Oh, the majors you’ll know! How to navigate your way through a sea of possibilities

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Coming into college your freshman year, you’re bombarded by unfamiliar faces, novel places and a plethora of classes and majors to choose from. While most students know about majors like English, international relations, chemistry and business, MSU offers a few lesser-known areas of study that just might interest you. Here’s a list of a few that might grab your attention.

Apparel & Textile Design

 The Department of Art, Art History and Design offers an apparel and textile design program that aims to mix several aspects of design, fine art, history and culture into a major that creates artists who are aware of global issues, cultures and their dress. The major emphasizes aesthetics and creativity, presenting this knowledge through their annual Apparel and Textile Design Fashion Show — giving individuals the chance to display a wide range of sustainable fashion in front of guest judges. The program works to foster individuals that have a passion for creating not only original works, but also sustainable designs.

Sustainable Parks,Recreation & Tourism

 Sustainable parks, recreation and tourism is a major offered through the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. While the College works to integrate social science with humanities and natural sciences, this program focuses on “the study of natural, social, management and behavioral sciences.” Students in this major will be able to harness their professional and program knowledge to effectively communicate and engage within their community. Many graduates pursue careers in park and land management, environment law enforcement, nonprofits and tourism systems at local, state and federal levels. 

Experience Architecture

 Experience architecture, or XA, is a major where students work to design — or architect — experiences that users have with digital or physical spaces, focusing heavily on the role that empathy plays when it comes to design. 

“My favorite thing about XA is its focus on people and empathy,” sophomore Erin Campbell said. “I could never solely be a designer or create technology … but XA thinks about people first, and that’s really important to me.” 

XA “gives students exposure to aspects of maneuvering and creating websites or apps such as designing, coding, writing and digital rhetoric,” according to the program’s own content.

Students in this major often pursue careers in fields such as content management, information architecture, user experience and application development. While Campbell still has another two years before she graduates, she did have some advice for students interested in majoring in XA. 

“Do it,” she said. “The world needs more people who care about other people first.”

Landscape Architecture

 Landscape architecture is a major offered through the School of Planning, Design and Construction. According to the program website, the major works to “merge ideology, design, technology and ecology toward creating a sustainable world.” Sophomore Amanda Wakefield, originally a finance major, switched to landscape architecture after a summer working as a gardener. 

“Whenever I talk about my major, I explain what I love about it, because frankly, I do love my work,” Wakefield said. “This major combines my love of gardening with my love of creating and makes me feel fulfilled.” 

More than 90 percent of the major’s graduates are placed in the job market within seven months after graduation, and while the major is quite small, Wakefield describes that as being one of its greatest assets. 

“My class is a family, a support group and a team all rolled up into one,” she said.

Whether one of these majors is the perfect fit for you, you’ve managed to wade your way into the sea full of majors. If you ever need to take a fun elective, consider looking at some lesser-known areas of study and remember — keep swimming, you might be surprised by what you find.