Most popular majors at GV

Hannah Lentz

Grand Valley State University offers over 200 areas of study, including 86 undergraduate majors and 33 graduate programs. Within these programs, there are several undergraduate majors that stand out as favorites among the students of GVSU.

The first of these favorites is the College of Education which currently has 1,378 students in their program. The college has a total of 178 freshman, 261 sophomores, 321 juniors and 618 seniors.

“Our education students want to make a difference in students’ lives, build strong relationships with students and inspire students to succeed,” said Elaine Collins, dean of the College of Education. “They hold the belief that they can make a difference by reaching one child, one classroom, one school building, one district, etc. at a time.”

As part of the 50th anniversary of the College of Education this year, the 50th committee asked current initial certification practicum students to “shout out” why they chose to pursue a career path in education (i.e. elementary, secondary, special education and graduate teacher certification). Students responded with various reasons including: “I want to make a difference in students’ lives;” “I want to inspire children/students to be the best they can be;” and “When I realized I could be a constant, stable, trustworthy, positive adult in a child’s life – sometimes one of just a very few such adults – and provide for them an environment where they felt safe to explore, learn and grow, I knew what I wanted, needed to do.”

To keep students engaged and provide opportunities for all, a new study abroad opportunity during the teacher assisting semester has been created in Ournese, Spain. Courses also provide the option of traditional or hybrid course formats to adapt to students’ individual needs. Additionally, several education courses are now being taught within several public schools and the College of Education will be offering an initial secondary graduate teacher certification completely online and conducting observations using video capabilities, GVSU and Blackboard.

“We are offering our students with the most relevant, current, research-based best practices, thus providing them with a strong foundation upon which they can build throughout their teaching careers,” Collins said.

Also popular is a major in exercise science. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is projected that a 29 percent increase in employment is expected from the 2008 to 2018 decade. This rate of employment is much faster than the national average for many other occupations. These factors can be attributed to an aging population, a rising obesity rate, a growing concern over health related issues and the need for qualified health and fitness professionals. In total, there are 1,055 GVSU students in this program with 191 freshman, 247 sophomores, 263 juniors and 354 seniors.

Psychology and biomedical science majors are also growing in popularity with 2,409 students total.