Interest Areas

Interest Areas are collections of academic majors that have related courses. Interest Areas cluster groups of degrees & certificates that are considered similar from a student’s perspective. In most cases, students will still declare a major in a specific discipline or department. However, the courses offered in that department will be more likely to be conceptually and structurally connected to related disciplines and areas of study under the same Interest Area. 

Potential Benefits of Interest Areas:

  • Students do not have to declare a major immediately and are at less of a risk of taking unnecessary units
  • Fewer excess units and less uncertainty about requirements for completion
  • Planned intentional exploration of careers and opportunities within a general field of study

Guided Pathways

Guided Pathways are clear roadmaps of coursework that students will need to complete to earn a degree or certificate. This includes both General Education as well as courses within the major. 

Potential Benefits of Guided Pathways:

  • Fewer wasted units
  • Intentional course sequence can lead to better rates of course completion
  • Students move through coursework with fewer obstacles and a clear understanding of the path

Problems with the Current Model:

  • More than half of students are not meeting their goals – only 49% of students successfully complete within 6 years!
  • Students are taking excess units (which costs money and slows them down) and are unclear on requirements to transfer
  • Students may exhaust access to Federal financial aid before or by the time students are able to transfer
  • “Cafeteria style” general education can seem irrelevant to students, undermining achievement of ISLOs