Hiatt Career Center

How to Choose Your College Major

Dr. Amber Spry, Assistant Professor of African and African American Studies and Politics, teaching her class "Identity Politics in the United States.”

Spring is just around the corner and campus will soon be saturated with the scent of blooming flowers and fresh-cut grass. It’s easy to let the mind wander toward summer, but before you get there another milestone may lay in your path: selecting a college major. But how do you choose with so many interesting options at Brandeis? That’s where Hiatt and Academic Services can help.

Fact: A college major is focused on a specific academic discipline or field and through your coursework, you will build broad skills that are transferable to many different careers. 

Fact: At Brandeis, you get to explore different classes the first few semesters to help determine a good fit before selecting a major by the end of your sophomore year.

Fact: Only one major is needed to graduate. Multiple majors are an option if you want to follow multiple interests. Many Brandeis classes are interdisciplinary in nature which allows students the possibility of exploring multiple majors if they so choose.

Fact: You get to change your major if your interests shift.  

Connecting the Dots

Your college major is important because you have the opportunity to deepen your understanding of a particular topic and build skills related to that major.  But, it’s not necessarily a straight line from major to employment. The major you choose will affect who and what you’re largely surrounded by at Brandeis, but it does not always set the course for the rest of your life.

Check out these alumni career pathways:  You Majored in What?! The truth is that there is more than one path on the journey of life. It is ok to change your mind along the way as you experience new and different things.  

  • A college major is your starting point. When it comes to employers and grad schools, your entire college experience, including campus involvement, volunteer work, student clubs, jobs and internships will be considered along with your college major.

Ok, So How Do I Choose?

1) Consider your interests - what makes you curious?  At Hiatt, we know that can be a tough question to answer because so many Brandesians have multiple interests.  Here are a few questions to ask yourself if you’re feeling stuck:

  • When you came to college, what (if anything) did you think you wanted to study?  Why?
  • Have your academic interests changed? How so?  
  • What are you eager to learn more about?
  • What careers have you considered that continue to pique your interest?

If you need help reflecting, try TypeFocus, an online tool to help you explore your personality preferences, and discover your values, skills, and interests to help you connect them to a range of fields that may be a good fit for you. Then, come chat with a Hiatt counselor to discuss your unique story.

2) Review the possibilities.  Identify the classes or topics that sound interesting to you and look for repeated themes. Speak with your Academic Advisor to discuss your observations and ask any questions about the majors/minors available at Brandeis.

3) Explore potential pathways
  • Browse What Can I Do With This Major? to explore major areas, types of employers that hire people with each major, and strategies to make you a more marketable candidate.

  • Check out our Majors to Industries to see where Brandeis graduates land within six months of graduation to get a sense of entry-level opportunities by major.

  • Take a balanced approach.  We want you to start with interest and personal fit and then balance that understanding with important labor market information.

Check Your Understanding by Talking to People Who Know

  • Undergraduate Departmental Representatives (UDRs) are students within academic departments that can help you learn more about majors/minors of interest.

  • Academic Advisors provide one-on-one advising on major and course selection, study abroad, health professions advising, disabilities support, and more.

  • Undergraduate Advising Heads (UAHs) are faculty advisors that can help you explore majors and minors.

  • Expand your network and find people working in areas you are interested in and get to know more about what they do. 

There’s no wrong decision when exploring college majors so you’ve totally got this!  The Hiatt Career Center is here to help you explore majors and how they connect with future opportunities. Join us if you are feeling stuck or just unsure what direction to take next and schedule an appointment.