The Major System

The Major System

The Major System: Allowing Students to Design Their Educational Experience

Instead of requiring students to select their intended fields of study right away when they enroll, ICU uses the major system to enable students to explore different academic areas and find the ones that they want to pursue at deeper levels. Under the major system, students nurture their basic academic abilities through a wide range of courses during their first and second years, gradually narrow their fields of interest, and then choose their majors before starting their third years.

Advantages of the Major System

  1. Students can identify what they really want to do as they take courses in fields that pique their interest by learning in a variety of interesting academic areas, students discover the specific fields that they find most captivating. A student might enroll at ICU hoping to focus on interpretation, for example, but later encounter the wonders of history and end up changing his or her major. There are countless examples of how discovering a new field of interest can change students' lives.
  2. Being able to try out many different academic areas makes it possible for students to be more confident about their choice of a major.
    Imagine a young female student who likes physics but finds linguistics and international relations interesting, too. At ICU, she could learn what she wants to learn without having to sacrifice any of her curiosity. In other words, she might study all of her main interests--physics, linguistics, and international relations--before eventually settling on physics and making it her major.
  3. Students can recognize the differences between research areas as they learn independently While the fields of politics and public policy might address similar themes, the only way to understand the differences between the two is to actually study them. Students can choose their majors by weighing their feelings about why exactly they find different things interesting, what exactly they want to learn, and other considerations.

The Three Ways to Design Majors

ICU students can select from over 30 majors and design their corresponding educational experiences in any of the following patterns.
[1] Single major
[2] Double major (completing two full majors)
[3] Major/minor (selecting two "majors" but emphasizing one over the other)

The number of credits required for a student to graduate also varies according to the design of the student's major (single, double, or major/minor).