Steps to Choosing a Major

Reflect on your vocational calling

1. Reflect on Your Vocational Calling

2. Narrow Your Choices

  • Look through the list of SPU majors and programs
  • Eliminate those you know you would never choose.
  • Of those remaining, note any you might consider.
  • Look up general information about each major on the website of the department or school that houses that major, and narrow the list down to your top three to five choices.

3. Understand the Academic Requirements

  • In the Undergraduate Catalog, research your top choices.
  • Explore the different subcategories or emphasis areas for each major, and decide which options you might consider.
  • Make notes of prerequisites for admission into the major, as well as some of the beginning classes you could take as exploratory options.
  • Read the details of the courses. Are these classes that sound interesting to you? Would you enjoy studying these topics?
  • If you can, narrow your choices further.

4. Get Familiar With the Departments

  • Explore further the website of each department or school that interests you. What can you learn about the department’s philosophy, faculty, study abroad options, clubs, activities?
  • Do you know students who have taken classes in this major? If so, ask them about their experience.
Meet with a professor

5. Meet the Professors

  • Contact the department office or a specific professor to schedule an appointment.
  • Prepare a list of questions for the professor that will help you decide whether this major is right for you. Here are some suggestions:
    • Why do you enjoy this subject?
    • What type of student will do well in this program?
    • What types of internships do students pursue? What careers do graduates of this major end up in?
    • What could I do next to learn more?
  • Be sure to:
    • Share a bit about yourself (strengths and uncertainties), and why you are considering this major. Be brief.
    • Ask for the name and contact information of a current student and/or recent graduate you could talk to about this major.
    • Thank the professor for his or her time, and consider following up with the professor in the future.
  • After the interview, review what you learned:
    • What new information had an impact on you?
    • How will you use what you learned to direct your major and career direction?
    • What are your next steps for further exploration?

6. Make a Plan

  • Do you need to do more research? Conduct more interviews?
  • Should you meet with faculty advisor? Academic counselor?
  • Should you try a class? Join an activity?
  • Do you want to investigate study abroad opportunities?

Plan your next steps, and follow through with your plan. You’re well on your way to making an informed decision!

Student studying

What Can I Do With That Major?

View lists of jobs and vocations by major (PDFs):

See all major sheets

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Use this science-based online career guidance tool to predict your "fit" in a major and career that will bring joy, purpose, and meaning to your life.

“When choosing a major, look inside yourself as well as at the economic pattern. If you are genuinely interested in computers, major in them. If you’re happiest reading Beowulf, don’t force yourself to study business. Think carefully before choosing a major. What excites and intrigues you? Knowing that may help you avoid changing majors several times.”
Dr. Ernest Boyer
Renowned educator, advisor to three U.S. presidents, and president of the Carnegie Foundation
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