Choosing a Major
It's okay to be undecided about a major and to spend some time considering all of the possibilities available. There are lots of questions to ask, places to go, and steps to take before you decide on a major.
This website is designed to help you with the overall process, but know that help is available to you regarding any part of your major exploration. Make an appointment with an advisor in the Academic Advising Center or Career Services Center to discuss any part of your choosing a major process.
Are you ready to begin your major exploration journey? Then let's get started!
There are 4 main areas in the major exploration process:
- Examine your strengths, interests and goals;
- Identify and explore your options;
- Evaluate your options;
- Select a major and make a plan.
Each area will take time and the amount of time depends on you. It could take 10 minutes, or it could take an hour a week throughout the quarter. Remember, there is always help along the way.
First things first – let's clear the path by dispelling some of the myths about majors and careers!
I should get my GURs done before I choose or declare my major.
This is not true for many majors at Western. Majors such as those in the natural sciences, environmental sciences, engineering, and business have a number of prerequisite courses that you should begin early, in order to graduate on time. In many cases you can 'double count' some GUR courses with prerequisite/required courses in your major. We recommend you explore majors while working on your GURs.
My major must match my career/My major will determine what I do with the rest of my life.
In fact – graduates with a Bachelor's degree can work in many different fields, regardless of their major! There are only a few careers that require specific majors, such as accounting, engineering, nursing, etc. You will find that most employers hire well rounded, skilled people with potential - not majors. Check out "What can I do with a major in…" to see the possibilities for various majors. You can also view the WWU Graduate Outcomes Report to find out what recent graduates have done with their degrees!
To increase your opportunities in various fields, you should work on developing the skills that employers are looking for. You can do this with any major! Think of it as job freedom!
Once I decide on a major, I am stuck with it.
You can always re-evaluate and change your major. Many students find that their interests change or they do not do well academically in their chosen major, so they decided to change. This is normal.
What you want to do is make sure that you are re-evaluating earlier rather than later. The longer you wait, the more challenging it will be to change your focus and still graduate on time. Talk to an advisor if you are thinking of changing majors.
Liberal Arts (humanities/social sciences) graduates have a hard time finding a job.
False. Liberal arts graduates develop skills that are highly valued by employers and that are applicable to a wide variety of professional jobs. These skills allow liberal arts graduates to adapt to many different career areas. Finding a job has less to do with what your major is than it does with your proactive job search skills and preparation. Meet with a counselor in the Career Services Center and review their website for job search resources.