What is truth and what is myth when it comes to choosing a major? The answers are below.
My major will determine my career ...
Myth 1: My major will determine my career.
Reality: While some majors strongly relate to certain career options, most majors are much less related to a particular career field or industry. Most employers care more about your work-related experience and skills than they do about your major. Your liberal arts education at UT will provide you the opportunity to acquire the transferable skills employers are looking for in well-rounded candidates, such as problem-solving, written and oral communication, critical and creative thinking, and interpersonal skills. Keep in mind you do not need to decide on a life-long career field when choosing a major; one major can lead to many different careers, and one career can be reached through many different majors. Most college graduates are likely to change jobs and career fields several times in their lives. As you grow in your professional career, you will continue to develop your skills and identify areas in the workforce that match your interests.
Everyone else has already decided on his or her major, and I’m the only one who hasn’t ...
Myth 2: Everyone else has already decided on his or her major, and I’m the only one who hasn’t.
Reality: While some students may enter college with a particular major in mind, most will change their minds about their majors several times before graduation. In fact, the vast majority of entering college students admits they are uncertain about what they want to study, even if they have initially declared a major. The thing to remember is that everyone processes and makes decisions differently. Deciding on your major should be done at your own pace.
I should decide on a major based on my strongest skills ...
Myth 3: I should decide on a major based on my strongest skills.
Reality: Yes, a critical step in the academic exploration process is to conduct an honest assessment of your academic strengths and potential success in a certain major. However, your skills are just one component of a comprehensive self-evaluation. It is equally important that your choice of major aligns with your interests, values, and passions. Remember that college will help you expand your knowledge and skill set; however, you will be best positioned for academic success if you are interested and engaged in what you’re learning.
If I don’t decide on a major now, I won’t be able to graduate on time ...
Myth 4: If I don’t decide on a major now, I won’t be able to graduate on time.
Reality: Since all UT students are required to complete Baccalaureate Experience courses in addition to their major course requirements, it is possible to complete degree requirements in four years. However, the time it takes to complete your degree also depends on when you declare a major and which major you declare. Some majors have more required credit hours and prerequisite courses than others. Each student is unique and explores their options in different ways and on a timeframe specific to them. You are encouraged to explore and declare at the pace that is right for you. The exploration advisor can serve as a guide through this process and help you meet important benchmark requirements for certain majors. According to the university catalog, students are required to declare their major by the time they earn 60 credit hours in order to promote timely degree completion.
Liberal arts and humanities majors have limited career options ...
Myth 5: Liberal arts and humanities majors have limited career options.
Reality: Although some people assume students who major in the arts, humanities or social sciences lead down few career paths, this is not the case. These majors will provide graduates valuable training in writing, research, critical reasoning and interpersonal communication. These transferable skills, or skills that can be readily applied in a number of different roles, are highly sought after by employers across all industries. Students with these majors can find meaningful work in business, research, human resources, government agencies and many other fields.
I should choose a major in a field that is currently hiring ...
Myth 6: I should choose a major in a field that is currently hiring.
Reality: The job market fluctuates constantly due to changes in economic conditions, technological development and the labor supply. Jobs that exist today may be very different or obsolete in the future, and new jobs are emerging all the time. You will likely switch jobs and even careers throughout your lifetime; the correlation between your undergraduate major and your career will lessen over time. Focusing on the development of transferable skills will help you adjust to rapidly changing career opportunities.
The best way to find out about a major is to take a class in it ...
Myth 7: The best way to find out about a major is to take a class in it.
Reality: Taking an introductory course is one way to learn about a particular major, but it may not be the best way for a number of reasons, especially if you are at the beginning of the exploration process. One reason is that some introductory courses won’t give you a complete idea of what the major is like. For example, taking BUS 101 won't tell you just how much math is required of business majors. Also, if you take a course to determine your interest in the major and then decide against that major, you’ll have eliminated that major, but you won’t have chosen one. Deciding on majors by eliminating them one course at a time is inefficient and time consuming. You can learn a great deal about a major by browsing through department websites, the course catalog and online databases. Our Majors Resource Database is a great tool to start exploring and provides links to the different resources associated with each major. Don’t forget, you are in the age of instant communication; the Internet is home to an endless supply of information.
I can take all of my Baccalaureate Experience courses before deciding on a major ...
Myth 8: I can take all of my Baccalaureate Experience courses before deciding on a major.
Reality: While UT’s Baccalaureate Experience core curriculum allows you to explore different academic disciplines, it is not recommended you solely concentrate on completing these requirements. You should try to take at least one course required for a possible major during your freshman year. Some majors take longer to complete due to a high number of credits and/or structured prerequisites. Starting on these requirements will help ensure timely graduation. Although students in some majors can select any natural science, humanities and social science courses to meet core requirements, other majors (i.e., Allied Health) require students to take specific courses for their core electives. Also, students cannot “double count” courses required for their majors to meet humanities or social science requirements. While exploring majors, it is important to select your Baccalaureate Experience courses carefully. Meeting with the exploration advisor can help you with this selection.