Our last blog covered new majors in college that are developing and being refined to accommodate new career areas. Now let’s look at how students are shaping their own majors. More than 100 colleges are offering individualized majors today. Schools like New York University, the University of Indiana, the University of Connecticut, Duke, and Drexel are a few.
New self-designed majors help attract the brightest and best students and retain them. No more boredom, no more fitting a round peg into a square whole. Majors now can be developed by students who have quirky interests, who are non-traditional, or who have a creativity that might be stifled by prescribed course work. These new majors also allow for individualized projects like speechwriting or writing a novel.
But, these majors are not frivolous; they mean hard work. Students wanting an individualized major often must go through a difficult application process. Then they have to do the leg work to put together courses and schedules. Often they become isolated because of self-designed projects. Still these students find a pay off, not only in being able to study what they want. Employers like self-starters and people with a collection of skills which show versatility. Graduate programs, too, like seeing students who have a passion for learning and who demonstrate that they want to shape their own education.
Think about some of the possibilities! Change the slaughter houses by studying politics, science, and ethics to acquire a degree in environmental ethics. Do HIV research in Africa after taking biology, international studies, and history to get a degree in global health and policy.
These new major may just be a response to the world’s new complexities where problems must be solved with an interdisciplinary approached and not from limited and restricted one-dimensional thinking.