Philosophy majors may finally be off the hook. Some students are taking up a major that will be sure to confound parents who are shelling out thousands for their kids' college educations: Social media. OMG!
Alas, this does not mean that everyone obsessed with their Facebook status updates is now eligible for an advanced degree.
But some students will be able to major in a new multidisciplinary degree at Newberry College in Newberry, South Carolina. Surfaced by Bizjournals, the degree, as reported by the local Columbia, South Carolina, station WACH FOX 57, is apparently one of the first of its kind.
For those who think it's all Foursquare check-ins and Tumblr photos of cats, think again. "It's a blended major of graphic design, communications, business and marketing, psychology, and statistics," Newberry College's Associate Professor Tania Sosiak told the station.
It's also a smart way to entice entrepreneurial-minded students to stay in school. (And a great excuse to tell parents all those texts and tweets aren't a waste of time--they're homework.)
But this may be one small step to stem the tide of those heading out of the classroom and into the start-up garage.
Famously, the co-founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, started his business while at Harvard, and left to run it. Ditto Bill Gates, who left Harvard to start Microsoft.
The late Apple CEO Steve Jobs also had no use for school. As he famously said when he gave the commencement address at Stanford University, "I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made."
Now PayPal founder Peter Thiel is helping that decision along with an offer some students can't refuse: $100,000 to become college dropouts--and start their own businesses.
A recent story in the New York Times picked up on this trend, documenting students who "just say no" to college.
The Times article quotes Benjamin Goering, who dropped out of the University of Kansas to get a job at a software company in San Francisco. He said, "Education isn't a four-year program. It's a mind-set."
For those who choose to get their education the traditional way with a nontraditional degree, there are drawbacks.
As a commenter on the Bizjournal story, Mitchell Morgan wrote, "Can I borrow $50,000 for a college degree so I can tweet my whines about my unpayable student loan debt from my parents' basement?"
The new major will be offered starting in August 2013.
- Newberry College