Exploring Majors

Did you know that one in three students change their majors within three years of initial enrollment and that one in ten changes two or more times? If you are still exploring majors or transitioning between academic programs, you are in terrific company!

Interestingly, recent studies suggest that, for some students, changing their major can help them graduate sooner than other students who remain in their first-choice major. Many students need more time to learn about their learning styles, identify their strengths, and discover their academic and career passions. That’s okay!

Reach out to our Office for Academic and Pre-Professional Office, and we will help you navigate your academic and career options. 

Get Help From Us

As you consider which major is the best fit for you, the Office for Academic and Pre-Professional Advising team is ready to offer support. Our advisors are committed to helping students explore degree options and evaluate general education,  gateway, and major requirements. We welcome all students needing major exploration assistance and work with them until an appropriate new academic plan is secured. 

There are many ways to explore potential majors. Some of the most popular and practical methods are: 

There is no substitute for taking classes in a major to find out whether it is something you find interesting, meaningful, or you may even discover a passion that you never realized you had. Taking general education program (GEP) courses allow you to progress towards graduation while actively exploring potential majors. 

See below for how to search for classes by GEP requirement in the myUMBC Class Search portal! Searching this way will allow you to see GEP courses offered in each academic department.

Course Attribute → General Education Program

Course Attribute Value → Select General Education Category

The Career Center offers a variety of helpful tools and resources to help you explore your strengths and passions and pursue a rewarding career path such as – individual career counseling, a personality inventory (MBTI), a career assessment (Focus), various career workshops and seminars, as well as a virtual career library (Firsthand).

 Want to know if your earned credits can be applied toward different majors, minors, and certificates? UMBC’s “What If” Degree Audit lets you know where you stand right now and you can add new courses in the “Course Scenario” section to see exactly how long it will take you to finish a new option. 

The Shriver Center addresses critical social challenges by bridging campus and community through engaged scholarship and applied learning. The Shriver Center has a proven track record of successfully engaging students in applied learning. Similarly, the Career Center is ready to assist you with finding internships to provide professional learning experiences offering meaningful, practical work related to various fields of study or career interests. 

Sometimes you find that designing your program of study can help you more strategically achieve your unique academic and career-related goals; if you’re struggling in the major decision process. The Individualized Studies Program enables you to develop and pursue BA and BS degrees once you have completed a cohesive proposal with the help of faculty advisors and mentors. 

Interestingly, this study suggests that “following a study abroad experience, students possess a more positive outlook on their career options and report having a clearer picture of career goals, interests, talents, or vocational identity.” Other research has shown that students who study abroad have greater self-confidence and maturity, have better grades, and graduate from college at higher rates. Why not take advantage of the opportunity to learn more about yourself, your interests, and your values while engaging in what 85% of students call the most meaningful experience of their undergraduate education. Our Education Abroad Office offers weekly information sessions on how it all works.