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Choosing Majors and Minors
Quick Reference: Academic Information

Students should base the important choice of a major on their own interests, abilities, and career goals. Individuals who study what they enjoy are more likely to do well in their classes and be happier and more successful in their careers.

Advisers can help students identify the major that best suits their academic and career goals. At Berkeley, students have a choice of many majors. Group or field majors are also options for students who want to explore the possibilities of interdisciplinary majors.

Taking classes in a variety of disciplines allows students to explore many fields before selecting a major. It is not uncommon for students to begin undergraduate work with a clear direction, only to discover an area of study for which they are better suited. While students are encouraged to declare their majors as soon as possible, it is equally important that they pursue the fields that most fulfill them, even if it means taking more time to complete their education.

Many students finish their undergraduate work in four years. However others, such as those who change majors, choose dual majors, or have majors with more than a four-year curriculum schedule, may require more time to complete their requirements. Students who work often find that they need to stretch out their course load in order to manage both their employment and academic responsibilities.

Listen to your students and talk with them about their interests and aspirations. Encourage them to seek the help of the professional advisers on campus. It is the students’ interests, talents, and goals that are the essential ingredients in determining appropriate majors and career goals.

Next article: Keeping on Track (or, return to the complete Table of Contents)


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