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What Is a College Major and How to Choose One

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    Deciding what to major in is often an exciting experience! For some students, though, the process can feel overwhelming. Especially if they aren’t sure what type of career they’d like to have after graduating. Other students have clear career goals, but find themselves asking questions like, “what should I major in to become a vet?” or “what should you major in to become a lawyer?” 

    No matter what your career goals (or lack of career goals) may be, choosing a college major requires a fair amount of research and self-reflection. In this article, we will answer all of your questions about college majors, including: What’s a college major? When do you need to decide on a major? And can you change majors?

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    What is a college major?

    To start off, what is a major in college? Well, a college major is different from a degree. A degree, such as an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, indicates your level of education, whereas your major indicates your academic speciality. Typically, students must earn 120 credits for a bachelor’s degree, with 30-40 credits dedicated to their academic specialty or “major.” Each major has its own list of requirements, including introductory courses, advanced courses, and oftentimes, a final project or paper. 

    How to decide on your college major

    college major Some students know exactly what they want to do when they graduate college. That being said, knowing what to major in isn’t necessarily as straightforward as you may think. This is because some professions — such as that of a doctor, lawyer, and therapist — require specific advanced degrees but are more flexible in terms of undergraduate degrees. 

    For example, you may be wondering “what should you major in to become a doctor?”. Students interested in pursuing pre-med can major in any number of subjects — such as Chemistry, Biology, or even Psychology — as long as they fulfill their medical school application requirements. Similarly, prospective lawyers can receive their undergraduate degrees in any subject they like. Their advanced degree is what will enable them to earn the proper credentials to practice law. 

    Careers that don’t require advanced degrees tend to be fairly flexible in terms of your college major. This is because employers care more about your internships and work experience than your specific classes. So regardless of whether you know what type of career you’d like to have after graduating, choosing your major isn’t always straightforward. 

    The best way to choose your major is to reflect on your academic interests, strengths, and future career goals. Then you’ll want to meet with your academic advisor to discuss which college majors may be a good fit! Oftentimes, there are several paths you can take to reach your goals. So once you have a couple of different college majors in mind, be sure to look at specific course descriptions to see whether or not they sound interesting to you.

    How to decide on your college major

    Some students know exactly what they want to do when they graduate college. That being said, knowing what to major in isn’t necessarily as straightforward as you may think. This is because some professions — such as that of a doctor, lawyer, and therapist — require specific advanced degrees but are more flexible in terms of undergraduate degrees. 

    For example, you may be wondering “what should you major in to become a doctor?”. Students interested in pursuing pre-med can major in any number of subjects — such as Chemistry, Biology, or even Psychology — as long as they fulfill their medical school application requirements. Similarly, prospective lawyers can receive their undergraduate degrees in any subject they like. Their advanced degree is what will enable them to earn the proper credentials to practice law. 

    Careers that don’t require advanced degrees tend to be fairly flexible in terms of your college major. This is because employers care more about your internships and work experience than your specific classes. So regardless of whether you know what type of career you’d like to have after graduating, choosing your major isn’t always straightforward. 

    The best way to choose your major is to reflect on your academic interests, strengths, and future career goals. Then you’ll want to meet with your academic advisor to discuss which college majors may be a good fit! Oftentimes, there are several paths you can take to reach your goals. So once you have a couple of different college majors in mind, be sure to look at specific course descriptions to see whether or not they sound interesting to you. college major

