What Exactly are Adjunct Majors?

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a commission if you make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you.

Spread the love


Similar to the technological domain, the educational landscape is constantly evolving. The traditional concept of a singular major gives way to a more vigorous academic pursuit. This is where adjunct majors come in, providing a fascinating means for students to blend between different fields of study.

But what exactly are adjunct majors, and how do they differ from the conventional ones? This article will demystify the concept of adjunct majors, delve into their characteristics, and shed light on how Northwestern University’s (NU) programs incorporate them.

What is an Adjunct Major?What is an Adjunct Major?

What exactly are adjunct majors? An adjunct major is a specialized academic path that allows students to combine two or more fields of study. This will enable them to create a personalized and cohesive degree program. Unlike the traditional majors, they do not focus on one discipline. Instead, they offer a unique chance for students to explore connections between disciplines.

Hence, the adjusted majors meaning signifies the ability to bridge gaps between different fields of study. They allow people to create a holistic educational experience tailored to their specific needs and goals, depending on career aspirations.

Moreover, when you choose to follow an adjunct major, you must understand what that entails. You must complete another major independently, aside from your original major.

The best thing about an adjunct major is that it allows you to blend between different majors. For instance, you can combine computer science and psychology to explore the emerging field of human-computer interaction. You can also choose another combination, such as environmental science and economics, to tackle sustainability challenges through a socio-economic perspective.

The thing about adjunct majors is that it goes beyond a few courses. It requires you to think about the structure thoughtfully. You must carefully think of the combination you need that reflects your aspirations and future goals.

NU’s adjunct major program is an excellent example of this unique approach. At Northwestern University, students can pursue unique combinations such as “Music Theory and Cognition.” It allows them to examine music and how it interacts with movement and creativity.

How Do Adjunct Majors Differ from Regular Majors?

How Do Adjunct Majors Differ from Regular Majors?

Traditional majors offer a more focused and in-depth study approach. However, adjunct majors break the barriers between different studies. It allows people to have a unique approach to their studies. Below are some of the most critical ways adjunct majors differ from regular ones.

  • Interdisciplinary integration. The primary distinction is the integration of multiple disciplines. Unlike regular majors, adjunct majors encourage students to explore the intersectionality of different topics. By combining subjects, one develops critical thinking and more knowledge.
  • Flexibility and customization. Regular majors provide fixed curriculums. As for adjunct majors, they offer students more freedom to design their own pathways. They can select from various courses and departments to create their own curriculum.
  • Unique skill set. If you want to build your skillset, then consider an adjunct major. It equips you with a combination of expertise. Some examples include adaptability, creativity, and thinking from different perspectives.
  • Niche expertise. By exploring the intersection of different fields, adjunct majors enable students to develop niche expertise. This can allow you to graduate with a competitive edge in all industries. For example, an individual who studies data science and marketing will have a unique combination of analytical and marketing skills.
  • Innovation and research. Adjunct majors often foster more innovative approaches. Students are encouraged to explore some uncharted territories. This allows them to pinpoint connections between disciplines and contribute to various advancements. It also encourages more unique research outcomes.

But the distinctions extend beyond the skillsets. The adjunct major requirements involve a combination of electives, core courses, and experience. For instance, “Global Health Studies” requires you to complete 11 courses and a thesis. There is usually a specific sequence of courses you must take, as some are often prerequisites.

What are Some of the Most Popular Adjunct Majors at Northwestern?

What are Some of the Most Popular Adjunct Majors at Northwestern?

Many Northwestern majors are offered as adjunct majors. NU is known for its commitment to providing a more innovative study approach. It aims to captivate the interest of students. Hence, below we discuss the adjunct majors list at NU.

Music Cognition

The unique Music Cognition adjunct major combines both music and cognitive science. It allows you to explore the fascinating interconnected world of arts and the human mind. Students will study topics that include cognitive processes. Some subjects include music perception, the psychology of musical performance, and the impact of music on emotional well-being.

This interdisciplinary program attracts students who have a passion for both music and sciences. It enables them to understand music on a whole new level.

Environmental Policy and Culture

This adjunct major combines two essential aspects when environmental issues demand urgent attention. Environmental Policy and Culture allow people to merge between two vital components. Students explore the intersection between environmental science, policy-making, and effective communication.

The program provides you with the knowledge and skills needed to address complex environmental issues and advocate for sustainable practice through media, culture, and policy platforms.

International Studies Program

NU’s International Studies Program offers an interdisciplinary approach. You will explore both global issues and international relations. Students can choose between various specializations, such as Global Politics, International Economics, or Global Health. It encourages research, networking, and critical thinking. Graduates gain a comprehensive view of global dynamics.


NU’s Adjunct Major in Geography offers a very unique path. It combines both physical and human geography. Students learn about spatial relationships, landforms, and societal factors. The program emphasizes Geographic Information Systems (GIS). It includes it in core coursework and electives. Fieldwork and research are also offered. Graduates are prepared for careers in urban planning and geospatial analysis.

Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences

Another one of the popular adjunct major classes is the MMSS. It bridges the gap between mathematics and social sciences. It offers rigorous training in quantitative methods and applies them to social issues. Students will learn about mathematics and statistical skillsIt dives into data analysis, consulting, policy, and academia.

How to Choose a Second Major for an Adjunct Major?

How to Choose a Second Major for an Adjunct Major?

Some benefits of adjunct majors include flexibility, increased job opportunities, and networking opportunities. But how can you choose a second major as an adjunct major? Some of the top tips are listed below.

  • Start by reflecting on your interests and passions. Consider a major that stimulates and excites you.
  • Assess complementary fields that go alongside your major course of study. For example, if your adjunct major focuses on environmental science, a second major can be policy studies or economics.
  • Look into skills and knowledge that employers value. Researching future career opportunities will deter you from choosing a major you will regret later on.
  • Once you identify your potential second adjunct major, review the requirements for the program. Take note of the course you must complete to complete your academic plan.
  • Refer to academic guidance, as they can provide you with valuable advice. Advisors can inform you about any restrictions or prerequisites you need.
  • Evaluate the time and effort the program requires. Consider whether you must spend more money or time to graduate with the desired adjunct program.
  • Keep in mind that choosing a second major should allow for personal growth. Be aware of the value of pursuing subjects that genuinely interest you.

Wrapping Things Up: What Exactly are Adjunct Majors?

We discussed what is an adjunct in college, its benefits, and how to choose them. Pursuing an adjunct major offers students the chance to expand their academic knowledge. With customization and diverse skill sets, they offer students the opportunity to advance in the modern world.

You should consider embracing the interdisciplinary approach and versatile skills, as they open various doors to provide multiple career opportunities. They will enable you to positively impact their academic and professional path.

Picture of Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

If you found this helpful, help us out by sharing this post!


Readers of this post also read...

A Guide to Effective Study Group Strategies

A Guide to Effective Study Group Strategies

Perhaps you have exams coming up and you’re considering studying with your friends but aren’t sure how to kick things off. Crafting the ultimate study group involves making sure that the time you spend together...

Read More