louise Temple (templelm@jmu.edu).

Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies
Students pursuing a major in Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies at JMU may choose ISAT courses for the science content area. The IDLS major is designed for students in the pre-professional education programs in Early/Elementary Education, Middle Education, and Special Education. Students in IDLS complete a 53 hour set of core courses before they begin a 21 hour set of upper-level courses. Students choosing ISAT complete 13 hours of ISAT core courses and then choose an ISAT Sector and a prerequisite course to complete the concentration.

For more information, see Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies in "Interdisciplinary Programs."