Choosing a Major

What you should know about choosing a major:

  1. Your major does not necessarily determine your career. Most majors offer a range of career options.
  2. Most employers are open to a variety of majors.
  3. Employers seek more than a degree. They also look for transferable skills, such as good communication and leadership skills. These are skills you can acquire with many majors, as well as through your volunteer, internship, and work experiences.

Steps to Choosing a Major

To help you make your choice, consider these steps and actions. Good information is the surest route to a satisfying major decision.

  1. Know your options: review all of NU's Academic Schools and Majors
  2. Narrow those options: use the Academic Schools and Majors list to help eliminate major and school choices.
  3. Gather Information about the majors that are left on your list: read departmental websites, talk to faculty members, department advisors, your own academic advisor and current students. Some questions to answer include:
    1. What topics will I study?
    2. What are the requirements for this major?
    3. What minors or other courses might complement this major?
    4. Will there be opportunities for internships, research, or other experiential learning?
    5. What skills will this major help me develop?
    6. What careers are alumni from this major entering upon graduation?
    7. Is graduate school usually required to work in fields associated with this major?
  4. Register or sit in on (audit) courses in disciplines of interest.
  5. Use resources such as LinkedIn and Our Northwestern to get ideas of what careers NU alumni have entered with specific majors.
  6. Declare Your Major-Each school at Northwestern has its own procedures for declaring a major. You will need to learn the procedures for each school in which you wish to enroll.
  7. Make an Interschool Transfer if Necessary-The interschool transfer process at Northwestern University is the formalized means by which you change your enrollment from one school to another within the university.

I still can’t pick, what do I do?

  • Consider double majoring or choosing two minors.
  • Talk to a Career Counselor to discuss where you are having trouble making a decision.
  • Remember that you have until the end of sophomore year to declare, and even after that, you can change your mind.

Resources