    List of 100 college majors

    • Accounting
    • Aerospace Engineering
    • Africana Studies
    • Agricultural Sciences
    • Animal Sciences
    • Anthropology
    • Arabic
    • Archeology
    • Architecture
    • Art History
    • Astronomy
    • Audio Production
    • Biochemistry
    • Biology
    • Biomedical Engineering
    • Business Administration
    • Chemical Engineering
    • Chemistry
    • Chinese
    • Civil Engineering
    • Communications
    • Comparative Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Creative Writing
    • Criminal Justice
    • Culinary Arts
    • Dance
    • East Asian Studies
    • Ecology
    • Economics
    • Electrical Engineering
    • Elementary Education
    • English
    • Environmental Engineering
    • Environmental Science
    • Fashion Design
    • Fashion Merchandising
    • Film Studies
    • Finance
    • Food Science
    • Forestry
    • French
    • Gender Studies
    • Geology
    • German
    • Graphic Design
    • Health Care Administration
    • Health and Physical Education
    • History
    • Horticultural Science
    • Hospitality
    • Industrial Engineering
    • Information Technology
    • Interior Design
    • International Relations
    • Italian
    • Japanese
    • Journalism
    • Landscape Architecture
    • Latin American Studies
    • Linguistics
    • Literature
    • Marine Biology
    • Marketing
    • Mathematics
    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Medical Illustration
    • Meteorology
    • Music Performance
    • Music Therapy
    • Neuroscience
    • Nuclear Engineering
    • Nursing
    • Nutrition Sciences
    • Occupational Therapy
    • Outdoor Leadership and Education
    • Pharmaceutical Sciences
    • Philosophy
    • Physical Therapy
    • Physics
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Real Estate
    • Religious Studies
    • Russian
    • Secondary Education
    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Spanish
    • Statistics
    • Studio Arts
    • Sustainable Food Systems
    • Theater Arts
    • Tourism Management
    • Urban Planning
    • Veterinary Science
    • Video Game Design
    • Video Production
    • Women’s Studies
    • Zoology
    • Accounting
    • Aerospace Engineering
    • Africana Studies
    • Agricultural Sciences
    • Animal Sciences
    • Anthropology
    • Arabic
    • Archeology
    • Architecture
    • Art History
    • Astronomy
    • Audio Production
    • Biochemistry
    • Biology
    • Biomedical Engineering
    • Business Administration
    • Chemical Engineering
    • Chemistry
    • Chinese
    • Civil Engineering
    • Communications
    • Comparative Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Creative Writing
    • Criminal Justice
    • Culinary Arts
    • Dance
    • East Asian Studies
    • Ecology
    • Economics
    • Electrical Engineering
    • Elementary Education
    • English
    • Environmental Engineering
    • Environmental Science
    • Fashion Design
    • Fashion Merchandising
    • Film Studies
    • Finance
    • Food Science
    • Forestry
    • French
    • Gender Studies
    • Geology
    • German
    • Graphic Design
    • Health Care Administration
    • Health and Physical Education
    • History
    • Horticultural Science
    • Hospitality
    • Industrial Engineering
    • Information Technology
    • Interior Design
    • International Relations
    • Italian
    • Japanese
    • Journalism
    • Landscape Architecture
    • Latin American Studies
    • Linguistics
    • Literature
    • Marine Biology
    • Marketing
    • Mathematics
    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Medical Illustration
    • Meteorology
    • Music Performance
    • Music Therapy
    • Neuroscience
    • Nuclear Engineering
    • Nursing
    • Nutrition Sciences
    • Occupational Therapy
    • Outdoor Leadership and Education
    • Pharmaceutical Sciences
    • Philosophy
    • Physical Therapy
    • Physics
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Real Estate
    • Religious Studies
    • Russian
    • Secondary Education
    • Social Work
    • Sociology
    • Spanish
    • Statistics
    • Studio Arts
    • Sustainable Food Systems
    • Theater Arts
    • Tourism Management
    • Urban Planning
    • Veterinary Science
    • Video Game Design
    • Video Production
    • Women’s Studies
    • Zoology

    Remember, not all colleges have all majors. In general, large universities offer a wider range of majors while colleges tend to be more specialized. You’ll want to keep this in mind as you navigate the college application process

    If you’re interested in studying the humanities, you’ll have plenty of options. If, however, you’re looking for something a bit more unusual — like Book Arts, Golf Course Management, or Mortuary Science — you’ll have fewer colleges to choose from. Depending on your educational goals, the key to Choosing Your Dream College may be finding a school with the best program for your intended major. 

    Designing your own major

    Depending on your college, you may even be able to design your own major. Students who choose this route are often interested in interdisciplinary learning. For instance, a student may decide to study the fiddle and traditional Appalachian culture, referencing oral traditions and histories to learn more about traditional fiddle songs. Another student may decide to study the evolution of gender representation in popular media. 

    If you choose to design your own major, you’ll want to work closely with your college advisor and have several professors as mentors. Designing your own major requires a lot of research, self-reflection, and careful planning. So it’s crucial to have plenty of guidance!

    When do students declare their major?

    college major While some students apply to a college with their intended major listed on their application, others choose to apply undecided. This may lead you to the question, Does Your Major Affect Your College Acceptance?. In short, it depends on the major and the school.

