What is a College Major?
A college major is much more than just a set of courses. You want to be informed and make a good decision. Reduce your anxiety about choosing one with these practical, science-based tips.
A Set of Courses. A college major is a group of courses required by a college in order to receive a degree –– an area you specialize in, like Accounting or Chemistry. There are certain "core courses" in the specialization that everyone is required to take, along with several "elective courses". A college major may be called an "academic major", "major", or "major concentration".
If the "core courses" are in more than one academic department, it may be called an "interdisciplinary major" –– like, Arts Administration, Psychobiology, or Philosophical Psychology.
"College major" is normally used when talking about 4–year college programs, but on the Internet it is also used by community colleges to guide you to descriptions of their "Programs of Study", "Programs" or "Training Programs" (that lead to a credential or 2–year associate degree).
Many Bachelor's (4–yr.) degree programs have you choose a major at the end of their Sophomore year. Read "What are Liberal Arts, Humanities & General Studies Majors?" to learn what these majors are – their benefits and challenges.
Other colleges encourage you to choose a major when you apply for admission (some require it).
Much More. It is an important life decision. The major you choose will affect
- your college success and happiness,
- your future career,
- who you associate with during and after graduation, and
- how you see yourself and the world around you.
If you are in high school, seriously consider choosing a major before you choose a college to attend.