Choosing a Major

There are many factors to be taken into account when choosing a college major. You might pick your major based on your abilities. Understanding what areas you have skills in and which areas could use work is a great way to start the process when choosing a university major. However, don’t discount the fields where you lack ability just yet; you’ll be able to build those up more during your studies.

Alternatively, you may pick your major based on values that you hold. Choosing a major based on your core beliefs can lead to work that is more rewarding and encouraging. However, attending university is a time of experimentation and self-discovery, and most people solidify their values during their college years. At first glance, your passions seem just like interest areas, only stronger. But this is quite an understatement. Passions are areas of deep interest, sure, but they also incorporate your values and abilities into something that becomes a burning, lifelong desire.

Health Majors

Nursing - LPNs and LVNs must complete an accredited nurse training program. These programs award a certificate or diploma and typically take about 1 year to complete. They are commonly found in technical schools and community colleges, although some nursing programs may be available directly through hospitals. Practical nursing programs combine classroom learning in subjects such as nursing, anatomy, human physiology, biology, and pharmacology. Programs also include supervised clinical experience and hospital rotations.

Medical Careers - Healthcare jobs provide over 15 million jobs, and ten of the 20 fastest growing occupations are healthcare-related. Most healthcare workers have jobs that require less than 4 years of college education, such as medical records, EMT and paramedics, ultrsound technicians, radiologic technologists, and dental hygienists.

Psychology - The American Board of Professional Psychology awards specialty certification in 15 areas of psychology, such as clinical health psychology, couple and family psychology, and rehabilitation psychology. Board certification can demonstrate professional expertise in a specialty area.

Sports Trainers - Coaching staff works to support and train players, with massage therapists, fitness specialists, nutrition, and medical personnel. Sports coaches improve the physical condition of an athlete to help increase their full performance; improve form, technique, skills and stamina. Their role involves identifying individual athletes strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of their opponents.

Majors in the Arts

Film making - Students may pursue film programs at specialized colleges, learning about film history, editing, screenwriting, cinematography, and the filmmaking process. Film makers may also have bachelors degrees in either journalism or communications. Stage directors, by comparison, may complete a degree in theater and go on to earn a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree. Classes in this major include directing, playwriting, set design, and acting. Producers and directors might start out working in theatrical management offices as business or company managers. In television or film, they might start out as assistants or in other low-profile studio jobs.

Graphic Design - Good graphic design stems from an understanding of page design, like you'd see in a magazine. If you break down the elements that make up website design, such as color palettes and mobile graphics, you'll end up with commercial art that works well. Designers must be able to create visual concepts that inspire, inform, or captivate consumers, while art directors are responsible for the layout of pages, product packaging, or other elements that affect the overall appearance of a work. The National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits programs in studio art, computerized design, and graphics.

Fine Art - The National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits more than 360 postsecondary colleges, universities, and independent institutes with programs in art and design. Most programs include courses in studio art, principles of design, computerized design, commercial graphics production, printing techniques, and website design. For many artists, including graphic designers, developing a portfolio is essential because employers rely on portfolios in making hiring decisions. Most established artists invest effort selling their artwork to potential customers, marketing their work online, and building a reputation.

Music - Undergrad music programs offer classes in music history, style and improvisation, and teach methods for improving instrumental and vocal technique. Voice coaching programs include courses in musical expression in live performances, which helps students develop the ability to play music comfortably under the stress of a large audience. Educational and training requirements for music directors and composers vary, although most positions require related work experience, found by submitting recordings of their compositions to bands, singers, record companies, and movie studios. Composers may promote themselves directly through licensing original recordings online.

Dance - Some of the most common dance assessment methods are auditions and stage performances, direct observations in class, self-assessments, peer responses, and video portfolios. The National Dance Association of the United States has formulated standards by which students are evaluated. These standards include a various set of skills, from being able to understand and perform choreographies to applying critical thinking and problem-solving skills to learning dance.

Business majors

Management - There are a variety of approaches to project management. Critical chain management (CCPM) puts more emphasis on the resources required to execute tasks, while event chain methodology focuses on managing events that will affect scheduling. Regardless of the method you choose, the Small Business Administration advises listing out specific project objectives, create a working timeline of both materials and personnel, and monitor all required costs as the project proceeds. Project control means keeping on-track, on-time, and under budget.

