Default major

Sara Saperstein told me that at Reed, students who don't know what major they are often become psychology majors. Partly as a result of this, the psychology major isn't as challenging or as interesting as it should be. Sara is no longer a psychology major.

At Mudd, engineering is the (unofficial) default major. Engineering is also the most difficult major in terms of course load: it has difficult labs, 3 semesters of Clinic, and allows students only 1 free elective for their entire 4 years. I don't know why it's the default major despite being so hard.

Do other colleges have "default majors"?

3 Responses to “Default major”

  1. erjika Says:

    here at UCSD, all the failed bio majors (re: half the people who enter as bio majors and then find out what lower division chem and/or organic chem are really like, re: what may happen to me within the next few weeks) go into communications. Communications is also the general dumping ground for anyone who’s undecided and is vaguely sociable.

    btw, thanks for the comics linky stuff. <3

  2. me Says:

    At Scripps it’s also psychology. And English to some extent.

  3. Micah Says:

    At Caltech it was physics, despite pretty much the same trend you describe, physics being one of the hardest majors at Tech. Off the top of my head, I can think of more physics majors who burned out than students in any other major. Some took a semester off, some switched to other majors (me!). I think we just wanted to be like Feynman.