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Environmental Programs Frequently Asked Questions

 How can I major in Environment, given that there’s no Environment major at JMU?

There are three ways to do this:
  • Choose one of the majors that offers an environmentally related concentration.
  • Choose a major reflecting a core discipline (e.g. Chemistry, Economics, Computer Science, Political Science, etc.) and augment that with a complementary environmental minor.
  • Do both of the above!

 Are there other environmental minors than the three mentioned in the narrated presentation?

Yes, there are also the Environmental Information Systems and the Environmental Humanities minors. While these two minors do not participate in the ENVT 400 Environmental Problem Solving capstone, they do provide unique pathways for developing a core concentration in environmental study. 

The EIS minor is designed for undergraduates interested in using computer and information management technology to solve environmental problems and improve environmental stewardship. Contact Dr. Steve Frysinger at frysinsp@jmu.edu for more information. 

The Environmental Humanities minor offers opportunities for students to explore the complex interactions between humans and the natural environment though the study of literature, history, communication, religion, philosophy, and the visual and performing arts. Contact Dr. Katey Castellano at castelkm@jmu.edu for more information.

For both of these minors and more, head to www.jmu.edu/environment and click on the ‘Minors’ link in the left side of the window.

 What’s the advantage of declaring a minor over just taking classes that I find?

Choosing a minor offers several advantages:
  • The list of courses was selected thoughtfully by environmental faculty members at JMU to constitute a coherent theme.
  • The name of the minor appears on the transcript (and can be shown on the resume), allowing employers and grad schools to see at a glance the student’s interest in the subject, without going through the list of courses taken.
  • Some courses are only open to students in certain majors or minors, and wouldn’t be available as an ordinary elective.

 Can a student complete more than one minor?

Yes. This is fairly common.

 Can a student from any major declare any minor?

Yes, but be sure to check which minors list classes that have prerequisite classes that you might have to take in order to access those classes that count for the minor.

 Can a course count for both a minor and the student’s major?

Generally, yes, though some minors place limits on this “double counting.” For example, the Environmental Studies and Environmental Science minors limit the number of classes you can take from a single department and count towards those minors to two classes.

 Do internships count toward the environmental minors?

Internships have counted toward the environmental minors, but you would need to discuss the internship with the minor coordinator to ensure that it satisfies the purpose of the minor.

 What if there’s a course that I want to take toward the minor that isn’t listed with it?

The minor coordinator can authorize a course substitution to include relevant courses that aren’t already listed with the minor.

 Does a student’s major advisor have to approve of them declaring a minor?

No, though it’s always a good idea to get as much advice as possible. A student with a minor will be directly advised in the minor by the minor’s Coordinator, but the student’s major advisor will also have valuable advice.

 What if I declare a minor but then find I can’t complete the course work?

This is no problem – at the time of graduation you’ll complete a graduation application which will list your major(s) and minor(s). Advisors from each will sign this application to indicate that you have (or will have in the remaining semester) completed their program. If you’ve declared a minor but can’t complete it, you simply leave it off or your graduation application.

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