University students who do not declare geography as their major are at risk of poor motivation to learn in an introductory geography class. However, research exploring the role of non-majors’ motivation is lacking. This study examines motivational factors impacting non-geography students’ engagement and performance. The findings suggest that non-geography majors demonstrate deep engagement when they focus on mastering the content and value geography. Also, when students feel confident of learning geography, they are more likely to demonstrate a high level of achievement. The paper concludes with practical suggestions for enhancing non-geography students’ motivation and engagement in an introductory geography class. 2015 Taylor & francis.