George Mason University

Conservation

Academics

From influencing policy to cultural wayfinding, conflict resolution to biology, there’s more than one way to make a splash in the area of conservation.

Students Performing Conservation Work

Change More Than People’s Attitudes—Change Their Behavior

You can make people aware of endangered species, but how do you convince a community to change cultural beliefs and behaviors that lead them to kill and eat those species? How do hotels convince their guests to participate in green programs and services?

In a new white paper funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Mason assistant professors Karen Akerlof of the Center for Climate Change Communication and Chris Kennedy, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, synthesized knowledge from psychology and behavioral economics to develop recommendations for incorporating social science approaches in promotion of the health and well­being of natural ecosystems.

The researchers are interested in not only how to change people’s attitudes, but how to change their behavior—sometimes a much harder task, Akerlof admits. “We have to create better policies,” she says. “If you want to reduce crime, it is sometimes more effective to change other things besides just making the laws stronger. The same is true in conservation practices.”

  • Applied Global Conservation, Concentration in the Integrative Studies BS

    Students learn how to effectively address global conservation challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and ecosystem collapse. These challenges are complex and necessitate an interdisciplinary approach, drawing upon fields such as biology, policy, law, anthropology, sociology, conflict resolution, environmental justice, economics and communication. Students learn to apply their knowledge and effect real-world change. With access the Smithsonian-Mason Semester and international conservation organizations in the Washington, DC area, our graduates are well positioned to compete in a diverse conservation job market or enter graduate school.

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  • Arabic, Minor

    The minor in Arabic has an emphasis on developing strong language skills: oral communication and the reading of texts. Students are also introduced to important works of Arabic literature and culture. A minor in Arabic can easily and effectively be combined with majors in other disciplines. It is especially valuable in combination with global affairs, international relations, security, journalism, philosophy, and religion.

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  • Biology, BA, BS, Minor

    Biology, one of our most popular degree programs, provides a sound liberal arts education with substantial experience in quantitative and analytical thought. Students who study biology prepare for a variety of careers in such fields as environmental management, microbiology, molecular biology, biotechnology, genetics, postgraduate studies in medicine, and even teaching.

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  • Biostatistics, MS

    Merging statistics with biology, students have many opportunities they can pursue after graduation in health-related fields, including medicine,epidemiology and public health. Biostatistics is an indespensible tool in improving health and protecting populations against disease here and around the world.

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  • Business and Sustainability, Concentration in the Environmental and Sustainability Studies BA

    Students earning this degree take classes in areas such as Managing Financial Resources, as well as Managing People and Organizations. They prepare for their future careers through internships, career-focused minors and other college-to-career activities.

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  • Business, Minor

    The Business Minor provides an introduction to the business skills needed for success in the rapidly evolving world of business. It is designed for non-business students who wish to learn the broad business essentials necessary to enhance their own area of expertise and make them more employable.

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  • Chinese, BA, Foreign Language Concentration

    A knowledge of Chinese will give you a distinctive advantage in the job market. In business alone, the demand for people who can speak Chinese is skyrocketing. The Chinese Program offers you the opportunity to learn this critical language. Courses in Chinese connect you with an experienced faculty, who will help you develop valuable language skills with an emphasis on business-relevant vocabulary, sociolinguistic and cultural knowledge, and strategies for reading Chinese at an advanced level.

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  • Civil and Infrastructure Engineering, BS, Accelerated MS

    Highly qualified students working on a bachelor's degree in Civil and Infrastructure Engineering have the option of obtaining an accelerated master's degree. Students in an accelerated degree program must fulfill all university requirements for the master’s degree.

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  • Communication, BA, Minor

    Communication offers enriching courses in public speaking; media production and criticism; public relations; journalism; and intercultural, health, and political communication. But students don’t sit at their desks for long. When they’re not participating in research, global engagement, public service, co-curricular activities, internships, or study-abroad opportunities, communication students are actively involved in producing everything from videos and public relations plans to television shows and websites.

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  • Community Health, BS, Concentration in Global Health

    The global health concentration focuses on understanding diseases and other health security threats reflecting the new global landscape, such as tobacco use and obesity, and emerging pandemics such as avian influenza, Ebola, and the Zika virus. This concentration is designed for students interested in public health at the global level and is particularly focused on improving health conditions in less developed countries.

