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Create your own major?

curiouscollegescuriouscolleges 2 replies4 threads New Member
What are some unique majors that students themselves have created in college?
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Replies to: Create your own major?

  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35100 replies398 threads Senior Member
    The idea is you would know your own interests and what makes legit academic sense, versus sounds loopy and is. Will it make a future interviewer scratch her head/she can't figure out what this means to your educ overall, your qualifications?
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 5017 replies22 threads Senior Member
    Take a few ideas and then Google them together to come up with majors. It's really interesting what you will find. Have fun doing this. Creating a niche market place for yourself can be well worth it. Becoming an authority on a subject few go into can reap advantages depending on what you do with it later.
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 1612 replies25 threads Senior Member
    Knowsstuff wrote: »
    Creating a niche market place for yourself can be well worth it.
    It can also be a bad idea as employers don’t know what you can/want to do. I’ve seen both.
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  • juilletjuillet 12708 replies162 threads Super Moderator
    If you're asking just for curiosity's sake - most colleges that offer independent/individualized majors will show you a list of the ones completed most recently, either publicly on their website or at least in person if you go to the right office for it.

    Duke's Program II website has a list of past Program II major titles (https://program2.duke.edu/prospective-students/past-titles), and they include things like American studies, economics & management, environment & ecology, health & medicine, and sciences. Berea College (https://www.berea.edu/academics/sample-independent-majors/) and University of Louisville (https://louisville.edu/liberalstudies/prospective-majors/designing-a-program/example-programs) also have examples on their websites.

    Generally speaking, independent/individualized majors are created with the guidance of an advisor (ideally, 2-3) across different departments that comprise your major. They're generally interdisciplinary majors that you can't get simply from double-majoring in two different fields or from majoring in one and minoring in the other. The Gallatin School for Individualized Study, although they don't have examples, does have a guide for creating a 'concentration' (https://gallatin.nyu.edu/academics/undergraduate/concentration.html) that I think is a good set of general guidelines for how to think about creating a major.

    Some colleges are more strict than others in creating your own major; at some, all you need to do is consult with one professor, whereas at others, you need to write a proposal and have it accepted by a committee. Usually, you need to declare by your sophomore year, so students who do well with independent majors have usually given some thought to what they'd want to study in high school and solidify that in their freshman year.

    I wouldn't worry *too* much about the future interviewers when it comes to the name of the major; interviewers generally care about skills, not specific majors. I have a PhD in a specific interdisciplinary field that only exists at two programs and no one would know what it means if I used it; on my resume, instead of using the field, I use the two more standard fields that make up this interdisciplinary field. This is really common in business. If you majored in "graphic communication," for example, and you wanted to emphasize that you had graphic design skills, you could put the software you've used and projects you completed on your resume. That's why having an internship is useful.
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