About the UMW Geography Department

Dr. Joseph Nicholas talks to students on the banks of a small stream

Students doing geomorphology fieldwork with Dr. Joseph Nicholas

Welcome to the website of the Department of Geography. If you are a student, this is the place to find information about the Geography major, upcoming courses, study abroad programs, and more. If you are a visitor, we invite you to browse around and find out a bit about who we are and what we do. For alumni, this is the place to find out the latest news from your alma mater, and to keep in touch with us and one another.

The UMW Geography Department

The Geography Department at University of Mary Washington offers a wide range of courses for both majors and non-majors. These are organized into three areas of emphasis:

Community, Development, and Culture: A focus on how people living in specific places and regions experience and affect social, cultural, economic, and environmental processes.  Includes courses in planning and urban geography, local development, race and place, human-environment relationships, and regional geographies.

Globalization:  A focus on the geographies of globalization and their political, cultural, and economic dimensions.  Includes courses in geopolitics, economic and cultural globalization, international development, migration, and regional geographies.

Nature and Society:  A focus on the physical and social processes that shape the natural environment and affect human life.  Includes courses in landforms, climatology, human-environment relationships and regional geographies.

The requirements for the geography major allow students maximum flexibility and help them begin to specialize within the discipline.  After completing a streamlined set of introductory courses, students will consult with their advisors to select topical, regional, and methods/techniques courses in that will build expertise and skills within one of these three areas of emphasis (see the full listing of geography courses to see what courses fall within each of the core areas).

In addition the Department, working with the Departments of Computer Science, Earth & Environmental Science, and Historic Preservation, offers a Certificate Program in Geographic Information Science (GIS).  Courses in this program are available on both the Fredericksburg and Stafford campuses, and are offered in evenings as well as during the day.

The Department’s eight full-time faculty are actively engaged in research in political geography, geography and social justice, geomorphology, biogeography, historical geography, heritage tourism, and critical cartography. Recent publications include books and book chapters with the University of Minnesota Press, Temple University Press, and Ashgate Publishers. Journal articles by faculty appear in Urban Geography, Cultural Geography, the Geographical Review, Progress in Human Geography, Social and Cultural Geography, the Southeastern Geographer, and Iranian Studies.

The Department is now in the process of making some exciting and important changes. To find out more about what we are doing, and what our future plans are, please take a look at our Ten Year Plan.

Students and visitors are welcome to drop by the Department on the third floor of Monroe Hall to learn more about us, ask questions, and see our facilities.