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  • Community Health, BS

    Public and community health professionals provide vital services to improve the health outcomes of people in all types of populations, locally and throughout the world. Mason offers a BS in community health that gives students an understanding of public health and the health care system, and of issues and policies as they relate to disease prevention, public education and interventions, and health promotion for local and international populations. Graduates work in government and non-governmental agencies, in nonprofit and for-profit sectors. Students may select from concentrations in clinical science or global health.

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  • Conflict Analysis and Resolution, BA, BS

    From disputes between two individuals to warring clashes among ethnic groups, students pursuing either a BA or BS in conflict analysis and resolution learn to affect change through peaceful solutions. The program provides a rigorous academic curriculum along with opportunities for internships, service learning, research projects, co-curricular programs, and study abroad. Graduates find fulfilling careers in mediation and negotiation, law and criminal justice, community advocacy, human resources, and international aid, development, and diplomacy. Mason also offers a minor and an accelerated master’s degree in conflict analysis and resolution. Areas of concentration include: Building Peace in Divided Societies; Global Engagement; Political and Social Action; Justice and Reconciliation; Interpersonal Dynamics; and Collaborative Leadership.

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  • Conservation Studies, Minor

    The Conservation Studies Minor is intended for non-biology majors with an interest in wildlife and habitat conservation issues. The minor may particularly suit environmental science, environmental and sustainability studies, global and environmental change majors and Earth science majors, as well as New Century College students wishing to increase their understanding and qualifications in the field of conservation biology. The minor may also be of interest to non-science majors, for example, students taking leisure studies classes with an interest in ecotourism. The minor is offered by the Department of Environmental Science and Policy in the College of Science.

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  • Cultural Studies, Concentration in the English MA

    Cultural Studies looks at cultural practices of all kinds—mass media, consumer culture, and literary texts—as well as other aspects of everyday life both past and present. Course work draws on theory and methods from traditional disciplines such as anthropology, history, and philosophy, but it also responds to questions that cannot always be answered by traditional means. Can be taken as a concentration in the MA in English.

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  • Earth Science, BS, Accelerated MEd

    Qualified undergraduates may be admitted to a Bachelor's/Accelerated Master's program and obtain both a BS in Earth Science and an MEd in Curriculum and Instruction, Concentration in Secondary Education Earth Science within an accelerated time frame. Students meeting the qualifications may be admitted to this program following completion of 90 undergraduate credits. They may then take 12 graduate credits within their senior year (i.e., six credits will partially satisfy requirements of both the BS in Earth Science and the MEd in Curriculum and Instruction; six credits will be completed as reserve graduate credit toward the MEd only). If students earn at least a 3.0 in these classes, they are granted advanced standing in the master's program and, upon completion of the bachelor's degree, must then take an additional 23 credits to earn the master's degree.

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  • Earth Science, BS

    This degree covers Earth Sciences in the broadest sense, including geology, oceanography, atmospheric science, and their effect on the environment. Students specialize within this broad framework by choosing one of several concentrations offered by the program. The Washington, D.C., area is an exciting place to enter the field of Earth Sciences, with collaboration and career opportunities at US Geological Survey, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the Smithsonian Institution, and many other public and private labs. The Earth Sciences degree is a starting point for many career paths, including research via an advanced degree, work in government laboratories, consulting, resource management and extraction, environmental advocacy, and teaching.

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  • Economics BA, BS, Accelerated MA

    Mason's nationally ranked graduate economics programs are noted for their concentrations: experimental economics, Austrian economics, public choice, constitutional political economy, law and economics, and new institutional economics. Highly qualified Mason economics majors may apply to the accelerated master's degree program. Those accepted will be able to earn a bachelor's and master's degrees in economics after satisfactory completion of 144 credits. Graduates are exceptionally well-prepared for professional school or a PhD program in economics or a related discipline.

