Students complete a common core that gives a firm foundation in essential geographical knowledge which include human geography, physical geography, geospatial techniques, statistics, and human/land relations.
Beyond the core, two complimentary concentrations encourage a deeper understand of the discipline and the relevant skills to address critical problems faced by humanity.
JMU geographic science graduates that combine expertise in applied geographic information science with in-depth coursework in environmental conservation, sustainability and development are highly qualified, competent, critical thinkers flourishing in the professional and scholarly world. Graduates are skilled in spatial analysis as well as environmental and social science theories and research tools. They develop a knowledge base critical to understanding how the world works and contain the necessary skills to understand and solving complex human-environment issues.
Dual concentration graduates have the unique advantage of a multifaceted approach to geography, which employers from a variety of sectors (government, non-profit, etc.) find highly advantageous. As today’s job market grows increasingly complex, dual concentrators can use their wide breadth of skills and knowledge to rise to the challenge in highly beneficial ways.
Applied Geographic Information Science (AGIS) Concentration
JMU geographic science 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 Geospatial Intelligence Agency, intelligence agencies such as the CIA, and also in the environmental science field with the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies.
JMU AGIS concentrators have also found opportunities in industry with companies such as Earth Satellite Corporation, GeoEye, Lockheed, SPOT Image, Logicom, SAIC, Sanborn, Booz-Allen Hamilton and many others.
Environmental Conservation, Sustainability and Development (ECSD) Concentration
Geographic science graduates trained in resource analysis, environmental conservation and sustainable development have obtained jobs with local, state and federal governments, non-profit organizations, and for-profit agencies. Organizations hire geographers to work in environmental and land use planning, resource management (including hydrology, forestry and soil conservation), area or regional specialties, international business, community development, and development of human and natural resources in foreign nations. Many geographic science graduates move on to graduate degrees (master's and Ph.D.) and become educators in higher education (community colleges and universities) or obtain other higher level positions in both the private and public sector.
Private environmental organizations and consulting firms, as well as government agencies, have all hired students completing the environmental studies concentration at JMU. Principal employers include the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey and non-profit organizations including the Nature Conservancy and Peace Corps. Particularly marketable for JMU geographic science graduates is the combination of experiences in the environmental geographies and AGIS.