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Preparing students to be confident geographers

The Geography 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 Geography Program prepares students who are confident in their abilities as geographers. Graduates have the skills to make a professional contribution to the field, and to compete in graduate programs and the job market. They are highly qualified for careers in research and development and are equipped for long-term success as professionals in the field of geography.

Through the study of geography students will:

  • Understand and properly use the terminology and concepts that are central to the discipline of geography, and explain how these concepts evolved over time.
  • Effectively use appropriate geospatial technologies to address questions about human interactions within the built or natural environments.
  • Be productive participants in research efforts aimed at measuring, describing, analyzing, and explaining the underlying processes giving rise to geographic phenomena.
  • Work effectively in multidisciplinary teams.
  • Evaluate human-environment interactions from a holistic point of view that addresses geographic, as well as political, social, economic, and ethical factors affecting those interactions.
  • Demonstrate civic responsibility and appreciation for culture and physical diversity from local global scales.
Program History

Geography has been a vibrant program at James Madison University for almost 80 years. Led by faculty with a wide array of interests and passions, the discipline has contributed through teaching and research to the university, the community, and the wider world throughout that time.

Recognizing the integrated, problem-focused nature of the discipline of geography, the program joined the Department of Integrated Science and Technology in 2001. From this position of collaboration and with new opportunities opened to geography majors and minors, the program has thrived. Geography students are some of the most active, engaged, and experienced graduates at the university.

With new priorities at JMU focusing on environmental questions such as sustainability, and through wider needs for technically trained, globally educated, highly skilled graduates, the Geography Program has as critical place in our education today.

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