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  • Environmental GIS and Biodiversity Conservation, Graduate Certificate

    This certificate is offered by the College of Science’s Department of Geography and Geoinformation Science in cooperation with the School of Business. Professionals working on large-scale GIS projects often find it only natural to couple management and marketing topics with geography. This certificate accommodates students who are pursuing a degree in the Department of Geography and Geoinformation Science who also wish to acquire more knowledge on how to manage people and organizations dealing with GIS in a global economy. By understanding marketing terms, financial matters, and also having a good understanding of how to manage people, students will be well prepared to face challenges in multidisciplinary GIS-oriented environments.

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  • Environmental Policy, Minor

    This minor offered by the Department of Environmental Science and Policy in the College of Science includes classes in introduction to environmental policy and applied ecology. It is a Green Leaf program, which focuses on learning about sustainability.

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  • Environmental Science and Policy, Accelerated MS

    This degree option allows highly qualified George Mason University students to earn an Environmental Science and Policy, MS in less time than if they had first graduated with an environmentally-focused Green Leaf -designated BA or BS degree, then applied to the MS program sequentially. This program of study is offered by the Department of Environmental Science and Policy in the College of Science.

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  • Environmental Science, BS, Minor

    The BS in Environmental Science provides students with rigorous training in the science of the environment, and gives them the ability to use key scientific principles to analyze problems and develop practical solutions. The program covers the fundamental techniques of environmental science and engineering, protection and improvement of environmental quality, environmental policy, risk assessment and risk management, and public and private decision-making processes. Graduates are prepared for careers in a variety of environmental science fields, and are also qualified to pursue advanced scientific/professional studies.

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  • Environmental and Sustainability Studies, BA

    Mason’s interdisciplinary environmental and sustainability studies degree program combines the study of human behavior and environmental science. With an emphasis on social and environmental justice, the program looks at the impact of sustainability programs on the global environment and human communities. To bring these studies home, you will participate in experiential learning through internships, field studies, service learning or study abroad. Students can earn a degree with a concentrations in Business and Sustainability, Climate Change and Society, Environmental Economics, Environmental Policy and Politics, or Equity and Environmental Justice.

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  • Global Affairs, BA

    A passion for learning about international issues, experiencing other cultures, and examining the global processes affecting all societies leads individuals to pursue a BA in global affairs at Mason. Students determine their area of concentration either by choosing a world region to study—Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, or Russia and Central Asia—or by choosing a theme, such as the global economy, the arts, the environment, or international development. Undergraduates in this program are encouraged to study abroad, and they leave Mason with advanced language skills and a solid preparation for international careers or graduate studies.

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  • Government and International Politics, BA

    Interested in a career in political analysis, public service, law, campaigns or research? Learn to critically examine the complexities of national and international issues, as well as political issues, processes, and actors.

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  • Mechanical Engineering, BS, Minor

    Mechanical Engineering is the broadest of the engineering disciplines, concerned with anything that moves or uses energy. There are two major stems in mechanical engineering: mechanical systems and thermal fluid systems. Mechanical Engineers design, build, and analyze complex devices, systems and processes that involve the conversion of energy from one form to another, the production of work, and the transport of energy and mass from one location to another. Mechanical engineers work mostly in engineering services, research and development, manufacturing industries, and the federal government.

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  • Psychology, BA, BS

    The study of psychology provides an overall understanding of what humans do in various situations, and of how and why they do it. In courses taught by outstanding professors known for their research, students can explore such fields as social, abnormal, and cognitive psychology. Faculty members regularly enlist undergraduates to assist in their research, and all freshmen have the opportunity to be mentored by a member of Psi Chi, the psychology national honorary society, to help ensure their success.

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  • Sustainable Enterprise, Minor

    Sustainable enterprises are businesses that are financially prosperous and seek to benefit the environment and society. This minor is offered by the Department of Environmental Science and Policy in the College of Science.

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  • Urban and Suburban Studies, Minor

    The minor in Urban and Suburban Studies is an interdisciplinary minor in which students have opportunities to conduct independent research, engage in globally-related activities through coursework and language study, participate in public service, and prepare for a future career through internships, career-focused minors and other college-to-career activities. The strong communication and analytical skills developed while earning this minor contribute to student success in a wide variety of professional careers as well as graduate education. For policies governing all minors, see the Undergraduate Policies section of this catalog.

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