Choosing a Major
by Kelli Turpin
by Kelli Turpin
When I was publishing my last post (the one about Catalog Rights), I realized that we hadn’t yet talked about how to choose a major. Since I brought it up, I get to talk about the process of choosing a major. The things I get myself into!
If your career has a connected major, then choosing a major is easy.
Major (at SDSU for example)
Aerospace, Chemical, Civil, Computer, Electrical, Mechanical Engineering (to name a few)
Accountancy, Finance, Financial Systems, Management, Management Information Systems, Marketing, Real Estate
These are just examples, but you get the idea.
I would highly recommend taking major preparation classes as early as possible to make sure you’re actually interested in the path you’ve chosen. If you want to major in Business, but find out that you hate Economics, then that could indicate a change of major. Changing your major during your second semester is not a bad thing – chances are, most of your first semester classes were general education anyway. Later? That could get complicated.
Then, there are the careers that don’t have connected majors:
Requirements for Professional School
A Bachelor’s degree. A year of Biology, two years of Chemistry, a year of Physics, a year of Calculus.
A Bachelor’s degree. The ability to read, write, and do research
A Bachelor’s degree. A teaching credential (Multiple Subject for Elementary Education; Single Subject for Secondary Education).
Again, these are examples. If you’re choosing one of these careers, you have three options.
- Choose based on pre-requisites. Those specific pre-reqs for medical school (and vet school, dental school, pharmacy school, optometry school) are essentially the same courses that you need as preparation for a Biology major or a Chemistry major. If you’re good at science and math and you feel confident in your ability to do well in more advanced science and math courses, majoring in one of the sciences might work. If you’re not that interested in majoring in science, med schools don’t penalize you for majoring in something else – in fact, they like the diversity of thought that humanities and social science majors bring to the field.
- Choose based on specialty. If you’re going to practice corporate law, major in something related to business. If you’re going to be a marine animal veterinarian, you could major in zoology or marine biology or oceanography.
- Pick a University (or three)
No, I’m not telling you to start at page 1 and work your way through 500 pages of dense text, reading every word. Look at the upper division courses (usually courses numbered 300 or 400) and note the courses that pique your interest. A department that has more than 10 courses that make you go “ooh, that sounds fun,” should make your list.
- Follow the money