Allied Health and Health Sciences Majors
A major (also known as a major concentration or concentration) is a term for the specific group of courses that give you a basic knowledge of a field of study, which is in addition to your core curriculum. A major is a term most commonly applied to a program of study leading to a bachelor's degree. The College or School in which you are studying will define a framework for this specialized portion of your studies, including a certain number of required courses and a certain number of "elective" courses relevant to the major. The school will also define your general education or foundation education requirements. Some majors effectively define your full course of study while others allow you considerable latitude, both within your field of study and in their other courses.
Although many students know what they want to take as their major before entering a university or college, most institutions do not allow you to officially declare your major until your sophmore year so that you experience a broad range of courses that will help you choose the most appropriate major.
Some universities and colleges in the US ask you to list a major choice on your application for admission. If you are interested in an allied health or health sciences major that requires a lot of classes, or classes that are limited to students in that major, you may have to declare earlier than usual. As well, for some majors you will need to take specific courses (pre-requisites) during your first year before you can even be considered eligible for upper level courses. Some allied health and health sciences majors have limited enrollment so in fact you may even be required to apply to get the major you want, including attending an interview or writing an essay.
Associate's degrees can also have majors, for instance a Medical Laboratory Technician Associate of Applied Science (AAS). Certificate programs do not have majors as such. Rather, they carry a designation (for instance a Certificate in Diagnostic Imaging) which is much more specific than a degree title. Often, students in a community college or career college program--sometimes all the students in the department--will take a common set of core foundational courses in the first year (or term, in the case of shorter programs) which then enables them to pursue a specialized area of study. But generally, the field of study at the community college level is career-focused to the point where students do not take "elective" courses as they do for bachelor's degrees. Hence the designation of the certificate effectively stands in for the "major."
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