The Major Exploration Process:
Identify and Explore Your Options
Once you know yourself better, you can begin to move forward in the decision making process. This exploration step is where you find out more about majors. There are many ways you can explore: printed materials, talking to others, and personal experience.
First, become familiar with what majors Western has to offer. Remember to consider how your own strengths, interests and goals fit with each major. You will naturally gravitate towards some majors and eliminate others. Seeing a list of over 140 majors offered at Western can be a bit overwhelming at first. You may want to begin by eliminating those that you are certain are not right for you. Narrowing the list down to 10-15 majors can feel like a big accomplishment.
What are the available majors and minors at Western? Research the possibilities using:
- Majors List. Start by crossing off all the majors you know you do not want. Bring your list to an advising appointment to discuss it further with an advisor.
- Major Guides (complete list) Includes major requirements, combined GUR courses and major declaration requirements.
- List of minors at Western – located at bottom of page.
- The Online Catalog
- Talk with advisors in the Academic Advising or Career Services Centers
- Attend the WWU Majors Fair, held each year during the winter quarter, to talk with a variety of academic departments, advisors and students involved in different majors - all at the same time!
Explore: Gather Information
Now develop a list of the majors you would like to explore in more detail. At this point, you may also want to schedule an appointment with an advisor in the Academic Advising Center (OM 380) to help you clarify any questions you might have about the requirements and to formulate a plan to explore these in more depth.
You can gather more detailed information about majors by reviewing department websites, talking with professors, surveying course textbooks and visiting classes. Look at ways you might combine some of your interests (i.e. combined majors; minors; electives; General Studies or Student-Faculty Designed majors). Talking with students in the major can also be very insightful.
If possible, enroll in courses which will help you "try on" the major to see how it "fits." Many students benefit from exploring more than one major during any given quarter rather than taking all their courses from one area.
Possible questions to ask a faculty advisor:
- Questions regarding information you have gathered from the WWU Catalog or Major Guides
- Are there any personal qualities, interests and/or skills that would benefit a student pursuing this major?
- What courses would you recommend I take to explore this major?
- Realistically, what are my chances of getting into this major?
- How long would it take me to complete this major based on my academic preparation?
- Would you recommend a minor or courses to complement this major?
- Are opportunities available for students to become involved in internships, research, assisting faculty, special projects, independent study, and student clubs/organizations?
- What career opportunities are there for students who major in this field?
- Do you have any suggestions on how I might research this major further?
The more you know about the majors you are considering, the easier making your decision will become. Noting the pros and cons of potential majors may be helpful to organize your thoughts.
Next: Evaluate Your Options
Academic Tools & Resources
Old Main 380
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
(except for holidays)