Majors involving broad skills become most popular


By Svjetlana Stojanovic

With the deadlines to transfer majors going on throughout October, certain majors have earned their way to becoming the most popular among students.

The College of LAS produces three of the top four majors at the University, based on enrollment statistics from the Division of Management Information. The deadline for students wishing to transfer into a LAS major is Oct. 30.

Psychology is the most popular major with enrollment at 1,214 students.

David Skadden, academic adviser for psychology, said students majoring in psychology are attracted to the major because they find human behavior and how the brain works interesting.

“We do not have programs specifically targeted at keeping students in psychology,” Skadden said. “They seem to stay in because they find what they are looking for.”

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    Other top majors in the College of LAS are Molecular and Cellular Biology, the third-most popular major, and Political Science, the fourth-most popular major.

    “Unlike majors geared toward a specific field, political science prepares students with skills that would apply to any job,” said William Bernhard, department head for Political Science. “Students are prepared for multiple job opportunities.”

    Molecular and Cellular Biology, with 903 students enrolled, is separated by fewer than 40 students from the second-most popular major, Electrical Engineering, which has an enrollment of 942.

    The College of Engineering does not have a specific deadline for transferring into majors, but it highly recommends that students contact the college as early as possible for transfer information.

    “I have seen that every medium-to large-sized business wants at least one electrical engineer on their staff because they are so versatile,” said Andrew Neaville, senior in Engineering.

    With the economy in a recession, students are choosing their majors based on the jobs that will be available, Bernhard said. Majors that prepare students to work in several fields are being preferred among University students, he said.

    “An undergraduate psychology degree is a good foundation, a good jumping off place for any path,” Skadden said.

    Students can take classes in any department and obtain the skills they need, but graduating with a versatile major is very influential in the job world, Bernhard said.

    “Most jobs are looking for flexibility in the skills the employees have,” Bernhard said. “Having that general skill set gives them the opportunity to go into any field.”