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The Pros and Cons of an Integrative Major

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

When I first started college, I was so sure that I wanted to study English. But once I got into my degree, I realized that English wasn’t quite the right fit. Plus, I started a job that made me realize that I’m interested in so many different fields of study. I spoke with an advisor and made the decision to change my major to integrative studies. 

Since starting that program, I’ve learned that there are pros and cons to dividing one major into three. It has absolutely worked for me and I don’t regret the change, but there are things I’ve learned that people should consider when deciding if an integrative program would fit them. 

Fields that Fit You

The biggest benefit of an integrative major is that you can pick fields that match your interests and professional goals. Maybe what you want to do doesn’t fit neatly into one major and you could benefit from a mix of classes. Maybe you have multiple interests that you want to explore and combine. Whatever the reason may be, being able to learn from multiple fields allows you to have many different perspectives and practical skills. 

I chose journalism, communications, and digital media studies because I’m interested in writing and design for digital and social media. I also considered marketing and technical writing. Other combinations I’ve seen include:

  • Sociology, English, and political science
  • Business, communications, and English
  • Psychology, business, and communications

At UNT, you can choose to make an undergraduate certificate or minor one of your fields. My digital media studies field is also a certification that I will get along with my degree. 

Even with an integrative major, you can still have minors. If there are other fields you were considering that didn’t quite make the cut or other interests you have that weren’t major material, you can still study them as a minor. 

Saving Time and Money

One of the other benefits of an integrative major is that it saves you time and money. If you were to double major, that would mean more classes to take, more time to get a degree, and more money you would have to spend. With your integrative fields, you can combine classes how you want (with some limitations as described in the next section) and you don’t have to worry about all the required hours that you would have to take for each major. 

This was a huge benefit for me as someone who came in with a lot of dual credit hours from high school. I already had one year of my degree out of the way so I knew I would be done in three years or less when I started college. If I had chosen a double major, I would have stayed in college longer and gone way over 120 hours. 

Field Limitations

My biggest problem with this program (at least at UNT) is that not all majors can become integrative fields and not all fields allow integrative students to take any classes they need. 

When I was first selecting my fields, I wanted to choose media arts. I knew that the visual and writing skills that students learn in that program would be fantastic for me as someone who is interested in working with digital and social media. However, I was told that there is no option for that. Media arts at our university is closed off to anyone who has not declared it as a major. There isn’t even an option for a minor. The only way that I have been able to take ONE media arts class was through a digital media studies certificate which became one of my fields. I faced the same issue when I was considering graphic design.

When I chose journalism as a field, I was given a one-page list of classes that I was allowed to take. No exceptions. There were also some classes that I needed to get permission to take. Many of these classes were very useful for me and I have enjoyed taking them, but there were also so many that would be useful for me that I was barred from. For example, I can take introductory PR courses but not any writing or campaigns courses. 

It’s important that if you’re considering an integrative major you check with an advisor about how some of your possible fields might be limited or not allowed at all. It has worked out for me and many others, but if you need certain classes or fields for the career you want, picking one major or a double major might be a better option. 

I'm passionate about writing, books, tattoos, art, feminism, true crime podcasts, and more. Integrative studies major (Communications, Digital Media, Journalism).
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