Dec 04, 2023  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog

Geography, B.A.

Program Description

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, Environment, Conservation, Sustainability, and Development).

Degree and Major Requirements

Degree Requirements
Credit Hours
General Education  141
Foreign Language classes (intermediate level required) 20-14
Philosophy course(s) (in addition to General Education  courses)3
Major requirements46-49





1 The General Education  program contains a set of requirements each student must fulfill. Some credits may be fulfilled by courses required within the major. ISAT 251  for the math requirement in Cluster Three  is strongly recommended, as is GEOG 200  in Cluster Four .

2 The foreign language requirement may be satisfied by successful completion of the second semester of the intermediate level of the student’s chosen language (typically 232) or by placing out of that language through the Department of Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures placement test.

Major Requirements

Minimum Grades

In addition to the geography core courses, students must choose a concentration, listed in the “Concentrations” section. All courses for the major must be taken on a graded basis. Students must earn a minimum grade of “C” in each of the core courses as they are prerequisites to most concentration courses.

Choose One Statistics Course: 3 Credit Hours

Choose One Environment Course: 3 Credit Hours

Major Requirements Total: 46-49 Credit Hours


1 For Honors students, the advanced sequence is GEOG 499 A, B, C .

2 Students may opt for a capstone experience that entails three or six hours of independent research (GEOG 490 ), with the approval of and in close consultation with a project adviser.

Geography Concentrations

Applied Geographic Information Science (AGIS) Concentration

JMU geography graduates with an AGIS concentration are prepared to gain professional employment with government and industry or go on to graduate programs. Public agencies where they find employment include local and regional planning agencies, mapping organizations such as the U.S. Geological Survey, intelligence agencies such as the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, 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 graduates find opportunities in industry with companies such as ESRI, Maxar, Lockheed, BAE Systems, Booz Allen Hamilton, SAIC, Sanborn and many others.

In addition to the geography core requirements, students in the AGIS concentration must complete the following course work.

Choose nine credit hours from the following electives: 9 Credit Hours

Up to one concentration-related course from another program may be used as an elective with the approval of the student’s adviser.

AGIS Cognate Course: 3 Credit Hours

AGIS Concentration Total: 24 Credit Hours

Geography Custom Concentration

Methods Course

In addition to the geography core requirements, students in the customized concentration must complete one of the following methods courses:

Declared Pathway

Students will choose from a set of courses, approved by a program adviser, on the basis of how they fit together thematically and support the educational objectives of the geography program. Students must take a minimum of 18 credit hours at the 300 level or above (in addition to the methods course). At least 6 of these credit hours must be at the 400 level or above.

Geography Custom Concentration Total: 21 Credit Hours

Environmental Conservation, Sustainability and Development Concentration

The Environmental Conservation, Sustainability and Development (ECSD) concentration focuses on the geographical contexts within which people and places interact. Required and elective course work allows students to explore spatial and temporal patterning between human communities and the natural environment at multiple scales. The curriculum addresses global issues such as global climate change and globalization; environment and human interactions including political, economic, physical and ethical factors; human and ecological aspects of sustainable development; natural resource management including energy, forests, wildlife and biodiversity; cultural ecology; regional geography; and population issues.

In addition to the geography core requirements, students in the Environmental Conservation, Sustainability and Development concentration must complete the following course work.

ECSD Electives: 15 Credit Hours

Select 15 credit hours from the following.

These 300-level courses are identified on the concentration form, which will be reviewed and approved by the student’s academic adviser.

In consultation with the academic adviser, a student may select one non-geography course as an elective.

Cognate Course: 3 Credit Hours

Select three credit hours from the following:

ECSD Concentration Total: 21 Credit Hours

Program Total: 120 Credit Hours