Picking a major is one of the most important decisions a new student makes when they come to college and often one of the most stressful. While some students know what they want to do when getting to their respective university, not everyone knows what they should study. Of course, some people change their major all the time. Being limited to just one thing can be daunting, so the challenge of choosing the right major can be that much more difficult. 

UM offers many great majors and programs, but there are a few new programs that show promise. 

While no new majors will be offered during the 2019-2020 academic year, a computer science major will be offered beginning next fall.  

The College of Education is currently working on approval for certification and master’s programs as well, according to Amanda Fox, UM’s registrar. 

“When a department or program is looking to create a new major or minor, they have to survey a target group of students so they know that there is an interest,” said Fox. “Once the semester starts, and they have a chance to advertise, I think the potential the new programs will grow. Since there are currently 30 computer informatics majors at UM, I think there is a lot of potential for growth for computer science too,” said Fox. 

Students who are looking into such fields may also want to know their options after graduation. There are several niches in the computer science field, such as computer programming or web development or software engineer. Employment of computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 13% from 2016 to 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). 

According to the BLS, approximately 40,000 people are currently employed in computer and mathematics fields in Alabama. In the Birmingham-Hoover area, 12,000 are employed in those fields. The annual average income for these jobs is roughly $80,000 per year as of May 2017. 

Minors offered this year include computer informatics, computer science and marketing. A new digital filmmaking minor will include a certification option as well. There are few students declared with such minors as of right now.  

“I think the changes in technology and as society becomes more technologically involved, these majors make sense. I hope that it doesn’t change the liberal arts mission of the University. Employers want to hire trainable people, who have good communication skills,” said Dr. Ruth Truss, interim dean of UM’s College of Arts and Sciences. “Schools are probably going to have to change to potential students’ needs, but I hope Montevallo continues to build on its foundation.” 

According to Truss, a peace and justice studies minor is also in the works, and hopefully will be offered next fall. 

If students are interested in any of the new up and coming programs, they can discuss it with their faculty advisor or contact the registrar’s office, which is located upstairs in Palmer Hall.