Lesson Plan Guide: Emerging Programs Of Study

By Matt Andrews

GRADES: 9-12
CONTENT AREAS: Careers, Advisory, Homeroom, FACS, Social Studies, English


  • Students will use their imagination to invent possible careers of the future.
  • Students will develop a better understanding of their college and career interests


  • C:A1.2 Learn about the variety of traditional and nontraditional occupations
  • C:B1.6 Learn to use the Internet to access career-planning information


No special prior knowledge necessary to complete the lesson.


Access to computers with Internet is helpful for students to extend searches related to their interests


Students read the article, “Emerging Programs” and imagine what kind of jobs may exist in 10 years. The reproducible guides student analysis of new programs of study and helps them identify a few of their own interests. The extended time to search for other degrees helps students learn about their college choices.


Each student should turn in a completed handout.


Motivating Discussion (5 minutes)

To pique student curiosity, ask them to imagine a futuristic educational program. What kind of college classes will your grandkids take? Encourage students to use their imaginations to think about how different college and work could be in the future, and introduce the article when students are generally curious to find out about more educational programs.

Read the article (5 minutes)

Distribute the article and instruct students to sketch a few notes on the article as they read it. They may underline interesting statements or write comments and opinions about what the author, Flora Richards-Gustafson wrote. Remind students to read for understanding of the article.

Complete the handout (20 minutes)

Distribute the handout (Reproducible B) and instruct each student to complete their own tasks for each of the programs of study mentioned in the article. Instructors may allow group work or whole class discussion during this time, but encourage each student to complete his/her own assignment.

Focus discussion on identifying personal interests (5 minutes)

Explain to students the difference between personal interests and beliefs about the future. We can all agree that college will be different tomorrow than it was when our grandparents were young, but none of us knows exactly what jobs and college programs will be available. Each individual has unique personal interests that combine with their beliefs about the world, and this influences how we make decisions about colleges and careers.

Spend 2-5 minutes as a group identifying a few careers that are likely to be new in the next 10 years. Identify a few other student pathways that the class agrees are not likely to happen in the near future.

Conclude this short discussion by asking each student to say one interesting idea that they thought about today.

OPTIONAL -- Extended search for other new programs (30 minutes)

Students can conduct an Internet search for extended learning about innovative programs of study at other colleges. This lesson is a nice transition into more in depth college searches. It sparks student curiosity of what is possible and different in education.



Read the article “Emerging Programs” and use this guide to imagine what you could do in the future.

Complete the following tasks to better understand each educational program:

  1. Use your own words to explain what students learn in each program, describe skills you need and things you should know to take such a program
  2. Use your imagination and invent other possible careers that may be related to each program. For example, sustainable human-computer-truck drivers may be needed to transport food from spaceships in the food industry.
  3. Would you consider each program of study? Explain why you would or would not enroll in each program of study. Relate it to your specific interests and beliefs about the future.

At the end of the lesson, you should explain, imagine, and consider at least these four programs of study:

  • Human Factors Psychology
  • Information Assurance
  • Comic Arts
  • Studies in War and Peace

Emerging Programs of Study


About the Author

Matt Andrews