The initial college chaos often prevents students from really exploring just what majors are out there for students to declare at one of the Big 10’s best, sometimes leaving them to pursue the larger, better-known degrees. And while these majors, like political science and economics, often reward and benefit a student the most, sometimes the answer isn’t obvious. Discover 10 alternative and outside-of-the-box majors and minors that all Wolverines should definitely be exploring. If you don’t–your loss.
Type: Major and Minor
A major in information, while definitely sounding like something out of Mr. Robot, actually focuses on topics that many of us know nothing about. “It embodies power through data, turning knowledge into wisdom. It is all about making sense of the loads and loads of information that the world produces every day,” junior Ken Kaufman said. A major in information offers a mix of classes involving computer science and statistics, while also focusing on liberal arts topics such as the effect the changing digital era has on modern society, making it an awesome, well-rounded degree worth your time.
While many seek to pursue their own endeavors post-graduation, not everyone has the raw understanding of what it takes find their inner Steve Jobs or Bill Gates. A minor in entrepreneurship allows students to tap into just that, but in a more organized, monitored and systematic environment. “I like the freedom to approach problems with any sort of creative aspect I want to take [to finding the solution] and then finding the supporting research to go out and accomplish that solution,” senior Connor Borrego said. A student can satisfy a minor in entrepreneurship with an emphasis in many departments ranging from liberal arts to engineering, which means anyone can dive into the world of startups. What are you waiting for?
3. History of Law and Policy
Focusing on law and policy specifically is something that many history students can benefit from. “So far, I’ve enjoyed most the variety of classes I’m taking and how relevant the information is to what’s happening in the world,” junior Jake Shepherd said. “I’d recommend this minor to anyone who likes to look at the big picture of stories.” Not sure why, but I get the feeling this minor might go a long way towards getting yourself in a little place called the White House.
4. Sound Engineering
Sound engineering, also known as performing arts technology (PAT), focuses on the cross between music production, design and technology. Course requirements include everything from sound reinforcement and recording to calculus to elementary piano study. That being said, don’t expect to just be fooling around with GarageBand or plugging in a microphone. “If you’re looking for a physics-based approach at audio engineering or a program that dives into interactive media design through both physical hardware and coding, welcome to PAT,” senior Ben Factor said. Did someone say, “brain child of Albert Einstein and Skrillex?”
5. Sport Management
Sport management at Michigan is supported by student organizations like Sports Business Association and Michigan Sports Business Conference (MSBC) that consistently rank #1 in the country for sport business groups. SM at UMich is a great example of the disassociation between more specific majors and lack of quality. “It’s exciting to be able to pursue an education that combines your professional interests in business with your personal passion for sports,” MSBC President Zachary Ganz said. So, while you may have given up on playing soccer a few years back after realizing your skillset wasn’t destined to play against Ronaldo in the next World Cup, a sports management degree allows you to assemble the next team of superstars to beat him.
6. Nuclear Engineering & Radiological Sciences
Remember that horrendously complicated chapter at the end of your high school chemistry textbook about nuclear energy? Well, students in nuclear engineering & radiological sciences (NERS) loved that chapter so much they decided to study more about it for the next four years. That being said, choosing this path doesn’t limit your career opportunities in the slightest. “From weapons to nuclear energy to fusion, every aspect of nuclear engineering has interesting applications in state-of-the-art science,” UM Chapter of the American Nuclear Society President Emily King said. “A strong work ethic is definitely necessary to be successful in this field, but the really cool science we get to do makes it all worth it.” While I don’t think my brain can process how to harness the energy from an atom, that doesn’t mean you can’t. Good luck!
7. Performing Arts Management
Ever dreamed of getting some experience running a record label? Organizing a non-profit theatre organization? Working in studio with Kanye? A minor in performing arts management allows students to tie practical business knowledge to oversight in opera, music, and drama institutions–a unique and interesting take on entertainment. “The PAM minor allows you to take an array of classes that introduce you to both the for-profit and non-profit sides of the arts and entertainment industries,” recent PAM graduate Hailey Phelps. “This minor gave me the confidence to experience other areas of the music industry, such as working at a booking agency where I’m currently a full-time employee.” With such a strong connection between class and career, this seems like a no-brainer for metal-heads and Beiber-fanatics alike.
8. Complex Systems
Complex systems, or complexity science, is a relatively new interdisciplinary field of study that focuses on solving difficult problems that do not have an obvious answer. While this may seem surface level, it is quite the opposite–Complex systems looks at how individual components in places like economics, political systems, social networks and even the brain interact to work collectively. Complexity science serves as a prime example of a minor built to enhance the experience of another entirely different major. Where’s the sign-up sheet?
9. Music Theory
You play an instrument. You read music. You love music. But do you understand the implications of its existence? Why we enjoy it so much? Its importance in modern society? Music theory allows students to search for that purpose in a dedicated field of study. In many ways, a study in music theory focuses on topics that extend beyond the world of music itself. “One thing I appreciate a lot in music theory is its pluralism. Being a young field–at least, in its North American version–there is lots of room for exploration, especially interdisciplinary, as wide as mathematics, psychology, women’s studies and history, for example. Music merely represents the starting point,” UMich PhD student William Van Geest said. The question begs: do you have what it takes to be the next musical Socrates?
10. Intergroup Relations Education
I would be lying to you if I said intergroup relations education (IR) had a name that was easy to make any sense of. However, the work one does within it is pretty darn cool. IR looks to incorporate sociology and psychology studies into ways different groups of people intersect and work to promote unity, equality and social development. Its mission works to promote a sense of social unity through education, and offers a variety of extracurricular opportunities involving community outreach, field research and workshops.