4 Questions To Consider Before Selecting A College Major

A major is a subject or field of study chosen by a student to represent his or her principle interest and upon which a large share of his or her efforts are concentrated, according to dictionary.com.

It is a pivotal decision, and one that defines and categorizes college students.  With the number of majors offered increasing each year, there are many directions you can take.

Bundling your many eclectic interests into one major can be difficult, ergo; selecting two (sometimes even three) major or minor concentrations seems to be a growing trend.  Don’t stress, you usually don’t have to choose right away.

To start, most schools offer introductory courses that encourage you to explore budding career paths.  These courses can help determine your strengths, areas of highest aptitude and potential career paths.  Next, there are a multitude of general education courses to choose from that span most subject areas.

When planning your course load and potential major you may want to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I want a degree that qualifies me to enter the workplace directly (such as engineering or nursing), or am I prepared to continue on and earn an advanced degree?
  • Does selecting this major provide me with the opportunity to switch majors?  Or are the major requirements very specific and meticulous?  (It is much easier to switch from engineering to psychology than the reverse.)
  • Can I schedule my classes to double or triple count so they work for general education requirements, majors and minors?
  • If I plan on pursuing a post-baccalaureate or credential program after graduation, can I satisfy my prerequisite requirements as part of my undergraduate degree?

Each major, upon completion, should provide you with a particular skill set that enables you to begin your career, but in general, employers expect the same principle qualities: to be able to write and communicate effectively, to work in team settings, and to be a dynamic, innovative problem solver.

Ultimately it is your responsibility, not your college, to choose a major that sparks your passion and interest, so do your research.  On one hand, the following list may seem quite daunting, but it also offers endless opportunities to be creative and combine complimentary majors or a combination of major and minor coursework.  Imagine the possibilities…

Agriculture and Forestry

  • Agricultural Business and Management
  • Agricultural Economics
  • Environmental Horticulture & Urban Forestry
  • Equine Studies
  • Forestry
  • Horticulture
  • Natural Resource Management
  • Soil Science
  • Wildlife Management

Arts, Language, and Literature

  • African Studies
  • American History
  • American Literature
  • American Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • Asian History
  • Asian-American History
  • Child Development
  • Chinese
  • Comparative Literature
  • Creative Writing
  • Criminal Justice
  • East Asian Studies
  • English
  • Ethnic Studies
  • European History
  • French
  • Geography
  • German
  • Hebrew
  • Hispanic-American Studies
  • History
  • Islamic Studies
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Jewish Studies
  • Journalism
  • Linguistics
  • Middle Eastern Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Photojournalism
  • Playwriting and Screenwriting
  • Political Science
  • Portuguese
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Spanish
  • Speech Pathology
  • Urban Planning
  • Women’s Studies

Business and Math

  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Human Resource Management
  • International Business
  • International Relations
  • Labor Studies
  • Managerial Economics
  • Marketing
  • Merchandising and Buying Operations
  • Public Relations
  • Radio and Television
  • Sports Management
  • Statistics
  • Visual Communication

Computers and Web Related

  • Animation
  • Computer and Information Science
  • Computer Systems Analysis
  • Graphic Communications
  • Graphic Design
  • Network Design and Administration
  • Web Design
  • Webmaster and Web Management

Fine Arts and Performing Arts           

  • Art History
  • Design
  • Dance
  • Music
  • Music History
  • Music Management
  • Music Theater
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Sculpture
  • Theatre

Medical and Health Related

  • Chiropractic
  • Community Health and Preventive Medicine
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Dietitian
  • Health Administration
  • Kinesiology
  • Nursing
  • Nutrition
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Optometry
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Physician Assistant
  • Public Health
  • Toxicology
  • Veterinary Medicine

Science, Engineering, and Architecture

  • Acoustical Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Anatomy
  • Applied Physics
  • Architect
  • Astronomy
  • Astrophysics
  • Automotive Engineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Food Science
  • Forensic Science
  • Genetics
  • Geology
  • Interior Architecture
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Marine Biology
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology
  • Neurobiology
  • Nuclear Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Pathology
  • Pre-Dentistry
  • Textile Engineering

If you are very passionate about one particular subject, some schools offer the opportunity to create your own major.  These are rare instances and need to be approved by the appropriate authorities, but it is worth looking into!  Don’t let this scare or discourage you, the possibilities are endless!

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Heidi Meier

Heidi Meier

Heidi Meier is a junior at the University of California, Davis pursuing degrees in communication and psychology. At school, Heidi can be found participating in psychology experiments or lounging on the quad. Outside of school, she enjoys exploring new cities, adventuring with friends, and playing with her puppy, Pancake.
Heidi Meier

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