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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

The Big Q Blog

Books on a shelf

Books on a shelf

A Major Decision

A student wants to study history, but her parents want her to be an engineer.

Megha was excited to start college. During her summer orientation she started learning about all the possible majors at her university. She decided on history because it was something she was truly passionate about. In high school, she had been so inspired by her American history class that she was now reading books on the founding fathers just for pleasure. When she announces her decision to her parents, she is stunned at their reaction.They insist that she major in engineering.

Megha has been a good all-around student, so she can certainly handle the engineering curriculum, but the subject just isn't something she can see herself pursuing for four years--let alone for an entire career. In her parents' minds, however, engineering is practical and will guarantee her a job when she graduates, while history will not.Should Megha go against her parents' wishes and declare a history major?


Here are some resources that might be useful

College Board Majors and Career Central

Highest Paid Degrees

A Framework for Ethical Decision Making


 Photo by Ben Oh available under Attribution- Non Commercial- No Derivs License.

Ethics, Students