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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

Jan. 26, 2015

New meta-majors help Northwest students choose academic majors

By Alexandra Mortallaro, media relations assistant

The Northwest Missouri State University Advisement Office is seeing success as it completes the first year of an initiative designed to assist students with making decisions about their academic major earlier in their college careers.

The concept of meta-majors, as they are known, is replacing the “undecided” moniker at Northwest. Within the initiative, a student who has not declared an academic major chooses one of four pathways – business, education, science or university studies – that provide opportunities to interact with peers, faculty and staff within a field and learn more about specific majors.

Data shows the number of “clearly undecided” students at Northwest has been reduced by 25 percent since the implementation of meta-majors last fall.

“Meta-majors provide pathways for students who are not 100 percent sure of their four-year academic plan,” Assistant Director of Student Advisement Brad Landhuis said. “Previously, there was a void and students were classified as deciding for too long. Now we are providing some structure to their first year to help them make those decisions earlier.”

The idea of meta-majors was born out of Northwest’s participation in the Missouri Completion Academy, a program organized by Complete College America and the Missouri Department of Higher Education, in 2013. The workshop helped select Northwest faculty and staff form strategies to increase retention, progression and completion rates at the University. Meta-majors proved crucial to helping students complete degrees, complete them on time, lower the total number of hours attempted and raise the number of hours completed and raise retention from year one to year two.

Within the model, a meta-major student may have an interest in business but is not sure whether finance, accounting, economics, marketing or management is the best fit. Thus, the business meta-major provides coursework specifically designed to fulfill any business major, including general education requirements that help the student make more informed decisions for his or her major.

The Advisement Assistance and Resource Office at Northwest offers a variety of services and resources to assist Northwest students with their academic questions and inform them of additional resources to help students determine a major.

For more information about meta-majors and advisement at Northwest, contact the Advisement Assistance and Resource Office at or 660.562.1695, or visit

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468