Marketing - Marketing specialists create and maintain a favorable public image for the organization they represent, whether in private industry or for government agencies. Public relations, on the other hand, may involve designing media releases in an attempt to shape public perception of their organization and to increase awareness of its work and long-term goals. Publicity may require consultation with advertising agencies to arrange promotional campaigns in all types of print and digital media.

Finance - Assessing a company's stability requires the use of both income statements and balance sheet, as well as non-financial indicators. Financial analysts compare financial ratios of solvency, profitability, and growth, to better judge the value of a company's performance. Liquidity ratios measure the availability of cash to pay current liabilities, while debt ratios measure the firm's ability to repay long-term debt. Profitability ratios, on the other hand, gauge asset use and expense control, to generate a market rate-of-return. Financial ratios must be considered with care, because they depend on the accounting methods used. A discount rate is used to determine the present value of expected returns, and if a business anticipates being highly profitable in the short-term, it may be wiser to take out a bank loan, rather than expand the number of shares outstanding.

Accounting - Accountants and auditors ensure that financial records are accurate and that taxes are paid properly and on time. Public accountants work with financial documents that clients are required by law to disclose. These include tax forms and balance sheet statements that corporations must provide to potential investors. Budget analysts prepare budget reports and monitor institutional spending, while cost estimators collect and analyze accounting data. A certified public accountant (CPA) may utilize these reports in preparing summaries for managerial accounting purposes, as well as in tax filings and SEC reporting.


Education - The majority of teacher licensure programs are five-year commitments. Students earn a baccalaureate degree from the College of Arts & Sciences and a minor in Elementary, Middle School or Secondary Education from the College of Education at the end of senior year. During the fifth year, students enroll in a one-year internship to complete requirements for a teaching license and to earn graduate credits toward a master's degree. While prospective K-5 teachers may complete any Arts & Sciences major, future secondary and middle school teachers may select a major in the subject area they plan to teach.

History - History is a common undergrad major leading to law school admissions. If you enjoy learning about US history, political sciene, or European history, even as far back as ancient history, then follow your natural inclinations. What motivation do historians bring to bear when they dedicate years of research in order to uncover the facts surrounding historic developments? It's more important to understand the significance of conflicts or government actions, than it is to memorize historical dates and persons.

Law - Legal careers can range from working in a legal setting such as a courtroom or law office to corporate consulting or maritime law. Preparing legal advice or representation for a client commonly requires substantial research into applicable international trade laws and regulations. All lawyers in the US must have a law degree and must also pass their state's written bar examination. Most states and jurisdictions require lawyers to complete a juris doctor (JD) degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA), including courses such as constitutional law, contracts, maritime law, civil procedure, and legal writing. Students may complete an internship at a law firm, working under the supervision of an experienced attorney.

English - As the basis of many careers, students are advised to choose an English major. For writing classes, make the paragraph your basis of composition, and limit each paragraph to a specific topic. In fact, begin each paragraph with your topic sentence, both in creative writing as well as for technical writing. Choose a method of organizing your thoughts, and then follow through with persuasive technique.

Engineering & Computer

Engineering - Mechanical engineers typically need a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering or mechanical engineering technology. Mechanical engineering programs usually include courses in mathematics and life and physical sciences, as well as engineering and design. Mechanical engineering technology programs focus less on theory and more on the practical application of engineering principles. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one's career.

Robotics - Manufacturing facilities around the world are increasing adoption of industrial robots to increase automation and maintain competitiveness. In both the US and China particularly, application of industrial robots is on the rise. Sales of industrial robots grew by 66 percent in the past 5 years alone in the USA, according to the International Federation of Robots. The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) reported that the world market for industrial robots is driven primarily by demand from motor vehicle manufacturing, followed by the electronics industry.

Programming - Computer programmers write and test code that allows computer applications to function properly. The financial crisis has only strengthened the need for talented software engineers. C# combines the robustness of C++ with the advanced features of JAVA. The C# language is most easily compiled within Visual Studio IDE, a rapid-development platform. If you are writing a web-based application in ASP.NET, you will be required to code in C# or Visual Basic for the backend. The JAVA language further adds to the capabilities of C++, and is portable, independent of the underlying operating system.

