Going to college prepares you for adulthood and the real world. A major part of college is exploration — the chance to pursue subjects that you are interested in until you can finally narrow down your focus. This was the thing I was most looking forward to when coming to college. But once I got to college, I was essentially limited to one area of study — my major. I found out that the subject I wanted to pursue wasn’t offered as a minor.
Many students wonder about majoring in multiple subjects. At most universities, if you have multiple interests, you can add on another area of study to your degree. When I came to Stony Brook University, I was hoping that would be an option for me.
Sociology is a subject that I have wanted to explore for some time and trying to pursue it has been difficult. My current major, journalism, has a lot of coursework that comes along with it, and trying to add another subject would be very overwhelming. Adding sociology as a minor seemed like the best option, but after talking to advisors and exploring SBU’s academic programs — I realized that was not an option.
The lack of options isn’t a coincidence. Over the last year, a large portion of Stony Brook’s faculty was cut. The humanities department was the most affected, and the entire College of Arts and Sciences felt the loss. As a result, there aren’t enough professors to teach certain subjects like history. This means that all of the social sciences classes, including sociology, don’t have enough resources to provide more classes for their students.
Most schools have psychology and sociology available as minors, but Stony Brook does not. It prides itself on being a premier research university, yet it doesn’t provide two of the most universal subjects of study as minors.
There aren’t enough options for students, plain and simple. We should be able to pursue what we want without having to declare these subjects as majors and adding the stress of wondering if they will fit in our already hectic schedules. Instead of cutting specific programs, Stony Brook should focus on establishing itself as more than just a STEM school, and focus on its ever-growing population of students in other programs like the humanities and social sciences. That way, it will be more well rounded and can cater to more interests.
“I don’t think Stony Brook has a lot of minors available,” Nikky Morett, a sophomore journalism major, said. Popular programs such as sociology and the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) should be more widely available for students in non-science related majors.
Senior journalism major, James Bowen, echoed this sentiment as well. “For someone — particularly myself — interested in weather, the meteorology major makes this dream achievable. A less intense minor would level the playing field for people interested in participating in [SoMAS], but not necessarily pursue a career in the meteorological field.” For students like Bowen, the driving factor for adding on a minor is curiosity and a willingness to learn. The purpose of adding a minor to a degree is to be able to learn more about a subject you’re interested in without the commitment required of your major.
Allocating funding for programs that were previously cut will help expand currently struggling programs. This can be done by using some of the endowment money for funding or hosting events with the purpose of raising money for humanities and other programs. Lastly, hiring more staff will make more class options available to students, which will increase options for students. These are just some solutions that can help increase the number of programs at Stony Brook. Having more minor options would be a major bonus for many students.