Choosing and Qualifying for a Major

Deciding on a major can be challenging, especially if you have a number of interests!  The following strategies will help you narrow down the possibilities until you find a major that's a good fit for you.  Remember, it's important you are both motivated by and confident in a discipline you'll be studying for four years, so be sure to spend the time necessary to explore your values, interests, goals, and strengths, and to research majors' opportunities and requirements.  Students who enter UCSC as frosh are required to be formally declared in a major before enrolling in their third year (or equivalent). Upper division transfer students are required to be declared in a major by the deadline in their second term at UCSC.

  • Review the information under "Choosing a Major" on the Career Center's website.  Consider taking an online assessment, and meeting with a Career Adviser.
  • Review the Fields of Study list in the UCSC General Catalog to see the majors and minors offered.  If you see a major that looks intriguing, read about it in the Programs and Courses section of the General Catalog; identify the required courses as well as whether the major has qualification requirements. 
  • If you are a freshman, review the advising cluster information posted for new students.
  • Visit the websites for majors you're considering.  Attend any orientations or events that are offered to learn more.
  • Talk with faculty and the department/program adviser for majors of interest. Discuss the major's curriculum, requirements, and opportunities.
  • Talk with your college adviser about possible majors and the best way to make your decision.
  • Take introductory courses required for the major, both to get on track and to test your interests and skills in the discipline.  If a major you're considering has qualification requirements, learn what those requirements are, and stay on track to meet them by mid-sophomore year.
  • Many students change their minds about a major after taking some initial courses in the first year.  Don't limit your options early -- research the requirements and opportunities for more than one major, especially if one of the majors you're considering is selective!