Web Design - Website developers are responsible for both the graphical aspects of website design, as well as technical requirements including performance and capacity. In addition, either Android app development or iOS apps may be called for as an adjunct to mobile websites. Beyond a thorough background in HTML5 and CSS, webmasters must master JavaScript and PHP/mySQL.

Networking - Network and computer systems administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operation of these networks. They organize, install, and support an organization?s computer systems, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), network segments, intranets, and other data communication systems. They must determine the system requirements and limitations, and make needed hardware and software upgrades to ensure that systems are operating correctly. They also maintain network security, and optimize system performance.

Science Majors

Math - Math classes may be refocused toward practical applications, such as numerical analytics of big data online or statistical interpretation of scientific research results. Further, financial engineers or 'quants' may be called upon to prepare math-based reports for financial management, in order to develop high-speed, stock investment algorithms. Most undergraduate math degree programs begin at calculus, and go on to advanced research topics and logical proofs.

Biology - Biotechnology uses the DNA of living organisms to bioengineer new products artificially. Depending on the tools and applications, it often overlaps with the related fields of biomedicine, pharmacology, and genetic engineering. USDA researchers seek to solve major agricultural problems and to better understand the basic plant biology relating to crop science. Modern biotech methods are used to manufacture existing medicines more easily, in order to treat human diseases.

Chemistry - Chemical engineers apply the principles of chemistry, biology, physics, and math to solve problems that involve the production or use of chemicals, fuel, drugs, food, and many other products. They design processes and equipment for manufacturing, test production methods, and oversee byproducts treatment. Process engineers are specialists working in a particular process, such as oxidation or polymerization (making plastics and resins). They may spend a large portion of their work day at chemical plants and petrolueum refineries, directing operations or solving chemical reaction problems.

Earth Science - Mining and geological engineers design mines to safely and efficiently remove minerals such as coal and metals for use in manufacturing and utilities. Geological engineers in particluar are charged with searching for mineral deposits through satellite data and ground sonar, and then evaluating potential digging sites. Once a site is identified, they plan how the metals or minerals will be extracted in an efficient and environmentally sound way.

Skilled Trades

Car & Truck - Automotive and diesel mechanics inspect, repair, and overhaul cars, buses and trucks. Although service technicians work on traditional mechanical systems, such as engines, transmissions, and drivebelts, they also must be familiar with a growing number of electronic systems. Braking, transmission, and steering systems are increasingly controlled by computer chips. Additionally, fuel injection and engine timing systems rely on microprocessors to maximize fuel efficiency and minimize harmful emissions.

Home Repair - Because HVACR systems have become increasingly complex, HVAC technicians need to seek out postsecondary instruction from technical schools or community colleges that offer programs in heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration. Over the course of the apprenticeship, technicians learn safety practices, blueprint reading, and how to use tools. New HVACR technicians typically begin by working alongside experienced technicians, performing basic tasks such as insulating refrigerant lines or cleaning furnaces. In time, they move on to more difficult tasks, including cutting and soldering pipes or checking electrical circuits.

Cooking - The American Culinary Federation accredits more than 200 academic training programs at culinary arts schools, and sponsors apprenticeships around the country. This training can be grueling, from attending a culinary arts program to serving a long apprenticeship in a commercial kitchen, under the watchful eyes of a master chef. Finally, cooking courses may cover food sanitation and safety, basic knife skills, and kitchen equipment operation.

Credit Courses

College credit is the standard measurement of a student’s academic competency. Essentially, it represents how much effort you, the student, put into a single course over a semester. This effort is most often represented by hours of work. You must complete 120 college credits to earn a bachelor’s degree. That’s about 40 classes, which most people assume you can complete in 4 years. Most colleges want to ensure their students have a good foundation in the liberal arts while also covering the major you’ve chosen in greater depth.

Colleges may require you to take up to 60 credits of low-level courses spanning a variety of general subjects. While you get to choose which choose which specific courses you take, you must pick from within your college’s requirements. On the other hand, the free electives you choose are drawn from available courses within other departments. Generally, many of these courses will be upper-level courses and more time-consuming than the rest of your bachelor’s degree.

One of the best ways to save money on college is by transferring credit. There’s a myriad of ways to earn college credit that will save you thousands of dollars on your degree. Community college, CLEP, DSST, and affordable online courses are just a few examples. But even if you’re not trying to save money on your degree, if you’re simply considering switching colleges, understanding how degrees are structured will help you when earning college credit.

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