Amazing Majors You Might Not Know We Have

Mary Washington offers a few majors that allow you to study subjects you might not even have known were offered. So come one, come all, time to see some of these majors in action!

Historic Preservation

Interested in History but want a more hands on approach? Look no further! In this major you will take courses on architectural history, archaeology, museum studies, preservation law, land use planning, and principles of architectural conservation, as well as the ethical and technical understanding of how public policy decisions are made and affect the survival of historic resources. Then you go into the community and apply these skills in fieldwork. You can even join the Historic Preservation Club for their Halloween Ghostwalk, a ghost tour through Fredericksburg. This raises funds for the club to go on field trips throughout the year!

Conservation Biology

Want to save the rainforests? Conservation Biology is for students interested in public or private-sector careers in fields such as endangered species protection and recovery, habitat conservation, conservation biology education, and fisheries and wildlife management. Students even have the option to spend a semester in residence at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute with the Smithsonian – Mason School of Conservation (SMSC). You can earn transferable course credit, while working side-by-side with world-class conservation biologists.

UMW » Environmental Interpretation


Want to learn a mix of knowledge in computer science, along with a specialized focus in cybersecurity topics? This newly formed major blends a theoretical background with practical applications of cybersecurity skills. Graduates are well-equipped to go into careers in developing secure software, exploring and fixing vulnerabilities and penetration testing. Yes, that means hacking for class! The cybersecurity major leads to a degree in computer science, and provides lots of internship and career opportunities for students throughout their time at Mary Wash.

English, Creative Writing

Apply your traditional English major skills to your own creative writing in the English and Creative Writing Major. This concentration within the English Major will have you produce your own fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and other forms of creative writing to bring into in-depth workshops that will greatly improve your work! All English, Creative Writing Majors are required to learn the ins and outs of publishing through the Literary Journal, a course in publishing and editing where you publish an actual edition of the Rappahannock Review.

This major prepares students for careers that require critical thinking, writing, communication skills, and the capacity to respond to new challenges.

Women and Gender Studies

Women and Gender Studies is special in that it is an entirely interdisciplinary major. This major is perfect if you want to explore  gender and sexuality themes in any of the following disciplines: literature, theatre, politics, history, art, music, geography, sociology, anthropology or business.

To quote a graduate of the program Paige McKinsey, a current Masters Student at George Washington University, “My favorite part of the WGST major was that it made me think differently. It’s also a major that is not only a subject of study but, for many of us, a lifestyle that calls us to action. The major doesn’t simply teach you to see gender dynamics and the ways in which gender norms perpetuate systems of oppression; the best classes taught an intersectional approach that made you see the world in a different way and makes you want to enact positive change.”

Check out some of the incredible research students have done and learn more about the major here!


Geography is more than maps. It’s about people, culture, and how the physical land shapes the world. The Geography Major at Mary Washington includes the study of natural hazards, urban environments, sustainable development, political culture, as well as economic geographies of globalization. You will learn tools to analyze like a Geographer with in-depth interviewing, GIS (mapping software), satellite imagery, and field observation.

Here are some of the places our Geography Majors have worked with their degree:

  • Intelligence Agencies
  • City, Regional, and State Planning Departments
  • Environmental, Engineering, or Architectural Consultation Firms
  • Manufacturing Firms
  • Government Agencies (Census Bureau, USGS, EPA, National Parks, NOAA)
  • Schools and Teaching
  • Cartographers GIS Consulting Companies
  • Non Profits

You also may get to take a trip to Morocco with your professors! Students pose with UMW banner on study abroad trip to Morocco with Dr. Rouhani.


Something catch your eye? Our faculty are more than happy to connect with you about any of these programs. Simply click on the major you’re interested in and you will be taken to contact information for the faculty in that department. Feel free to find the Department Chair in your major of interest, or any professor who specializes in your interest, and then ask away!

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