Career and Personal Development
How to Choose a Major
What Is a Major?
A major is the basic component of the undergraduate curriculum, usually consisting of a number of courses in one or more subject areas.
Majors differ in a variety of ways:
- The number of courses required by the major
- Whether there is room to take courses that interest you outside your major department
- The amount of flexibility that exists within the major: Do you have some choice in the courses that you take to complete the major, or are you required to take specific courses only?
For information on various majors, consult Neumann University’s Undergraduate Programs
Considerations in Choosing a Major
- Some students pursue a program that prepares them for a specific career, such as nursing.
- Others want their education to give them a basis for pursuing a graduate or professional degree.
- Keep in mind that knowledge and skills gained from a major can be transferable to a variety of occupations.
- Your choice of a major should be based on your own personal needs and interests.
- Areas of special interest often suggest an aptitude.
- Decide what courses/majors may be of interest to you and test them out by enrolling in introductory courses within these major fields.
The Relationship between College Major and Career
- You do not necessarily have to decide on a career goal before you choose your major.
- In some cases, a major provides course work to train you in a specific field, such as education or accounting, but knowledge learned from all majors is transferable to different careers.
What Is the Status of the Current Labor Market?
- A general overview of the economic and employment situation may provide helpful information in the process of choosing a major. A good place to start this research isThe Occupational Outlook Handbook.
- Although employment trends may influence your choice to varying degrees, you should not exclude majors that truly interest you. Instead, complement your major with elective coursework or practical work experience, which will give you a greater degree of flexibility when seeking employment following graduation.
Preparation for Graduate Study
- A graduate degree may be a prerequisite for a variety of careers. You should determine as early as possible whether a graduate program will be helpful or necessary for entry into the field of your choice, as many programs may require specific course work.
- An early choice of a major should be considered tentative. Many students change majors at least once before graduation.
- Remember that career perceptions often change as well, and it is likely that you will change careers at several points in your life.
- Start exploring majors and careers early on in your undergraduate education. Seek out Internet resources to gain information. Ask your fellow students about particular majors and courses.
- Start exploring different careers utilizing the resources available on the Career and Personal Development Office website.
- Arrange some informational interviews with individuals in career fields of interest to you.
Remember, not to decide is to decide. The longer you wait to explore these issues, the narrower your choices may become. After considering some of the issues raised here, complement your choice of a major with wise career planning and make use of the services at Neumann to assist you in this process.