Major in a minute: Joint major in business and environment

Illustrated by Irene Lo

Written by: Elise Burgert

Do you find school boring? Facts mundane? The truth . . . too simple?

If so, apply to one of the Oxymoronic Joint Majors offered by SFU! As a student in my last year of a business and environment Joint Major, I cannot quite describe just how fun it is.

What is an Oxymoronic Joint Major?

To take a joint major, you complete half of one major and half of another, and then take whichever of the two degrees gives you fancier letters to put behind your name. The programs do not need to make sense together on a conceptual level to qualify as a joint major.

I myself chose a joint major in business and environment. The first reaction that people have when they hear of this new, obscure degree is often: “But aren’t those majors contradictory?”

My answer? “Yes. Yes it is.”

Take it from someone who has spent 90 credits studying it: business and environment do not go well together. That’s not to say they are irreconcilable, but with the current policy environment in North America, there is usually a stronger business case for exploiting the environment than there is for protecting it.

The goal of my joint major is to find that elusive case for protection, or uncover some other way to stop corporations from being evil. The result? Four years of mental gymnastics.

What is it like to take an Oxymoronic Joint Major?

If you’re taking a regular major, you probably have many of your classes with roughly the same students. The knowledge you learn in one class might act as a foundation for the next.

A joint major is different. On the social side, you get twice the fun. You get to know twice as many people half as well, and participate half-heartedly in twice as many student groups.

The coursework, on the other hand, is a bit more of a gamble. The knowledge you learn in one class not only probably won’t help you in following classes. It actually has a 50% chance of being directly contradictory to the fundamental ethical principles of another! This creates a whole host of unique experiences, including, but not limited to:

– Inciting students to riot by being a capitalist in an alt-leftTM sociology class.

– Failing economics because you keep trying to internalize environmental and social externalities.

– Being “that guy” and correcting the instructor whenever a business professor tries to explain how climate change works.

– Confounding your Organizational Behaviour classmates by suggesting that an important aspect of your career ambitions is having a positive impact on the world.

– Actually needing to think critically about everything you’re learning.