+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Dennis is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    306

    Post difference between major and concentration?

    Hello,

    I'm not so familiar with the American educational system.
    So maybe, someone could explain to me the difference between a major and a concentration(sprecialization) as far as it concerns a Bachelor's degree.

    Thanks,

    Dennis Siemens

  2. #2
    brunetmj is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Lowville,NY,USA
    Posts
    35

    Post

    Dennis,


    In general this is a system of going from the general to the specific.

    For example you may choose the field of study such as Psychology . This is your MAJOR.

    Under the broad topic of Psychology you "Specialize" in a particular area of Psychology such as Clinical, Educational, or Organizational. These choices (specialization's) often have implications in their own right. A clinical specialization for example may have more internships or residency requirements than the others.

    Sometimes there may even be a third break down called an "Emphasis" such as:
    using the above example
    Psychology ( Major )
    Educational ( Specialization )
    Academic or Developmental . (Emphasis)

    I should say I have not seen this kind of break down at the Bachelors level although I am sure they exist.
    All the degrees that I have look at (which is limited) have these breakdowns only at the Masters or Ph.D. programs.

    mark

  3. #3
    brunetmj is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Lowville,NY,USA
    Posts
    35

    Post

    Dennis,

    I forgot to mention another term you may see at the bachlors level.The "Minor".
    I might have a Major of Psychology but took a certain amount of subjets in an entirley different topic such as Chemistry.
    Major Psychology
    Minor Chemistry

  4. #4
    Dennis is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    306

    Post

    Originally posted by brunetmj:
    Dennis,

    I forgot to mention another term you may see at the bachlors level.The "Minor".
    I might have a Major of Psychology but took a certain amount of subjets in an entirley different topic such as Chemistry.
    Major Psychology
    Minor Chemistry
    Thank you very much for this information.
    But if I, for example, want to major in business and I come accross a school that offers a Bachelor's with a major in business
    will they, now, allow me to minor in, say, psychology .
    I mean, is it possible to choose freely a minor in every Bachelor's program, even though a degree-outline does mention only the major? And must the major and minor correspond to each other in some way or can they be in quite different subjects?

    Thanks,

    Dennis Siemens

  5. #5
    levicoff Guest

    Cool

    Originally posted by Dennis:
    Thank you very much for this information.
    But if I, for example, want to major in business and I come accross a school that offers a Bachelor's with a major in business
    will they, now, allow me to minor in, say, psychology.
    First, let's clarify the terms as they are used in some programs . . .

    One of the largest nontraditional programs here in the U.S. is Thomas Edison State College (from which I earned my B.A.). At TESC, a concentration indicates a broad-area major, while a specialization indicates a focused major. (TESC does not use the terms major or minor at all.) Therefore one may do a concentration in a broad area of the liberal arts such as the Humanities, Social Sciences , or Math & Natural Sciences. The concentration must include at least three disciplines in the broad area. (For example, I did a concentration in the Humanities, with my credits divided between communications , music, and theology.) At TESC, a specialization would be to focus in one single area within the broad field. For example, a B.A. in art, English, journalism , or music would have a specialization. (Art, English, journalism , and music are individual areas within the broad area of Humanities. In other words, a B.A. in Humanities has a concentration, a B.A. in English has a specialization.

    At the doctoral level, most nontraditional programs in the U.S. have moved toward a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a specialization in a focused area. If one majors in, say, English literature at The Union Institute , Walden University, or Capella University , the degree is technically a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a specialization in English literature.

    (This was not always the case. When I graduated from Union, I was able to do so with a Ph.D. in Religion and Law. If I were to do the same program today, it would be considered a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a specialization in Religion and Law. The change in nomenclature was a result of state and accreditor issues.)

    If you were to earn, say, an M.A. in Humanities from California State University at Dominguez Hills, it would be just that: an M.A. in Humanities. At CSUDH, like TESC at the undergrad level, you can do a broad area program or a more focused program. If you major in music, you would not have an M.A. in music, you would have an M.A. in Humanities with a concentration or specialization in music. And so it goes. (Perhaps Tom Head, who earned his M.A. there, can elaborate on the use of the various terms (major, specialization, etc.) at CSUDH, as well as how a focused program is reflected on their transcripts.)

  6. #6
    BillDayson is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    California, USA
    Posts
    5,688

    Unhappy

    Originally posted by Dennis:
    Hello,

    I'm not so familiar with the American educational system.
    So maybe, someone could explain to me the difference between a major and a concentration(sprecialization) as far as it concerns a Bachelor's degree.

    Thanks,

    Dennis Siemens
    Here's some examples from the CSUDH catalog.

    Every program requires a grand total of 124-132 semester units for graduation. Of these, 52-59 semester units are in general education , selected from approved courses in the humanities, natural and social sciences etc. The idea behind this is that everyone with a university education should have some minimal level of cultural sophistication.

