2017-06: Add Ability to Implement Meta Majors / Academic Pathways in Administrator 2.0

Request No.2017-06
Date of Request10.13.16
RequesterMichelle Pena, Bakersfield College
Application(s)Standard & IA
Section / Page

Majors /Administrator

Steering ApprovalApproved / Deferred to Admin 2.0
Steering Hearing DateDecember 6, 2016
Proposed Change to Download FileYes (store new data field Meta Major)
Proposed Change to Residency LogicNo

The concept of building filtering, or branching, into the Majors area of CCCApply has been on the development table for several years. Colleges have desperately wanted to filter down their long, alphabetical lists of majors and programs into more user-friendly, comprehensive categories (or pathways) for students. In 2016, the Guided Pathways Initiative was passed and has made tremendous momentum across the state and nationally.  Guided Pathways is now used interchangeably with meta majors relative to this project.

Problem / Issue

CCCApply Steering Committee is being asked to take our Ed Goal > Majors alignment implementation one step further and incorporate further branching by meta major.

Steering will review this request during the December 6, 2016 meeting but anticipate it will be approved for future development. Planting the seed now so that our Admin 2.0 developer can consider the effort to implement this level of branching as we build out the Majors module in 2.0.

NOTE: Patty will gather more details and clarification on 'meta majors' and what is meant by 'tiered question'.


The concept of Meta Majors is hot right now. 

from Michelle Pena, regarding Meta Majors:

<<I am being asked if a Meta Major can be added as a filter to the CCCApply Application for the major/program area. We are wanting a tiered question, first question shows Meta major and then the next question would display the majors in the Meta major that was selected.>>
<<To piggy back onto this topic, any ability to better organize the majors list would be nice. We have close to 200 majors now, with certificates, aa, as, and all the duplicate transfer specific degrees (UC and CSU).

I have also been approached several times by my Dean of Admissions and Records about meta majors, but responded that it is an issue that has not yet reached the steering committee (to my knowledge). Apparently, there is quite a bit of discussion on the topic of meta majors at the college level.>>

Meta-majors, Guided Pathways & CCCApply 

This prototype website showing how Bakersfield College wants o use Meta Majors:  http://www.bmoseley.com/cccapply/

Meta-majors, Guided Pathways & CCCApply, presented at Steering Committee Meeting - August 30, 2017

Proposed Solution

If Steering approves this request, the Administrator 2.0 development team will investigate the level of effort to do this work in the first version of the new tool. 

12.06.16:  The Steering Committee supports investigating how best to design the Majors module in the Administrator to provide more flexibility and functionality for the college.

"As an Admissions administrator, I want the option to introduce meta major categories (academic pathways) to our students on the admission application. In order to do this, we need a data field and table column for 'Meta Major' added to the database and Majors table (column) in the Administrator to allow us to align our majors/programs list to these high level categories."

Requirements will be gathered through a Steering sub-committee and added here and on linked confluence requirements page and JIRA tickets (new question, new data field, etc.)
* The text field should be 64 characters length and should not truncate in download.
* The text fields should be stored in the database and be available to download. Meta major field should be available in the Report center for reporting.

*The Apply development work required includes*:
Create new data field for "meta major" - 64 char text field, stored in DB, downloadable.
Add conditional question to Enrollment page for colleges that want to implement meta majors.
Implement functionality so that a question can be added to the application asking the student to first select the meta major category (high level order) first and then select the corresponding major or program that is aligedn/displayed.


*Meta Majors*
Meta majors are categories of interest designed to help students focus on academic pathways aligned with intended careers and transfer programs.

Meta-Major concept as a way to intentionally connect students’ career interests with
their academic paths. At the point of application, we introduce Meta-Majors and deepen students’ understanding throughout the induction process, New Student Orientation, first-term advising, and the New Student Experience course. Valencia’s math faculty built upon years of pilot work and created Math Pathways that made sense for students and connected them to their career and academic goals. As an institution, we want students to understand the connection between a chosen career path and academic courses. We’ll describe the process by which Student and Academic Affairs partnered to redesign
curriculum and services to achieve that goal.
See attached supporting documents / flyers / video links, etc.

