By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant
At SUNY Oswego, several majors have grown quickly in recent years.
Scott Furlong, provost and vice president for academic affairs, said that electrical and computer engineering, started a few years ago, has increased in popularity rapidly.
“We didn’t have an engineering degree before,” Furlong said. “We knew there was a desire and a need there that we think we’re filling, not just locally, but in a number of places from where we’re recruiting students, such as Downstate.”
The major’s growth reflects the cultural shift toward STEM fields. The degree could segue into employment in many different industries.
Another motif, health and wellness, is reflected in the wellness management major. It represents another major that could lead to a wide array of career options.
Majoring in human development could result in seeking further education in counseling, social work or therapy or a career where interpersonal skills shine.
“Many are in communications, which teaches applicable skills across a large number of areas, from broadcasting, organizational communications and marketing,” Furlong said. “A lot of communication majors do multiple tracks within in that major.”
Furlong said that computer science has also grown. Though a long-term trend, interest in this field continues to increase because nearly every industry requires knowledgeable people.
“There continues to be jobs in the field and this interests quite a lot of young adults who have grown up in the computer age through gaming or in other areas,” Furlong said. “They see it as something they want to continue to study in a more formalized way.”
While each of these majors offers numerous employment possibilities, Furlong is also a big believer in the general liberal arts background.
“It is really preparing students for multiple jobs — jobs we don’t even know exist yet,” he said. “They have flexibility to evolve as life changes.”
Cayuga Community College
At Cayuga Community College, a few majors have experienced a recent growth spurt. Andrew Poole, public and media relations associate for Cayuga, said that media, arts and psychology have increased in popularity.
“Many students are interested in digital careers in film and video because of the increase in online streaming services and there’s a corresponding demand for people trained to work in that industry,” Poole said.
He said that students in the arts gravitate toward technology-related programs, which includes digital imaging, animation, photography and related fields.
“Students are gaining experience in these skills earlier in life, including using Photoshop in earlier school grades and students having access to good cameras on their cell phones,” Poole said. “That familiarity is leading to career interests when they arrive at Cayuga.”
The interest in psychology offers a segue into careers in mental health, human services and social work.