    Then one has to complete a focused program in a particular area of study. This is called a major. These vary tremendously in how many units they require. The BS in Geology allows you to choose several concentrations. One is a pre-graduate study track that requires 72-75 units. These include the heavy duty calculus courses, a full dose of chemistry and physics, a senior thesis and lots of upper division geology courses. There is also a pre-secondary teaching option that requires 59-60 units. It still requires the calculus, chemistry and physics, but aims for breadth rather than depth. And there is an earth sciences option that only requires 49-50 units of major courses. This one drops the calculus requirement, substitutes easier physics and chemistry, and converts many of the difficult upper division courses from requirements into electives.

    Many other majors have concentrations based on specializations. For example, art history is one of the concentrations within the art major. Business has CIS , accounting , finance and general business concentrations. Communications has concentrations in things like electronic media and print journalism .

    OK, obviously there is a lot of variation in how many courses you will need to complete your major. If you choose an easy major with a not very demanding concentration, both the general ed and the major can be completed with lots of units left over. In those cases, a minor is usually required.

    A minor is kind of a mini-major. Like a major it is a focused set of courses in a single field, but it requires fewer courses to complete than a major. I guess a minor is roughly equivalent to an undergraduate certificate program.

    Minors are not really appropriate for every major. If you do that pre-graduate study geology option, 52-59 units of general ed plus 72-75 units of major courses total 124-134 units. In this case no minor is appropriate or required. But if you opt for the less demanding earth sciences option, they will require you do a minor as well, such as the 20 unit biology minor.

    OK, whether or not a minor is required will depend on the details of the particular major and option/concentration that you choose. You will need to read the catalog and see what it says.

    As to the choice of minor, should one be required, it is usually up to you. But it is usually a good idea to form some broader theme, and choose a minor that has some bearing on your major. If you major in political science , a philosophy minor might be good. A math minor might be good for a computer science major, or a chemistry minor for a biology degree.




  7. #7
    Bruce is offline Moderator
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    7,542

    Post

    Then, of course, we have the double-major, for professional students, masochists, and those whose true major is Career Avoidance

    Bruce, who minored in Communication quite by accident by taking a lot of comms electives.
    --
    Bruce Tait
    A.S. (Criminal Justice) Quincy College
    B.A. (Criminal Justice) Curry College
    M.A. (Criminal Justice) University of Massachusetts-Lowell
    M.A. (Forensic Psychology) Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology



    RA Criminal Justice Degrees by Distance Learning - Updated 3/16/08

    NA Criminal Justice Degrees by Distance Learning - Updated 3/20/08

  8. Advertisement

  9. #8
    Orson is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Denver, Colorado, USA
    Posts
    1,430

    Terminology--new "Majors" at TESC?

    As I understand the "Major" versus "Concentration" debate--apart from formal aspects (e.g., Excelsior/Regents understands that they cannot control the sequence of courses that traditional colleges often do in a "Major," i.e., you must complete College Algebra before being allowed to take Calculus), something that makes little sense for nontraditional adult learners--a degree Major means a large or substantial concentration in a particular discipline, whereas a minor simply means a lesser degree concentration.

    This usage is also followed in graduate programs where, for instance, one might have a Ph.D. in history with a minor (degree concentration) in political science --as a friend of mine does.


    Originally posted by levicoff


    First, let's clarify the terms as they are used in some programs . . .

    One of the largest nontraditional programs here in the U.S. is Thomas Edison State College (from which I earned my B.A.). At TESC, a concentration indicates a broad-area major, while a specialization indicates a focused major. (TESC does not use the terms major or minor at all.)
    [snip!]
    My understanding from the TESC 2002-3 literature before me indicates that this has changed.

    TESC now offers BA "Majors" in a variety of different liberal arts disciplines! This is a welcome surprise.

    On page 40 of their "Undergraduate Prospectus," the BA options are both wider and simpler to understand than the Excelsior product. One can have a Liberal Studies degree without specialization, although with the usual depth requirements; an "Area Concentration," similar to a humanities "major" or natural sciences "major," or a social sciences "major;" or else one may pursue a traditional Major (degree concentration) in the usual disciplines.

    Unusual for their list of "approved Major Areas of Study" for the BA include:
    Music, Religion, Theater Arts, Anthropology , Environmental Studies--and even Computer Science !

    This development is welcome because it shows reponsiveness to public demands and needs, as evidenced by requests on the board within the past month-and-a-half, for example. It also positions TESC to be more competitive, whateve their other recent problems have been.

    These are fine complements for their already extensive list of BS specializations.

    Only one thing: is "education " excepted as a major--or did I miss it somewhere?

    --Orson

  10. #9
    Mike Wallin is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    120

    Question Major and concentrations

    Any place offer a major in pizza consumption with a concentration in mushrooms and onions?:p

  11. #10
    drwetsch is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    Posts
    1,187

    Re: Major and concentrations

    Originally posted by Mike Wallin
    Any place offer a major in pizza consumption with a concentration in mushrooms and onions?:p
    I thought all traditional schools held this as a concentration for new freshman with a chance of continuing it as an undeclared double major if you choose. If you survive these studies you are able to move on and possibly graduate with another major. I wonder how many beer and pizza students have suffered the consequences and wound up on academic probation. :D

    John

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts




1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15