Guidance in Choosing Your Major
The most important aspect of choosing a major is having a genuine interest in studying the discipline. As you choose your major, follow these steps below to assess your interest in the courses required for the major.
1) Look up a major you are considering in the College Catalog:
- Select all the specific courses in the major you would take if you were registering for them today, including cognates,
- Rate each on a scale of 1-10 (10 highest) based on how interested you are in them,
- Divide by the total number to come up with an average "score,"
- Repeat for each major you're considering.
This helps you to discover your feelings about the actual courses that are required for the major, rather than the random array of elective options within it. In addition, as you are making this decision:
2) Talk with professors in each of these majors to find out what type of perspective the professors are, in effect, professing. That is, are they putting an emphasis on observation of societal systems and diversity (e.g. sociology), on persuading others through discussion based a close analysis of texts (e.g. English), or on developing and pursuing their own research questions (e.g. psychology)?
3) Talk with current majors about their experience of the major;
4) Get help from the Career Center. We offer:
The Strong Interest Inventory (SII) The SII "College" report relates your interests to college majors, courses, and extracurricular activities and provides ideas for ways to learn more about the fields it suggests, as well. Time estimate: 30-45 minutes to take, 45 minutes to interpret.
- "Choosing Your Major" Career Center Worksheet
"What Can I Do with this Major?" sheets listing typical jobs for nearly all majors, courtesy of University of Tennessee.