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Choosing a Major

Perspective from an OAPA Peer Advisor - Irene Thomas

October 8, 2020 8:39 AM

College is a time for self-discovery and personal growth. Part of that self-discovery comes from deciding what you see yourself doing in the future, which isn't always easy. You may think, "But that's so far away," "I'm too young to be thinking about that"- although that may be true, having an idea of what you see yourself doing in the future will help you be as academically successful as you can be here at UMBC. 

Consider these "Do's" and "Don'ts" for choosing a major:

"DO's" for Choosing a Major:

Get to know all the majors available at UMBC.

Some major fields may be completely unfamiliar because they were not taught in high school. Individualized Study (the "build your own major" major), Health Administration and Policy, Geography and Environmental Systems, and Business Technology Administration are interesting majors students may not have been aware of before arriving at UMBC. There's no harm looking through the list- you never know what you might find!


One timely way to explore all of UMBC's majors is to attend our upcoming Major Event this month!

Educate yourself on potential majors.

It's a good idea to talk to an advisor or current students in that major you're interested in so that you can get a better understanding of the potential courses and paths you may want to pursue in your selected major. Researching on your own is highly recommended, as well.

List 5-8 possibilities based on your interests and aptitudes.

Take courses that are steered towards potential majors you have chosen. Read the entire catalog sections, all the course descriptions, faculty bios, and any other information about these majors available on the Department websites.

"DON'Ts" for Choosing a Major:

Don't let anyone else choose your major for you.

Your parents, friends, and siblings all have ideas about what you should major in, but it is essential to make your own choice. You are the student, and you are making the decision that could affect the rest of your life.

Don't assume that a college major will necessarily lead directly to a specific type of job.

The skills acquired from college are of a general nature that can be applied to many different professional settings. The workforce is full of people whose undergraduate majors bear only an indirect relationship to the positions they hold.

Don't stick with a major when it is clear that you are performing poorly in the required courses.

If you notice your grades are low in your major, this is an indication that it is not appropriate for you. Consider other options in which you can be more successful!


Helpful Links

Advising Contact List

"What can I do with my major?" via the Career Center

List of UMBC majors, minors, and certificates

UMBC Academic Pathways (sample four-year academic pathways for each major)


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