Meta-majors consists of a group of academic classes and sequence structures that introduce students to a broad set of career options, while meeting the academic requirements across multiple areas of study. The courses allow students to explore a wide variety of career options, with the purpose of choosing a profession based on their interests, skills, and talents. In addition, Meta-majors help to promote STEM initiatives which emphasize courses in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).
Meta-majors can also be helpful in boosting completion rates among all students, to include those enrolled in developmental education courses since research indicates higher graduation rates among students who identify a program of study within their first year. Meta-major programs can be designed to help students navigate through the confusing process of choosing the appropriate classes, by providing them with a structured learning sequence and relevant course options to choose from. Students begin their studies with “gateway” courses such as English Composition and College Algebra before moving on into the meta-major areas of studies. It would also require that students who are unsure about what classes to enroll in consult with campus advisors for guidance. Students benefit from the structured approach to courses as well as the additional time spent being mentored by advisors and instructors that teach in their desired career path. Examples of meta-major career cluster options include: Arts and Humanities, Communication, Design, Business, Education, Health Sciences, Industry/Manufacturing and Construction, Public Safety, STEM, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Human Services.
Upon enrolling in a post-secondary institution, students will work with their advisor to create an educational plan that identifies one of the meta-majors career cluster options. While all students must complete the gateway courses, subsequent courses that students enroll in will be determined by their chosen area of study. If a student is interested in careers in the Health Sciences, for example, they would take courses that are geared towards the field of Health Science such as health education and anatomy. After students have completed their course of study, they will be able to progress into a specific career program based on their chosen major.
The overall goal of meta-majors is to provide students with a clear direction for taking courses that align with their intended field of study. Advisors will not only be able to advise students on which courses are the most appropriate, but students will be able to set better goals for themselves in order to stay on track and complete their college degree.