Self Help-Major

Five Ways to Research a Major

  1. Read materials
    • Go to the college catalog and look at the degree plans and course requirements of the major of interest to you. Read the course descriptions in the catalog.
    • Go to the reference section of the Career Counseling & Testing Center and read the occupational binders. Also, read books about your field of interest.
    • Go to the textbook sections of the bookstores and browse through the assigned texts to get an idea of what the courses involve, i.e., what they are about and what they require.
  2. Observe classes
    • "Audit" a course by enrolling unofficially without having to take it for credit or complete the assignments (requires permission).
    • Observe classes on a one-time basis in order to sample the possibilities.
  3. Talk to students, faculty, and advisors
    • Students - Ask students who are friends or acquaintances what they like about a particular major, what they do not like, what they are learning that is especially challenging, etc.
    • Faculty - Ask what kinds of abilities you will develop in the major, what kinds of careers graduates of the department typically pursue, what they particularly like about the field.
    • Advisors - Ask which courses are known to be most difficult, what students say they like about the department, if there are any prerequisites you must complete.
  4. Take courses
    • Sampling a course is a good way to get a sense of your own reaction to the subject matter, how you will be tested, and what skills you will acquire. If you are considering more than one major, it is a good idea to take at least one course in each field before you make your choice. It is okay to take courses in different fields at the same time; it will help to broaden your overall education.
  5. Work during college
    • Sample your choice of major by getting a part-time or summer job in a career field that interests you, or offer to do volunteer work to gain career-related experience.
    • See if any internships listed at the Career Center are applicable to your field of study.
    • If you are interested in working for credit, visit the Office of Cooperative Education.