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Integrated Science and Technology Frequently Asked Questions

 Does ISAT have any admission requirements for the major?

No. Once you are accepted to JMU you can choose any major you want. Anyone can select ISAT.

 What high school classes should I take to prepare myself for ISAT?

Take as many upper-level science and math courses as possible. Calculus, computer programming, biology, chemistry, and physics are all beneficial. ISAT begins with basic concepts but covers them quickly.

 How is ISAT different from Engineering?

ISAT, like engineering, deals with real-world problems and solving them with math, science, and technology. Engineering applies science and mathematics to the design of physical devices, products, and structures. ISAT explores a broader range of challenges that can include physical design, but also business management, information systems, techniques, innovation strategies, and public policy. ISAT students also work with a variety of technologies and learn about applied problem-solving in the environment, biotechnology, computing, manufacturing systems, and energy. And unlike most STEM degrees, ISAT students take courses in the social context of science and technology – policy, ethics, and economics – and integrate them into other classes across the curriculum.

 Is ISAT accredited?

Yes. We are accredited as an Applied Science major by ABET, who mainly accredit engineering majors, but also do applied science majors. We have been accredited for about 14 years now.

 What kinds of jobs do ISAT majors get?

Each of our concentrations contains a range of career paths. Also many technical consulting firms hire ISAT majors every year because they are so versatile and used to working in teams. Some positions held by ISAT Alumni include the following:

  • Alternative Energy Consultant
  • Applications Developer
  • Artificial Intelligence Technologist
  • Biological Weapons Trainer
  • Business Security Consultant
  • Defense Program Analyst
  • App and/or Website Developer
  • Energy Industry Analyst
  • Forensic Scientist
  • Global Forecast Analyst
  • Information Technology Tech
  • Laser Engineer
  • Manufacturing Engineer
  • Peace Corps Worker
  • Patent Classifier
  • Regulatory Affairs Specialist
  • Quality Engineer
  • Peace Corps
  • Recycling Product Developer
  • Renewable Energy Specialist
  • Research Scientist
  • Robotics Researcher
  • Systems Engineer
  • Teacher
  • Waste Management Specialist
  • Web Developer

 How do I know if ISAT is right for me?

Students who thrive in ISAT typically enjoy interests in a broad range of science and technology and prefer more hands-on learning. Many ISAT students want to help solve the world’s problems from a holistic point of view, always keeping in mind the societal impacts of the solutions. The one comment we hear over and over from our students is “I wish I knew this major existed when I started JMU.”

 When do I have to declare a concentration in ISAT?

ISAT majors declare a concentration at the end of the junior year. During the first two years, you will all take the same set of classes designed to teach you how to think holistically to introduce you to the concentrations we offer. You will also learn the basics of math, physics, problem-solving, and statistics in a hands-on, applied way that differs from typical science and math classes. Courses in the social context of science and technology will broaden your understanding of how science, technology, policy, cultural practice, and economics affect each other.  During the junior year, you will choose two of our technical sectors:  environment, applied biotechnology, information and knowledge management (applied computing), production systems (manufacturing), or energy.   For the senior year, you will choose one of them to be your concentration, but you can do both if you want  In this way, you will get a broad education in a number of topic areas, but deepen your expertise in the ones you like best.

 What are the ISAT classes like?

ISAT classes are unique and very popular even with non-majors. Many of our students also take advantage of our study abroad offerings all over the world. Our on-campus classes include the following:

ISAT 171 Political Economy of Technology and Science
ISAT 190 Introduction to Problem Solving in the ISAT Major
ISAT 252 Programming and Problem Solving
ISAT 290 Introduction to Systems Thinking for Complex Problems
ISAT 330 Sustainable Manufacturing Systems
ISAT 341 Machine Learning and Data Science
ISAT 390 Holistic Problem Solving Workshop (e.g. Privacy in a Connected World)

 What are ISAT faculty like?

Our faculty have Ph.D.’s in areas such as computer science, economics, civil engineering, archeology, environmental sciences, political science, biophysics, mechanical engineering and law. They are a dedicated group of individuals who believe in using all of the tools available to solve complex problems. Many have industry experience in their areas of expertise. The all believe in the power of thinking holistically as evidenced by the fact that several of the classes are team taught.

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