By Sascha Raiyn
Liberal arts majors may soon be able to gain more security in the job market and a better chance at winning an argument with their parents.
This fall the University of Michigan-Dearborn will offer a second major to some liberal arts students – business studies. The major is a product of a collaboration between the College of Arts, Sciences and Letters and the College of Business.
Susan Wells, the undergraduate program director for the College of Business said the second major is designed to give liberal arts students the opportunity to pursue their passions while gaining the skills and credentials to compete for a wider range of jobs. Students will supplement their liberal arts education with training in business and management.
“It gives them the opportunities in the administrative end of whatever they pursue,” Wells said. “It’s taking it to the next level.”
This kind of program is rare Wells said. When the colleges were researching it they only found three other schools that offer something similar.
“The broad training and wide exposure from liberal arts and humanities, coupled with the practical skills offered through business, is a very powerful combination,” Martin Hershock, the dean of CASL told UM-Dearborn’s reporter.
Hershock said the second major gives students and potential employers the chance to “break out of the box a bit.”
Hershock said the communication, research and critical thinking skills developed in the liberal arts could add a new dimension when applied to traditional business positions.
He also said he is finding that combining the two areas is providing a sense of comfort to both parents and students. He spoke about the new business studies second major at a recent event for incoming students.
“As I was talking to a student who was undecided and her mother, their eyes lit up when I mentioned business studies,” he said. “The mom immediately saw a tangible path to a career. The student saw something that would appease her parents and still allow her to focus on her passion.”
Students can choose to follow one of four tracks: communications, economics, psychology or general business.
“That really sets it apart from other schools,” Wells said.
Business Studies is a second major, not a degree. Students can’t choose it alone. It will be offered at UM-Dearborn beginning in the fall of 2015.