Explore a continually changing world.
Major in geography at the University of Mary Washington and uncork your curiosity about how people, institutions, environments and natural phenomena interact. Whether you’re collecting field data near campus or working on forest conservation in Guatemala, you’ll learn by experience while building investigative, analytical, and communications skills for your life’s work.
Students majoring in geography who complete all requirements earn the degree of Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in geography.
Areas of Study
The geography major has three areas of emphasis:
- Society & Politics: A focus on the geographies of people and power that includes classes covering planning, cities, race & place, globalization, and migration.
- Culture: A focus on the geographies of how people live and make places meaningful that includes classes covering Latin America, the Middle East, sacred spaces, and development studies.
- Environment: A focus on the geographies of natural and human environmental processes that includes classes covering biodiversity, natural hazards, climate change, and urban sustainability.
Geography participates in many interdisciplinary minors and the GIS Certificate.
How can I learn outside of class?
Geography majors work with faculty and community partners to plan and map heritage trails, limit food waste, and delineate microclimates in nearby nature preserves. Common internship sites include regional planning organizations, environmental consulting firms, and sustainability nonprofits. The Geography Department regularly offers Grassroots Development in Guatemala, a study abroad course.
What can I do with a geography degree?
Our majors’ favorite answer to this question is “anything you want!” Recent graduates now work as transportation and urban planners, public policy researchers, natural resource managers, and public health analysts. Employers include the National Park Service, Deloitte, Cooley LLP, US Corps of Engineers, and local governments across Virginia.
University of Mary Washington’s proximity to Washington, D.C., gives students access to the greatest concentration of geography-related work sites in the United States. UMW students have held internships with federal agencies, local governments, private industry, and nonprofit organizations.
To graduate with departmental honors, you must be a declared geography major by the beginning of your senior year. You must have a grade-point average of 3.5 in major courses and a 3.0 grade point average overall at the beginning of the second semester of your senior year. In consultation with an advisor, you’ll propose, research, and write a thesis. You’ll defend it before a committee, which determines whether it merits departmental honors.
Students completing a major in geography earn the degree of Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in geography. The major requires at least 35 credits, including core and methods courses, one course from each of three areas for breadth, plus three more to create a specialization, and a senior seminar. Study abroad may fulfill some requirements.
The Geography Alumni Scholarship currently covers one semester of in-state tuition and is granted to a rising junior or senior geography major who demonstrates excellence and a commitment to the discipline.