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Geographic Science Frequently Asked Questions

 How can I tell if Geographic Science is the major for me?

Geographic Science is the study of place and space. Geographers ask where things are located on the surface of the earth, why they are located where they are, how places differ from one another and how people interact with the environment. If you enjoy travel, like to study maps, have an interest in different cultures, the physical environment and wonder what makes each place unique, then geographic science is for you.

 What sort of undergraduate degrees are offered in Geographic Science?

The G.S. Program offers two undergraduate degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in Geographic Science, and a Bachelor of Science in Geographic Science. The majors are designed to provide a fundamental background for students seeking an interdisciplinary understanding of our planet and the varied human and natural systems that interrelate within it.

Students complete a common core that gives a firm foundation in essential geographical knowledge which includes human geography, physical geography, geospatial techniques, statistics, and human/land relations.

Beyond the core, concentrations encourage a deeper understanding of the discipline and the relevant skills to address critical problems faced by humanity. These concentrations can be customized to the student’s interests (Custom) or focus on a particular area within Geography (Applied GIS or Environment, Conservation, Sustainability and Development).

 Are there field work opportunities available to me as a Geographic Science major?

Yes. We have faculty members who routinely offer field work opportunities for students, either in formal class formats or in one-on-one capstone research opportunities. Many of our faculty offer courses in JMU’s Study Abroad Programs. You may also enroll in an internship or co-op opportunity. In addition, you may attend field schools run by other universities. Many of these opportunities can be used to fulfill your degree requirements.

A maximum of six credits from related fields may be included for Geographic Science credit for the major.

 What other majors and minors combine well with Geographic Science for a double major and/or minor?

Environmental Studies/Science/Humanities minors are the most common minors with Geographic Science. Other majors and minors that are compatible with Geographic Science include Anthropology, Justice Studies, Mathematics, Business, Biology, Linguistics, History, Political Science and many more. Students with interest and talent in two separate fields are encouraged to complete a double major and/or add one or more minors.

 What sorts of jobs can I get with a degree in Geographic Science?

Geographic Science majors are among the most marketable of all majors, according to placement counselors. As the American Association of Geographers Career Guide points out, Geography’s theories and methods provide techniques applicable to a wide range of questions asked over a broad spectrum of occupations. For students planning to end their formal education with the bachelor’s degree, a major in Geographic Science provides marketable skills and the broad perspectives on the environment and society that enable graduates to move beyond entry-level positions. Geographic Science also provides a sound foundation for students who plan to enter graduate work in a variety of fields, from geography and the physical and social sciences to business, land use planning, law, and medicine. Geographic Science majors find work as public sector transportation planners; environmental impact analysts; airline route specialists; import/export and shipping logistics planners; geo-demographic analysts and marketers; strategic planners in banking, insurance, and real estate; software developers; web designers and programmers; urban and regional planners; computer cartographers using Geographic Information Systems; international trade consultants; teachers at all levels; studies of satellite imagery/remote sensing, climate change analysis, and land use/land cover change; and much, much more.

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