Individualized majors aren’t for slackers

Students classroom
Self-designed majors can seem like a piece of cake, but they require dedication and focus. / Wavebreak Media

You could go to school for just about anything, within reason. Whatever your interests are, there’s a school for that. But what happens when there isn’t a major that teaches the specific studies you wish to learn? Dedicated students have found that sometimes, if what you want isn’t being offered, you need to resort to a self-designed major. Beware, though, this track is not for everyone.

Before you start applying for an individualized major at your college, consider not only your goal, but your work ethic, and your ability to organize and communicate these thoughts to faculty members. “Do not think of the student-defined option as a way around the more difficult parts of existing majors,” warns Dr. Joseph E. Devine, Associate Dean, Dietrich College of Humanities & Social Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Colleges tend to require a rigorous application process.

Kevin Egan is the Director of Interdisciplinary Inquiry at Drexel University, and he believes that Drexel’s lengthy application process makes some students reconsider self-designed majors. “I’ve seen an increase of students expressing interest in individualized majors – probably over 100 students,” says Egan, “but quite a lot don’t ever go through the application process, and I think it’s because of the amount of work that’s involved.”

The payoff, however, is worth it. “Students who are a good fit for this program are the ones inspired by wanting to solve real world problems,” explains Egan. “It can be something large, like sustainability, and they already have the right mindset because these problems aren’t owned by one area of study.”

That’s a notion that schools can agree upon. Paulette Hutchinson, Dean of Undergraduate College at Rosemont, agrees. “The purpose of an individualized major is to provide options to a student who is interested in something that does not fall within the parameters of a single discipline,” she says. A self-designed major requires a great deal of work, sure, but when you have something that you want to zero in on at college, it makes it all worth it. Plus, when applying for jobs, you’ll be the only one with a degree in bio-mimicry designs.

Quoted:
“Students in these programs achieve a much higher and more integrated understanding of the core ideas of their major, and how each constituent part fits in. They own it in several ways, and can point to ways in which they have innovated and created something new rather than simply selecting a major that a department created, and knowing less well how it all fits together,” says Devine.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

US military tried, but failed to rescue journalist…

The U.S. military earlier this year tried to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held in Syria ,but failed to find the captives.

National

Fate of captured beluga whales in hands of…

A Georgia aquarium went to court on Wednesday seeking federal permission to bring 18 captured beluga whales to the United States from Russia.

Local

After Eric Garner death, religious leaders meet to…

Interfaith leaders convened with city officials to discuss what the community can do to help dial down heightened tensions after Eric Garner's death.

Local

'Suspicious' Hamilton Heights fire caused by power strip:…

An extension cord overload caused the deadly fire in Hamilton Heights late Monday that killed a 15-year-old girl and injured at least 12 others.

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

And then there were six. It was a big night on stage as the Top 6 got to dance with each other, All-star partners and perform a solo routine.

Going Out

5 things to do in NYC this weekend…

FILM Lebowski Fest Aug. 22-23, 8 p.m. Various locations, Manhattan $20-$30, www.lebowskifest.com The Dude abides — for 48 hours to celebrate the 1998 Coen brothers classic.…

Television

'Doctor Who' personality profile: the 4 Doctors

When the time comes for a new Doctor, there's always some anxiety over the big question: Who will he be? The series owes its longevity…

Television

Billy Crystal to commemorate late actor Robin Williams…

  Comedian Billy Crystal will pay tribute to late actor Robin Williams at television's Primetime Emmy Awards on Aug. 25, the show's organizers said on…

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

NFL

Jalen Saunders still unsure what caused car accident…

Jets rookie wide receiver Jalen Saunders spoke to the media Wednesday for the first time since his car accident, but he didn't say a whole lot.

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL defense (DEF)

NFL

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL…

2014 Fantasy Football: Rankings, list of top NFL quarterbacks (QB)

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Wellbeing

Metabolic syndrome could have a sugar link

Scientists in St. Louis may have found another culprit in metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Uric acid is…

Wellbeing

Another way stress hurts your unborn baby

Mothers know to try staying calm during pregnancy, as stress has been linked to behavioral and developmental problems for their babies. But now, a new…