James Madison University

Environmental Conservation, Sustainability and Development Concentration (ECSD)

Geographic science graduates trained in resource analysis, environmental conservation and sustainable development have obtained jobs with local, state and federal governments, non-profit organizations, and for-profit agencies. Organizations hire geographers to work in environmental and land use planning, resource management (including hydrology, forestry and soil conservation), area or regional specialties, international business, community development, and development of human and natural resources in foreign nations. Many geographic science graduates move on to graduate degrees (master's and Ph.D.) and become educators in higher education (community colleges and universities) or obtain other higher level positions in both the private and public sector.

Private environmental organizations and consulting firms, as well as government agencies, have all hired students completing the environmental studies concentration at JMU. Principal employers include the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, U.S. Geological Survey and non-profit organizations including the Nature Conservancy and Peace Corps. Particularly marketable for JMU geographic science graduates is the combination of experiences in the environmental geographies and AGIS.

In addition to the Geography Core requirements, students in the ECSD Concentration must complete the following coursework.

ECSD Concentration Requirements

Required Courses


Credit Hours

GEOG 320

Human Dimensions of Global Change


GEOG 470

Senior Seminar in ECSD (choose one of the options listed below) *


Global Biodiversity

Politics of the Environment

Global Perspectives on Population


Principles and Theories of Sustainable Communities

* GEOG 429 also satisfies this requirement

ECSD Cognate courses (Choose 3 credit hours from the following)



Credit Hours

GEOG 310            Environmental Issues  
GEOG 331            Geography of Virginia  
GEOG 339            Geography of Caribbean  

GEOG 365

Cartography and Geospatial Visualization


GEOG 366

Geographic Information Science


GEOG 380            Cultural Geography  

GEOG 385

Principles of Remote Sensing


GEOG 407            Forest Ecology  
GEOG 429            Sustainability in Ecological Perspective  

ECSD elective courses (12 credit hours selected from four of the following)

These 300-level courses are identified on their concentration form, which will be reviewed and approved by the ECSD committee.  Other courses may substitute for one of the electives with approval of the ECSD committee.



GEOG 300

Population Geography

GEOG 311

Endangered Environments

GEOG 315

Field Studies

GEOG 322

Agricultural Systems

GEOG 325

Environmental Ethics

GEOG 327


GEOG 332

Geography of Europe

GEOG 333

Geography of Russia and the Former Soviet Union

GEOG 334

Geography of East Asia

GEOG 335

Geography of Africa

GEOG 336

Geography of North America

GEOG 337

Geography of Latin America

GEOG 338

Geography of the Philippines

GEOG 340


GEOG 341

Wilderness Techniques

GEOG 342

Management and Protection of Natural Resources

GEOG 343

Wildlife Management

GEOG 344

Economic Geography and Development Issues

GEOG 345

Geography of Poverty

GEOG 350

Topics in Geography

GEOG 375

Political Geography

GEOG 376

Urban Geography

ISAT 425

Environmental Hydrology

Leave Your Mark - Declare Geographic Science Major


  • University Hours
    May 11 - August 21
    8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday Thursday.
    8:00 a.m. - noon on Friday.