The science-business major, an interdisciplinary program that included aspects of the curricula from both the Mendoza College of Business and the College of Science, will no longer be available to those who have not already declared the major beginning in fall 2023.
Interdisciplinary majors are intended to allow students to gain from studying in more than one of Notre Dame’s six colleges. The science-business major had been offered by the University for around 40 years, allowing students to delve into the world of business while also preparing them for a career in healthcare.
The major intended to qualify the student to enter an MBA program, as well as healthcare professional education such as medical school, dental school, public health or health care administration. The curriculum of the major was varied, allowing students to get the full experience of an interdisciplinary study.
“The major serves a group of students who seek careers in STEM-aligned fields like consulting, the petrochemical and pharmaceutical industries and healthcare administration. It also serves some preprofessional students who want to gain valuable expertise in the business of running their own practices once they finish medical or dental school,” said Dan Gezelter, associate dean for undergraduate studies, in an email. “Our science-business graduates have also gone on to law school, graduate school, the nonprofit sector, directly into careers in industry and have even built their own businesses.”
John Nash, a junior in the science-business major, said that the program served his interests in both areas.
“I really liked the major, I think it’s a really good combination of two things that I really care about,” Nash said. “And I wanted to have an experience with both because I feel it’s always good to have a multidisciplinary course load.”
In its place, the College of Business will offer a minor of five courses on the foundation of business, open to students in the College of Science. The minor will provide students a foundational education in business while allowing them to still pursue a career in healthcare.
“The science-business major provides an excellent education on the foundations of business, but restructuring as a primary science major plus the new minor will make this education more broadly available to students with a primary interest in one of the main scientific disciplines,” Gezelter said in an email.
Nash said he doesn’t believe the minor will foster the same sense of community as the major.
“There isn’t a course for science-business kids. You take science classes and you take business classes, so I understand where they’re coming from,” Nash said. “I don’t necessarily think it would be too different, but it is nice to kind of meet other kids in the science-business program and know that we all kind of have similar interests. So I definitely think that kind of community would go away.”
Geltzer said that the change will resolve the administrative challenges of a cross-college program.
“Relying on two different colleges to provide the required classes for a major is always a challenge,” Gezelter said in an email. “The College of Business wants to oversee their own academic programs and their own classes and wants to offer a distinct credential for Notre Dame students.”
Gezelter said that the program’s interdisciplinary hiring potential would not end with the major.
“The science-business name helped recruiters find students who had a broad interdisciplinary training in science as well as a firm foundation in business,” Gezelter said in an email. “That recruiting edge may be missing for future classes, but the top-notch training in the sciences and in business will remain for students who combine one of the new minors with a primary major in science.”
Nash said he has been able to advance his career through his science-business major.
“I’m actually interning at DaVita healthcare next summer, which is a healthcare consulting firm that works in kidney care,” Nash said. “And they said that my major, science-business, really stood out to them because it’s not something a lot of other universities offer and they thought it was super unique and really played into what their company is all about.”
The science-business major as students once knew it is unlikely to return to Notre Dame, but Gezelter said there is hope for a new major with similar tenets.
“Once we have approval to sunset the major, it is not likely to come back,” Gezelter said in an email. “The science dean’s office is currently looking at options for a new interdisciplinary science major that will share many of the strengths of the Science-Business major.”