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Using Elective Courses to Explore Majors and Minors

An elective course is any course that is not part of your general education coursework or your declared major or minor. Elective courses can be a great way to explore your general interests, hobbies, and skills. Most students will need to take at least a few elective courses in order to graduate. Some of the most helpful elective courses are called Student Development courses.

What are Student Development courses?

These are one or two credit classes designed to assist students with relevant college related concerns in a class setting with the goal of helping you to fulfill the AIMS of a BYU education, thus experiencing success and happiness while attending BYU.

Anticipated Outcomes

Involvement in a Student Development class has several strengths: 1) it enhances commitment to the task of career exploration and decision making, since a grade is involved, 2) you have the opportunity to be in a class with other students who have the same concerns, thus giving you mutual support and sharing of information and resources, and 3) it gives you the extended amount of investment in time and energy to explore and think about these issues adequately. With this in mind, we consider the class to be one of the most intensive and most successful ways to engage in career exploration, decision making, and improved scholarship.

When you enroll in a Student Development course you increase your ability to:

  • Help develop skills to raise your grade point average (GPA)
  • Be an effective decision maker
  • Improve performance on exams with better test-taking skills
  • Make reading a meaningful experience
  • Handle the note-taking challenge
  • Create strategies to deal with the expectations found in college
  • Explore and identify a major that is suited to your interests, values and plans
  • Face the University experience with greater confidence
  • Recognize your developing personality and strengths
  • Grow in personal development as a college student
Some Student Development Courses Offered At BYU
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    STDEV 109 | Effective Study & Learning (2 credit hrs.)
    Concentrates on the college learning process. Helps students understand the process of intellectual maturity while developing the skills of:

    - Time management,
    - Reading,
    - Listening & note-taking
    - Test preparation & test-taking
    - Developing an effective memory.
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    STDEV 117 | Career Exploration (2 credit hrs.)
    Applies theories of individual, academic, and career development; emphasizes information gathering and self-assessment with the intent of helping students make informed choices regarding major and career selection and subsequent graduation planning.
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    STDEV 140 | Life Planning & Decision Making (2 credit hrs.)
    Focuses on issues of personal maturity, goal setting, and decision making abilities in areas of common concern to young adults. See more here.
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    STDEV 141 | Individual Development (2 credit hrs.)
    Within the college environment, students learn the theories of young adult development and practice successful methods of facing the challenges facing college students. Learn more here.
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    STDEV 214 | Special Topics (0.5 to 3 credit hrs.)
    This course allows instructors and students to explore various topics in general student success strategies, human development, and skills exploration. The various topics currently offered depending on the semester/term are:

    - Performance Psychology
    - Positive Living
    - BYU 101: Skills for Success at BYU (This section is for new students and by invitation only)
    - Math Modeling (By Invitation Only)
    - Integrity for Life: Building Personal Character
    -Test Preparation and Test Taking Strategies
    - Performance Psychology
    - Positive Living
    - Moral and Ethical Decision Making: Problems in Medicine
    - Surviving College Reading. Download a handout here
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    STDEV 305 | Advanced Reading Strategies for College Success (2 credit hrs.)
    This course is designed to help you read demanding college texts more effectively, rapidly, and with greater comprehension and retention.

    Download a handout here.
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    STDEV 317 | Career Strategies (2 credit hrs.)
    This course is designed for students who are anticipating, preparing for, and managing the critical transition from university to either graduate school or the world of work.
    Theoretical conceptualizations of career development and practical strategies to facilitate job search/advancement or the graduate school admissions process are examined.