    Some majors, such as Nursing or Engineering, are highly-competitive and can influence your overall chances of admission. That being said, if you’re committed to a particular major, applying directly into the program may be beneficial in the long run. On the other hand, if you want to know what the easiest majors to get into are, you might as well apply as undecided!

    After you are admitted into college, students formally declare their major at the beginning of their sophomore year. Depending on the specific school and academic program, you may need to satisfy certain requirements before you’re accepted into your intended program. This may include meeting a minimum GPA and taking several intro courses.

    When do students declare their major?

    While some students apply to a college with their intended major listed on their application, others choose to apply undecided. This may lead you to the question, Does Your Major Affect Your College Acceptance?. In short, it depends on the major and the school.

    Some majors, such as Nursing or Engineering, are highly-competitive and can influence your overall chances of admission. That being said, if you’re committed to a particular major, applying directly into the program may be beneficial in the long run. On the other hand, if you want to know what the easiest majors to get into are, you might as well apply as undecided!

    After you are admitted into college, students formally declare their major at the beginning of their sophomore year. Depending on the specific school and academic program, you may need to satisfy certain requirements before you’re accepted into your intended program. This may include meeting a minimum GPA and taking several intro courses. college major

    Can you switch college majors?

    At this point, you likely have questions about changing majors, such as: Can I change my major? How many times can you change your major? And can I change my major junior year? 

    Rest assured, many students change majors — sometimes more than once — throughout the course of their college careers. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Education, approximately 1 in 3 undergraduates change their major. There is no strict deadline for when you need to settle on a major. That being said, changing your major, may mean needing to take an extra semester or year’s worth of classes. So while yes, you can technically change majors during your junior year, unless there is a fair amount of overlap with your previous major, switching majors may mean graduating at a later date.

    What’s the difference between a major and a minor?

    college major Many students declare a college minor in addition to their college major. But why not double major? What are the advantages of having a minor?

    College minors have fewer requirements than college majors and can therefore be earned more quickly. (The average college major requires 30-40 credits, whereas the average college minor requires 18-22 credits). College minors offer students the ability to further specialize their course of study or to explore a different subject altogether. 

    For instance, a student majoring in early childhood education may choose to further specialize their course of study by minoring in Spanish. This could allow them to specialize in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) so that they could work with bilingual children more easily. Alternatively, they could choose to minor in something completely unrelated, such as Art History or Gender Studies, simply because they are interested in the subject matter. 

    Let’s take a look at another example. Say you’re majoring in finance. You may choose to further specialize your course of study by minoring in accounting, business administration, or statistics. Or you could use your minor as a way to indulge one of your passions and opt for a minor in music or theater arts. 

    What’s the difference between a major and a minor?

    Many students declare a college minor in addition to their college major. But why not double major? What are the advantages of having a minor?

    College minors have fewer requirements than college majors and can therefore be earned more quickly. (The average college major requires 30-40 credits, whereas the average college minor requires 18-22 credits). College minors offer students the ability to further specialize their course of study or to explore a different subject altogether. 

    For instance, a student majoring in early childhood education may choose to further specialize their course of study by minoring in Spanish. This could allow them to specialize in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) so that they could work with bilingual children more easily. Alternatively, they could choose to minor in something completely unrelated, such as Art History or Gender Studies, simply because they are interested in the subject matter. 

    Let’s take a look at another example. Say you’re majoring in finance. You may choose to further specialize your course of study by minoring in accounting, business administration, or statistics. Or you could use your minor as a way to indulge one of your passions and opt for a minor in music or theater arts. college major

    Key takeaways and moving forward

    Some students apply to college knowing that they will be majoring in STEM or majoring in criminal justice. Other students need more time to think things over. If you have a good idea of what you’d like to study, apply to colleges with the best programs for your major. If you really have no idea what you’d like to study, it may be beneficial to attend a larger university with plenty of majors to choose from! After all, changing majors is easy, but transferring colleges is a bit more complicated — though plenty of students will end up transferring colleges in pursuit of a specific college major!

    Remember, the best approach to selecting a college major is to read through college course descriptions and see which classes interest you. You’ll also want to consider prospective careers and have several thoughtful discussions with your academic advisor to make sure your college major will help you best reach your goals. 

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