Choosing a Major

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Mixmaestro, Jun 24, 2009.

  1. Mixmaestro

    Mixmaestro Member

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    I know I'm thinking way ahead. Perhaps too far ahead.
    Can anyone describe the majors at the Academy?
    I'm interested in Military Strategic Studies and Ops Research, to be exact.
    Perhaps an alumnus could elaborate on the two disciplines?
     
  2. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Raimius is an MSS type (though I think he is military history though) and eagle is ops research. I'm sure they'll chime in soon. ;)
     
  3. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    You can go on the AFA site find the majors, and the course requirements. Please remember that you will still have core engineering/mathematic course requirements. Don't fall into the lull that it will be like a typical university environment where you will be taking more major directed courses and opt to take the easy math/science core requirements.(astronomy and differential math or stats)

    I suggest this every yr. Look at the required classes and make sure that they are courses that not only appeal to you, but you feel you have the foundation under your belt. If not review your sr yr class schedule and get any pre-reqs that you will need under your belt.

    Many applicants/candidates state Math is my poor subject (usually when they acknowledge their SAT), yet are unaware that their academic course load will require a strength in math and science...that would be why it is called the little engineering school in the rockies!
     
  4. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    I'm Military History. There are a few differences between mil history and MSS. MSS is more theory and application, while mil history is more analysis.

    MSS works with theory and application of military theories. The major is not extremely difficult, but does have a decent amount of writing. Most of the people in the major really seem to enjoy it. The department also does some interesting classes, and has the simulators here.
     
  5. emily

    emily New Member

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    Question: If you intend to major in a foreign language, could you get by with a slightly lower than median math and science ACT score?
     
  6. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    You don't HAVE to claim a major until your C2C year. (Junior Year). As such, your major means absolutely NOTHING to the academy. Whether you want a major in Aeronautical Engineering, History, Chemical Engineering, Spanish, or Basket Weaving; you are still competing EXACTLY the same with everyone else to get into the academy. Matter of fact, there isn't even a specific place on the application; other than if you write it in one of your essays; where you even mention claiming a major in school or what you'd like your career to be. The academy's web site lists the minimum SAT/ACT scores you need to be considered qualified. Remember however; there's a BIG difference between QUALIFIED and COMPETITIVE. I.e. the average GPA of those entering for last year's class of 2012 in the air force academy was a 3.85. That is definitely not the MINIMUM QUALIFIED. So, unofficially, I recommend that you need to see around a 1900 (Total SAT score - 600's each test) or ACT composite of around >=29 to be "COMPETITIVE". It doesn't matter what you want to be in the military. They don't even consider that up front. good luck. mike....
     
  7. emily

    emily New Member

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    Thank you for the info, CC. Does it count against you if you choose a major earlier than that, though?
     
  8. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    No, and I'd argue that it helps. It allows you to plan your years better and get into major's classes sooner. While not required, I'd recommend it, some majors even require it.
     
  9. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Hornet is absolutely correct. While it's not required, it is definitely beneficial. Many cadets; mine included; declared his major in the 2nd semester of C4C (Freshman) year. That made figuring out classes for the 2nd-4th years a lot easier.

    Also; in case you were going to ask, or someone else; you DON'T have to have majors in aeronautics or similar to be a pilot. A close friend of mine; just retired and his last assignment was right there at the academy; was a C-5 pilot (Among many other planes); and his degree was in Behavioral Science (AKA Psychology). Now, if you'd like to get into the hard sciences in grad school; e.g. medical, biology, forensics, etc... then you should be looking at an undergraduate major in the sciences. I.e. A degree in History from the air force academy would be real difficult to get into Med School.

    Also; listen to Hornet. Hornet knows the academy inside and out. One of the most knowledgeable contributors on this forum. Best of luck to you.
     
  10. Mixmaestro

    Mixmaestro Member

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    I understand the core is very large, and actually love math and engineering. But how many classes can be devoted to a major per year? Do you get more non-core classes as a second and first class cadet? Do some majors substitute core classes for more advanced ones of the same topic?
    Sorry about having so many questions.
     
  11. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Lets put it this way. You say what your major is; (Except in your C4C year); and the academy TELLS you what classes you'll take. If you want to add a minor; they'll tell you the classes you'll take. As far as elective type classes, or classes you'd LIKE to take; Hornet or CadCandMateus can answer that better.
     
  12. Mixmaestro

    Mixmaestro Member

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    Thanks, that clears things up a bit. Sounds like fun.
     
  13. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Short answer: yes. lol Here we go:

    Depends! All answers tend to look like this. If you validate a large number of classes coming in, the earlier/more majors you can start on early. While I'll get to the third question more later, yes, your core will also count (can't be a chem major without some freshman level chem!). I started my major's courses my first semester in a way. I took analytical chem with everyone that validated the first two semesters (freshman) chem. To better answer the question, I started my REAL major's courses (organic chem) my sophomore year. I had two classes of each during each semester. As a junior I had 1 major's course first semester and 3 the second. As a firstie next year, I will have 2 major's courses and 2 core followed by 4 major's and 2 core the next semester. I validated 27 hours coming in which made starting my major's courses easier and doing my minor at the same time easier (Japanese). But, typically most people will start their major's courses by sophomore year (or the next semester after declaring if they wait till 3 dig year to declare).

    Yes. For example, I took Electrical engineering 215, which is the course for fuzzy and non-engineering majors. 281 is for engineering majors. For many of the engineering courses, there is a lower level for the fuzzy majors and a higher level for the technical and/or specific majors. I took 'big' organic chemistry vs 'little' organic for biology majors.


    I shotgunned with a lot of info here. If there is something you do not understand or need clarification on, please ask away!
     
  14. Mixmaestro

    Mixmaestro Member

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    You spoke about validating courses. How exactly is this done? How do you apply to validate some courses? I have a pre-engineering department at my school which gives college credit for most of its classes, but they are all for Purdue University. Can these be transferred, to validate some engineering classes?
     
  15. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Though Purdue is a rockin' school (my dad went there and it was my back-up), those credits mean nothing. Most validation is done by a test before BCT (language only), during BCT (like chem, comp sci, math), and after BCT (physics). Some courses can be validated with high AP/IB scores like Physics (C test), Biology, and English.
     
  16. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

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    We do not have language majors.
     

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