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12 College Majors We Hope to See Soon

Posted on Thursday April 5, 2012 by Staff Writers

While some college majors have been around for decades or even centuries, others are relatively new and some are still waiting on the horizon to be added to college programs around the world as new technologies and demands shape the needs of modern students. While a host of degree programs have been added over the past 10 or 20 years, many related to computers and other forms of technology, many more will be needed in the future to keep up with a world that is rapidly changing.

Here, we’ve collected some college majors that are just emerging or that we hope will become a reality over the next few years, as there is a huge demand for workers who’ll need the particular skill sets they’ll offer. From building the medical field of the future to changing the way we use the web, these majors will help students get the know-how they need to play a major role in the high-tech, progressive job market of the coming decades.

  1. Content Engineering

    Marketing has changed by leaps and bounds with the omnipresence of not only the internet but also with forms of social media like blogs, Twitter, and Facebook. Understanding how to use these kinds of digital tools takes more than just the standard marketing skills, however, and to really excel at it, grads will need to know about marketing, analytics, writing, communications, and engineering. Presently, there isn’t a major that combines all of these skills into one coherent program, but in the coming years, there just might be as there is a constant demand in the modern business world for workers who have this somewhat broad and multi-disciplinary assortment of skills. A program in content engineering could help fill that void in the market and provide businesses with workers who are well-prepared to develop high-quality digital content for their employers.

  2. Sports

    In the wake of a number of NCAA scandals, many have suggested that it might make sense to let athletes just major in sports. With sports like basketball and football, many students will move on to professional positions in sports after college, whether as coaches, trainers, or athletes. Allowing students to major in a field where their true interests lie could help motivate them to do better in their coursework and make them better athletes at the same time. Many proponents of the idea say a major in sports isn’t that far-fetched and could include courses like sports law, the history of sports, sports ethics, sports business, and even sports and public policy, giving student athletes and lovers of sports a well-rounded look at a major part of our culture and economy.

  3. IT for Medical Technology

    Healthcare technology is one of the fastest-growing fields out there today, as many facilities work hard to digitize records and make it faster and more efficient to track, manage, and expedite the care of patients. While there are already a variety of healthcare-focused tech degrees available, especially at the master’s level, more focused programs may be needed. One special area of need is in IT, as IT specialists will be needed to help ensure that hospitals’ digital services are operated, monitored, secured, and serviced in a timely manner. The more complex and widespread these systems become, the greater the need for qualified IT personnel with a bit of medical knowledge will be.

  4. Social Media Studies

    Social media is almost inescapable these days. While many have predicted the death of this online phenomenon in coming years, the reality is that these technologies aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, though they may evolve and change. Currently, there are a wide range of schools that offer courses in social media, but we’ve yet to find any that are offering majors exclusively centered around social media (though there are a few in emerging media and communications). This might change soon, however, and many college students may find themselves in programs that focus on the business, marketing, and technical issues revolving around social media, making it a lot easier to take on the title of “social media expert” in the workplace.

  1. Mobile App Development

    Most of us can’t even remember how we got by in the days before smart phones. Not only do they give us access to the web and email from anywhere, there are also a number of apps that can make life easier and more enjoyable, offering access to everything from spreadsheets to video games at the touch of a button. The app market has become a multi-million (possibly billion) dollar industry over the past few years, and just about every business out there is scrambling to find someone to design a killer web app to represent their brand. There are a few schools around the nation that are catching onto this trend and offering degree programs in mobile apps, but these are still few and far between. Hopefully, more schools will start offering specialized degree programs in this area in the coming years, as it is a rapidly expanding field.

  2. Climate Change

    Currently, there are only a few degree programs nationwide that focus on climate change, with schools like the University of Montana offering a degree program in Climate Change Studies. While still in its infancy, the program is proving popular with students and could be a great emerging major for other schools to create their own programs around as well, as it offers opportunities for careers in a variety of important and in-demand fields. Students in a climate change degree program would gain skills that would prepare them to work in public policy, renewable energy, sustainability research, or as advisors within an industry setting. With extreme weather and warm temperatures around the nation and the world being blamed on climate change, not to mention major environmental changes, more grads with expertise in this area will undoubtedly be needed in the coming years.

  3. Digital Publishing

    Paper media is far from dead, but it’s being supplanted in many ways by digital media, whether in the form of e-books, online magazines, or digital news. Because of that, many publishers are having to come up with new and innovative ways to present and market material, and they’ll need the help of new graduates with expertise not only in publishing but in the modern tools used to access information on computers, tablets, and mobile devices as well. That’s where strong digital publishing programs can come in, offering courses in design, illustration, web development, and even application design, which can help bring new life to old forms of media. Currently, there are a few schools in the U.S. offering digital publishing programs, but they’re still few and far between, something that certainly has to meet the needs of the growing digital media market in the coming decades.

  4. Online Branding

    Can you build a brand without the web? Not these days! Whether you’re a small business or a multi-national corporation, the development and maintenance of an online brand is key in today’s market. With social sites connecting people to products, many people may hear about a business’ products and services through the web, and share their experiences, both positive and negative, openly. It takes some marketing and web savvy to manage the diverse aspects of an online brand and keep things positive, something which college students could learn through courses and an extended degree program focusing on online branding. Today there are few classes, let alone majors that offer this opportunity, despite a high demand for individuals with these skills. Expect to see some change in this area in the coming years, as schools scramble to catch up to the latest in business, PR, and marketing methodology.

  1. Organic Agriculture

    The organic food movement is nothing new, but as sustainability and green technology become an ever more important part of mainstream culture, organic products are showing up everywhere, even in big box stores like Wal-Mart. Students interested in a career in agriculture may want to build a strong background in organic farming methods, something an organic agriculture program could offer. Today, only a few organic agriculture programs exist around the nation, but that may change as more and more people move towards buying organic, pesticide-free foods.

  2. Patient Relations

    The future of medicine undoubtedly involves a lot of technology, but in many ways it also relies heavily on a more personalized and patient-centered approach to care that many in the health care industry may not yet be prepared to deal with. The solution for some schools has been to create programs in an emerging field called Narrative Medicine, which we think could be broadened to include other areas of patient relations as well. These degree programs focus on listening to patient experiences, improving care, and developing stronger and more beneficial relationships with patients and other health care professionals, a must for those working as doctors, nurses, social workers, and therapists. Expect to see these kinds of patient care programs grow in the coming years and expand to include other areas of patient relations as well, as hospitals and patients alike work to build a better, more modern approach to medical care.

  3. Web Journalism

    Where do you get your news? If you’re like most people, most of your news, whether the latest world events or celebrity gossip, comes from a website or blog. Web journalism is a growing field and one that some particularly savvy bloggers have built into a major business. Journalism jobs at traditional papers are hard to come by, but the online sphere offers a whole new realm of exploration for young writers, whether on their own or through a web-based news source. Degree programs that reflect the tremendous growth of online journalism are the natural next step, and we’d love to see a few pop up at colleges around the country.

  4. Distance Education

    Getting an education online, whether in K-12 or at the college level, has become pretty mainstream these days, but many educators still don’t have the skills to take their work to the web, where a growing number of jobs may need them to be. While the basic tenets of education in the online environment aren’t all that different from a classroom setting, digital education does require a good deal of knowledge about emerging technologies, something not every student, even Millennials, has under their belt. The solution may be education programs that are specifically tailored to the needs of online education, allowing educators to easily make the move into distance education positions or regular classroom work that requires a higher than average understanding of the latest educational technologies.