Opinion

Independent majors lack breathing room

This fall, students can begin creating independent majors, but they should not jump at the thought of majoring in underwater basket weaving just yet.

Given the dozens of existing departments and hundreds of courses offered in the College of Arts and Sciences, there are definitely new options that have never even been considered. However, the breadth of program options will ultimately be limited by the expertise of faculty and spectrum of courses available on this campus.

Pursuing an independent major will require either an above-average familiarity with the university and its faculty,­ or the drive to navigate through the bureaucracy of departments and figure it all out.

Next year, only five students will be able to start pursuing an independent major, and the university is wise to set that limit.

To handle an independent major, you need to be independent. Most sophomores don’t know enough about the faculty and resources at UM, or have a strong enough grasp of their professional ambitions, to be able to craft their own program of study.

Consider an independent study class. To take such a course, a student, at the very least, needs to have established a strong enough relationship with a professor for him or her to be interested in being a mentor throughout the semester. The student also needs to be imaginative enough to come up with something new and  know that the course has never been taught before.

Now multiply the preparation level for that potentially three-credit course, by 10. A 30-credit independent major will take a lot of planning and persistence.

Students may also encounter courses that are offered on a limited basis. Some professors choose to teach a class only in the fall or spring semester, or even on a whim. Unless there’s a way to guarantee when a class will be available, it’s a bad idea to incorporate it into your study track.

We don’t recommend this for everyone. Students should be certain enough about their majors so that a change of heart doesn’t throw them off track for graduation.

You have to know what you want and be sure of it. You also have to know how to get it and be ready to go after it. But for those who are up for the challenge, we are eager to discover what creative study paths you can come up with.

 

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.

April 6, 2014

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The Miami Hurricanes are 2-0 when these two things happen: Michael Mediavilla starts, and Michael Bu ...

If Miami Hurricanes fans were hoping to hear that one quarterback charged forward with such authorit ...

The Florida State Seminoles came through in the clutch. The Miami Hurricanes did not. That pretty mu ...

The Jerry’s Pizza of Mark Richt’s youth is gone, but Fran’s Chicken Haven — “If the Colonel had our ...

Hey, Hurricane basketball fans, do you ever sit around and wonder whatever happened to Guillermo Dia ...

UM students, staff and faculty join the worldwide march to end men’s violence against women. ...

Greek Week at the University of Miami is committed to raising money and awareness for United Cerebra ...

Carlos Bustamante, a Presidential Distinguished Scholar, kicked off his series of lectures about gen ...

Edward Abraham, M.D., has been named Dean of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Med ...

Junior Kristiana Yao is the first named at UM in the last 33 years. ...

The University of Miami men's tennis team is set to play its final match of the regular season ...

Ebony Morrison & women's 4x100m won at Baylor, while Gabrielle Hesslau & Sean Grossman ...

Sunday's finale between the Miami Hurricanes and Florida State Seminoles (April 23) will be pla ...

The No. 39 Miami women's tennis team will play its final match of the regular season Sunday at ...

On a night when he connected for a grand slam against archrival Florida State in front of a sold-out ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.