Examples of Meta Majors Implementations

Check out the Academic Pathways conference brochure and minutes - it's full of really interesting information about implementing Meta Majors and Academic Pathways. Academic Pathways RTR.pdf

Meta-Majors Overview

The following Meta-Major Academic Pathways are intended for advising Florida College System associate degree seeking students of the gateway courses that are aligned with their intended academic and career goals.

  • Arts, Humanities, Communication and Design
  • Business
  • Education
  • Health Sciences
  • Industry/Manufacturing and Construction
  • Public Safety
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences and Human Services

Florida College System institutions shall use placement test results to determine the extent to which each student demonstrates sufficient communication and computation skills to indicate readiness for his or her chosen meta-major. Florida College System institutions shall counsel students into college credit courses as quickly as possible, with developmental education limited to that content needed for success in the meta-major. 


The idea of displaying or grouping majors under a specified "Meta Majors" appealed to the majority of the Committee members, but there was caution in jumping on anything too specific.

There are no standard set of Meta Majors; they would vary from college to college. Therefore the college would have to decide how their programs are grouped. Some colleges describe wanting to group their programs/majors by the School they belong to. 

The fact that there are no standards defined for Meta Majors, supports the decision to keep whatever we decide to develop very generic and not prescribe categories.  

<< from William Diehl >>

I know we can sort the majors list every which way in Administrator, but has the issue with the actual display in the application been resolved? Last I checked, no matter what sorting was used in Administrator, the actual application still displayed the majors in alphabetical order based on the major_code field… We’d love to see this resolved as we have something like 200 majors with all the transfer degrees, certificates, as/aa degrees offered in our district and sorting them on the application by major type not by major code would be best for us.



<from Rita Grogan, West Hills College>

 Click here to expand...

I came across this article about meta majors. My district has been looking at implementing metamajors to reduce student indecision when trying to determine their program of study.  For example, my district has two colleges.  Each of the two colleges has approximately 70+ degree and certificate programs.  Currently, CCCApply creates an alphabetical sort of programs for student selection (no matter how I have tried and it has been reported as an issue to them).  Since the admissions application is already quite long, some students become frustrated and pick one in the A’s or B’s rather than look individually at this long list.  Besides the benefit of more closely aligning the students actual educational objective and an ed plan, enrollment management and course scheduling will more accurately reflect students’ needs into the future if the student is in their correct program of study from the start.

The state of Florida has mandated meta majors in their legislation.  If you want to see examples of this in practice beyond the attached article, just good Florida meta majors.

Something to consider – I’d personally like to see CCCApply adopt a capability where we can cluster like programs (degrees and/or certificates) using a meta major.  This meta major may speak to career paths or other common themes.  For example, one meta major might be called Health Occupations.  Under this heading the student would then see 6-8 degree and certificate options to choose from rather than 70+ to comb through. >>

Another email from Rita Grogran, July 11, 2016>>

 Click here to expand...

I and another admissions person from this list has reported a bug in the option sorting to CCCApply about the arrangement you suggest in your email below.  No resolution to date.  The problem is that, as a CCCApply administrator, I can sort any way I want but when I post that sorted list, the production environment resorts it back into a pure A-Z list.  You provided a good temporary solution but it does not work that way in practice (unless recently fixed).

The meta major concept would allow the ability to identify career and educational paths specific to our certificate and degree offerings.  Our CACCRAO representatives on the CCCApply advisory board intend to bring this to the advisory’s attention for review and hopefully approval to move it forward as a recommendation.  I noted when I tried to contact the various list members directly that contact information for them is not on their web site.  Therefore, I also recommend that contact information availability is needed to contact those individuals to present new ideas and needs to the general committee or advisory council.

I realize that all technology improvements take time – however, this one should be looked at for viability and ease of use for all of the initiatives currently in play at the state level – it makes sense; it is more user friendly; it uses common language and not institutional jargon or formal degree/certificate titles – too many benefits to mention.

Supporting Documentation

  1. Here's a video from Florida College System that illustrates what meta majors are.


  1. Here's some information from CSU system on Meta Majors: