The reasons are many. At its core, the major provides freedom and flexibility. That means different things to different people. For some, the emphasis on academic exploration gives students the opportunity to pursue multiple interests as they define and refine academic and life goals. For others who have already defined their main areas of interest, the major allows creative combinations of quite disparate fields. One 2010 graduate’s Humanities major combined English, Spanish and Sociology with a minor in Adventure Education. Another 2010 graduate combined English, Southwest Studies and Spanish with a History Minor, a large number of geology courses—and the John F. Reed Honors Program.
The list of reasons could go on. Some find the major a means of quickening their conscience and giving them an impetus toward community action and civic duty, especially when combined with courses that emphasize community engagement. Others pursue the major simply as a way of satisfying the archetypal impetus of human curiosity, satisfying the urge to know in different ways. Others use it to challenge themselves, to engage the biggest questions of all—why we’re here, what our lives mean.
Some of the benefits of the major are inherent in its nature. Students become comfortable with the challenge of working across the borders of traditional academic disciplines. In their classes, they practice critical analysis that never forgets the larger picture, the holistic, the attempt at synthesis. Students learn to see ideas and events in context and from multiple viewpoints. The constant impetus to yoke separate disciplines prompts creative and imaginative thinking—as a student, as an employee, as a citizen.