Discovering One's Major: Student Stories at FUS

Ticino Welcome - Franklin University Switzerland: pronti a iniziare il  nuovo anno accademico

*For prospective students that don’t fully understand the US university system:

A major is a specific subject a student specializes in during their time at university while a minor is typically pursued based on interests that don’t fall exactly under the major, but still are valuable to one’s education and personal interests.

Some abbreviations used:

SJS = Social Justice and Sustainability

HIS = History

IR = International relations

As a first-year student at FUS, knowing what college path is the best fit for me is definitely not my expertise. I’m currently between three majors (SJS/HIS/IR), two of which I’d possibly want to double major in. However, there’s a bit of planning that has to be done before any of that can be decided. Perhaps I’d want to minor in one instead! So yes, it’s quite complicated and I really need to put some more thought into it and in the meantime, get other’s advice. Fortunately, also getting to hear others’ personal interests has helped me get a better understanding of how someone chooses their major at FUS. 

I’ve collected the stories of a few FUS students from different levels of experience (a sophomore, junior, and a graduated student). If you’re in the same boat as me, are a prospecting FUS student, or simply are curious, the rest of this article may prove to be insightful! 

So in the order recently stated, here are their quoted answers to the simple questions they all were asked. 

The sentences stated in italics are little thoughts I added in so further clarification is added if needed!

Current Sophomore: Britton Morille

Some abbreviations used:

IR = International relations

AM = Academic mentor

POL = Political science

COM = Communications

1. What major(s) did you come into Franklin thinking about?

    “I came into Franklin thinking about IR.”

International relations is a sector of political science, in which there’s an emphasis on global institutions' functions and theory. It’s more of an interdisciplinary approach of POL.

2. What major are you settled on pursuing?

    “I am pursuing combined Poli Sci & Communications.”

3. Did any teachers or classes contribute a lot to your decision?

    “I did not know what I wanted to minor in. My AM encouraged me to try a COM course my first semester (COM 105) and I loved it, so I continued taking COM classes.”

The COM 105 course is Introduction to Communications and Media Studies, which I assume does an overview of what Communications at FUS entails.

4. What aspect influenced your final decision the most? (outside or inside of Franklin)

    “Looking at the academic plans, I wanted to continue to take more COM classes than just the ones necessary for the minor. I had also taken enough POL classes that I thought I should continue that. So for me, it made the most sense to make it a combined major.”

Extra: Britton is also pursuing a minor in Italian Studies.

Britton’s interest in Italian is apparent in how she took Italian 200 during the summer of her freshman year. She was to get ahead and now is an Italian tutor for Italian 101.


Current Junior: Grace Bacon 

Some abbreviations used:

IR = International Relations

CLCS = Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies

1. What major(s) did you come into Franklin thinking about?

    “I came in very interested in IR because what better place to get a global experience of international relations than in Switzerland and a community like Franklin?”

2. What major are you settled on pursuing?

    “In the end, my interest in CLCS won out because I realized my interests resided in the cultural aspect. I love CLCS because it is the reason for everything. It is all about listening to and reflecting on rather than speaking for or working towards.”

3. Did any teachers/classes contribute a lot to your decision?

“Honestly, for me, the professors here were enormously influential in helping me decide where I wanted to challenge my energy. Professor Wiedmer and Professor Roy challenged the value of my own voice and encouraged me to claim a space in the classroom and in the world where I could speak without the fear of being wrong or without the limitations of anyone's expectations.”

4. What aspect influenced your final decision the most? (outside or inside of Franklin)

    "In all frankness, the generosity of time and willingness to share their experience (those of professors previously stated!) helped me find a path that galvanized me. So, for me, it was the personal relationships and conversation after conversation after conversation (as they can attest) with my professors that grew my love for CLCS."

Extra: Grace is also pursuing a minor in Post-Colonial studies and perhaps adding on a minor in Art History.

Professor Kate Roy has an emphasis in Post-Colonial studies in CLCS, so it’s clear that her way of teaching has fit well with Grace’s way of learning. Art history is another interest of Grace’s, which she liked both in high school and here at FUS.

Graduated Senior: Daniela Baiardi, FUS ‘20

Some abbreviations used:

AHT: Art history and visual culture

VCA: Visual communications

STA: Studio art

1. What major(s) did you come into Franklin thinking about?

    “I came in thinking about art history and/or IR.”

2. What major are you settled on pursuing?

    “I pursued a double major in AHT/ VCA ( emphasis in STA)”

3. Did any teachers/classes contribute a lot to your decision?

    “The intro drawing class for VCA. Intro AHT 103, especially when talking about feminist. Professor Zdanski, Professor Gee and Professor Fassl.”

4. What aspect influenced your final decision the most? (outside or inside of Franklin)

    “Honors tutorials really helped me make my choice because I could gain deeper knowledge about a subject in AHT(art history and visual culture) or STA”

Honors Tutorials are an addition to regular 200 level classes, where a student works individually with their Professor to add more coursework/activities for learning/hours of class in exchange for an “honors” experience in the class.

Extra: Daniela also pursued a minor in media productions and publishing during her time at FUS. 

Daniela really enjoyed the art-based creative classes at FUS and has chosen them as her focus instead of politics. She’s also open to answering questions for anyone that is thinking about pursuing a similar route. Reach out by IG (@invisible.peace) if you are interested!

Final thoughts

There’s a lot of flexibility at the US/Swiss institution we call our second home, as clearly shown before! Some advice to me and you is to have an open heart and mind in college, as all sorts of change is perfectly normal. It’s important to pursue your interests, as you are the salesperson of your major and minor(s), and having a life outside of school is extremely important as well. Your journey in college is expected to shift in mindset, so enjoy the ride! 

Also, think about it. Would you want someone to hire you simply based on your major or because you loved what you did? It’s alright to disagree, but let that be a thought to process. Well, that's my two cents. Most importantly though, a big thank you to the three ladies who helped me with this blog, I owe it all to their contributions.

To our next meet-up via the web!

Ci vediamo presto!

(We will see each other soon),



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