The Recourse for Major Woes

Those Who Are Forced to Leave Their Major Are Not Out of Options

Kamran Yunus/TBL Illustration

Peter Duffy

Nothing is worse than being told you can’t do something. When I was kid, someone told me that I would never go to college. After hearing that, I was determined to prove them wrong.

Determination is a common characteristic of Gauchos, but it is hard to keep that alive when a department shuts the door on you. Missing a couple points on an exam does not truly represent the mean of your knowledge of a subject, yet the departments are unyielding, so you are forced to find something else. Just because you have to find something else does not mean that you have to give up on your fascination for the subject.

Some classes at the University of California, Santa Barbara have become notorious among students for being rigorous and unfair. Economics 10A is one of these classes because it is the gateway into the economics and economics with accounting majors. The economics series has caused many people grief due to a lean pass rate and unforgiving class curves. The major requirement for this series is 2.85 GPA.

Many students do not pass Econ 10A and are left reeling without a major. Some of these students have secured internships in economic and accounting fields; they face termination of their internships. I believe it is important to go after something that really interests you, and if that is economics or accounting, there is still hope. There are other options for students who want to attend economics or business classes but are unable to major in economics.

UCSB offers classes in business and accounting through an extension program called the Strategic Business Program, which is not a part of the UC curriculum. The extension program offers certificates in accounting and business.

This is a good alternative way to pursue accounting outside of the major, and if a student already has an internship in economics or accounting, this could be a possible solution to keeping your internship. Taking these classes would open up many jobs in the business and accounting fields. The classes would also prepare you for the Certified Public Accountant Examination.

Some people might say that it is too much extra work and too costly. While it would be a bit of extra work, the benefits are well worth it after all since it is only one extra class per quarter. The accounting program requires six classes in accounting, and it costs $3,090.  While the cost of a class is less than a weekend at Coachella, it is still a hefty investment, but you would be able to cover that cost and then some with a summer internship in accounting.

There are other majors that work in conjunction with the economics department. Financial mathematics is a major within the statistics department that works with the economics and mathematics department. Majoring in financial mathematics would allow students to take upper division economics classes without being an economics major. Pre-majors in financial mathematics have to take more classes and have a lower entry GPA than economic pre-majors.

The undergraduate economic and calculus series are needed for the pre-major, and the GPA requirement is 2.5. This might not be a good option for students who don’t enjoy math, as they will have to drudge through lots math and statistics courses. But financial math has some perks, like working as an actuary.

If math really is not for you, there are business classes that you can take for lower and upper division credits. The Technology Management Program offers courses in entrepreneurship and business strategy. The program offers a certificate if you take all required classes from UCSB and UCSB Extension, and the cost of this program is $1250.

This is a great option if you want a class with a lot of real world applications taught by teachers who have had a lot of business experience. Entrepreneurship is great way to connect with and meet people.

There are a ton of great opportunities to find your niche outside of the economics major, so if find yourself fretting about what to do next, just know that you don’t have to give up on your interests.