Major Dilemma

For students seeking their perfect major, here’s a couple suggestions


Students enter university often feeling scared, nervous, overwhelmed or any combination thereof. Here are some majors to take the edge off.

Natural resources management

For students who aren’t sure about their future but know they like the outdoors, natural resources management might offer some insight into the future.

Because the field is interdisciplinary, students choose from one of seven major tracks within the school: biotic resources science, physical/earth resources science, sustainability, pollution control, social sciences, environmental communication or natural resources economics.

Shawn DeKeyser, the natural resources management program leader, said that “you can find something that fits” because of how interdisciplinary the program is.

For beginning students especially, the beginning courses in the program are all interdisciplinary in an effort to get students on the right track early.

This is also because the program believes that every student needs to have diverse experience for their future career. To ensure this, they also encourage summer jobs and internships in the field.

North Dakota State’s natural resources management program is unique as it is one of very few undergraduate programs in the field in the upper Midwest.

Some courses that students could expect to take if they do choose to pursue a major within the natural resources management program include watershed management, ecology courses and geographic systems management, among others.

For a capstone project, students go through the step by step process of creating a plan for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service where they can do a variety of things to preserve or improve systems.

“I developed the course years ago,” DeKeyser said, noting that the Wildlife Service takes students’ projects and later applies them to real life happenings.

Much of the major is hands on work, which can include piling into a van to collect soil and water samples to later analyze.

Public History

If students are curious about the world around them, the public history major offers new perspectives on what may appear like the same old same old.

Torie Jones, a collections assistant in the Germans and Russians Heritage Collection at the NDSU library and recent public history grad, said that she got into the major because she’s always loved history and “hearing stories to connect to a broader audience.”

As a public history major, students would be responsible for making history available to the public, according to Jones.

However, it’s not all research and museums, although that is part of it. The public history major also allows students to do things like create a documentary, teach and, of course, create museum exhibits.

Jones said the projects students do as their capstone are made available to the public. For her capstone project, Jones made a museum exhibit “that was up for like two years,” she said.

The field began in the 1960s/1970s as a way to manage museums. Today, however, Jones said it prepares people for the diversifying world.

Additionally, Jones highlighted the program’s attention to detail, which gives new perspectives on history and offers hands on programming.

“It’s really shaping my future,” Jones said. “Don’t let the history scare you.”

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