The Evolution of Individualized Major Programs Essay

The Evolution of Individualized Major Programs Essay

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Defining and creating the perfect curriculum has been a struggle for educators and administrators since the creation of universities. This struggle has continued throughout the evolution of the American higher education institutions. Starting with Harvard University in the 17th century and following all the way through to today where there are over 4,000 institutions of higher education in the United States. The goals of universities have stayed relatively the same in that they want to create prepared individuals who go out into the world ready to work and make it a better place. The challenge has been that what the world requires is constantly changing and therefore the knowledge that individuals enter the world with needs to change. Administrators and educators are constantly experimenting with different ways of teaching and different levels of education to provide their students with the best information and best way of gaining this information possible.

These changes can be tracked from religious-focused curriculums, to strict curriculums, to a kind of “faculty’s choice” system, to a more fluid education, and finally to the student-controlled form of study. According to The College Board’s Big Future College Search there are now 960 4-year universities in the United States with a student-designed major option, although this can encompass interdisciplinary and individualized programs. Students everywhere are asking about the validity of these programs and the success of students who graduate from them. Unfortunately there is very little research about where these programs began, if they are successful, and if so why? What is out there are testimonials from students who have created their own individualized major...

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...eneurs, and the coming transformation of higher education. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing.
Kowarski, I. (2010, September 5). Newly customized majors suit students with passions all their own. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved November 27, 2013, from
Lucas, C. (2006). American higher education: A history. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
Shellenbarger, S. (2010, November 17). Can't pick a college major? Create one. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved November 27, 2013, from
Wright, S. (n.d.). Universities that let students create their own major. Education Portal. Retrieved November 29, 2013, from

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