Creating Your Future: Majoring in Event Planning

Sometimes schools don't offer exactly what you need. So create what you need yourself by making your own degree program in event planning and management.

College Education
Career without passion is like a car without wheels, it won't get anywhere.

Event planning is a highly specialized field. With combined elements of business, public relations, social media techniques, technology, and even more liberal fields such as culinary arts, photography and interior design, it can be a challenging process finding an undergraduate major that touches on all of these fields.

Many traditional four-year schools offer majors in “tourism management” or “hospitality management.” For a future event planner, this may not be an ideal track. In many cases, these degrees are based on hotel and resort management, or parks and recreation, just touching on the event coordination techniques that many planners utilize on a daily basis. For that reason — consider creating your own major!

According to the Wall Street Journal (with data from CollegeBoard), there are more “than 900 four-year colleges and universities that allow students to develop their own programs of study with an advisor's help.” This means that you can develop your own major, incorporating classes from many different fields of study, to perfectly fit your career goals.

There are a few things, though, to keep in mind regarding creating your own program of study:

  • Creating your own major is a lot of hard work! It takes enthusiasm and an understanding of your future career field to know which classes out of the thousands offered to incorporate into your program. While you may want to take some classes just for fun, you have to consider whether these courses really will benefit you in your future career.
  • Also consider that even if you do create your own major, there are still requirements to follow and meet. Many colleges and universities offer the individualized major under a broader school such as general studies, which means you have to fulfill their requirements as well. This may include courses such as English composition, foreign language, or basic general studies courses, all of which are valuable to an event planner as well.
  • Generally, working through an individualized major program requires a lot of steps that aren't required in other majors. This may include things like approval of changes to your schedule, monthly check-in appointments with an advisor or board, or requirements that don't apply to pre-established majors.

There are a lot of great event planning education programs out there, and an undergraduate individualized major can be just a starting point for more education to come! The following are some colleges and universities that allow you to create your own major, with a description of the steps necessary as well as the application process!

  • Indiana University Bloomington offers the Individualized Major Program, where students create their own major via the assistance of a sponsor and academic advisement board.
  • The University of Minnesota offers the Inter-College Program, where students choose two or three areas of concentration from at least two of the University's colleges and combine them into one major program.
  • At Florida Southern University, you can Venture into the Adventure by creating a self-designed program. Working closely with a faculty board, students can combine many different concentrations to create a new, unique program of study.
  • At DePaul University, adult students age 24 and over can create a program of study for a Bachelor of Arts degree with an Individualized Focus Area. They can then work online or part-time to finish their degree in two or three years of study, rather than the traditional four!
Melissa is a senior at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. She created her own major for event planning and production, and is also completing minors in business and sociology. Melissa hopes to create a career in wedding planning or corporate meetings after graduation. Her passion for events, drive to succeed, and love of knowledge all help to facilitate her career goals!


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