Choosing a Major

Attend the fall Majors and Minors Fair on Wednesday, October 26 from 1-4 P.M. in Damen MPR to speak with representatives from various academic departments across the University.

After being asked your name, the next most common question you will get as a college student is, “What’s your major?” Answering such a big life question elicits numerous emotions. Resources are available to help progress from day 1 to diploma with more certainty, whether you are sure of your major, have no idea, or are somewhere in between.

Where do I begin?

Everyone is different, so it follows that no one right approach leads to choosing a major. One recommended starting point is to review the list of majors offered at Loyola. Are there any you can rule out immediately? Conversely, are there any majors that immediately intrigue you? Make a short list of possibilities and invest time in exploring the requirements. Each major has a website listing the required classes. Do the requirements excite you? Do you dread most of the classes? Pay attention to these responses; your reaction is a big clue as you narrow your focus.

I’m interested in everything! How many majors can I have?

Enjoying learning and being curious are great qualities to have, however, you should always keep in mind the goal of graduating within four years. Some majors have numerous requirements, while others are significantly smaller. Most students who have varied interests and declare multiple majors and minors reach a point of needing to choose what is most important to them. Academic advisors, professors, and other staff on campus can help you make an informed decision about what might be in your best academic, personal, and professional interest.

What majors are available at Loyola?

Loyola has more than 80 majors! Take a look at the entire list; you never know if the ideal major for you is one that you simply haven’t considered before.

The job market is tough/grad school admissions are competitive. Should I have a second major and/or minor(s) to be more competitive?

It depends. There are numerous ways to stand out as a candidate for a job or for a graduate program. Adding a second set of academic requirements can develop expertise or a critical knowledge base; however, doing so also has the potential to delay graduation and limit other great opportunities. One outcome of completing the Four Year Plan is to have a visual overview of what each year at Loyola might entail. You should seek to find a balance between both academic pursuits as well as co-curricular pursuits that support personal and professional development, such as undergraduate research, studying abroad, internships, and leadership roles in campus and community organizations. Determining the right balance is a great discussion point to have with your academic and faculty advisors, professors, career advisors, pre-professional advisors, Loyola staff, and your family members.

Does my major really matter?

Yes, insofar as the major you choose determines the sort of classes you will take and therefore what you will learn in the classroom. However, people ask this question usually out of concern that there is one right major paving the way to one perfect job. A better way to view the major is as one of many ways learning and skill development will happen in your time at Loyola.The Four Year Plan is designed to let you consider the overall experience you want to create for yourself, both inside and outside of the classroom.

Some careers and graduate programs do require a particular course of study at the undergraduate level. Be informed so that you know if your goals fall into this category. A great way to explore this is by way of the Occupational Outlook Handbook. Additionally, academic advisors, professors, and Career Development Center staff can help answer this question, too. Pre-health students out there should be familiar with the pre-requisite coursework and admissions requirements, but do not have to complete a biology major. Similarly, students who are pre-law need not limit the selection of major to criminal justice or political science.

What’s the best major to choose if I want to get a good job after I graduate?

With the right planning, every major will provide the preparation you need to successfully enter the work force upon graduating. Some majors are less vocational in nature, which presents the opportunity to initiate finding ways to develop a strong skill-set. In finding and creating these opportunities, you will grow in self-awareness and gain confidence in the sort of job or career that will be the best use of your interests, skills, and knowledge. By completing courses in a variety of academic disciplines through your major and the Core, you will gain important job skills through the classroom setting, such as how to think critically; how to communicate clearly; how to write well; how to make an informed opinion and support that perspective; how to work well with those from backgrounds unlike yours; how to respectfully disagree with perspectives different than your own; how to research effectively; and how to work well toward a common goal with others. It is up to you, with the help of the numerous resources available at Loyola, to dream up an enriching Loyola Experience.

Additional resources are compiled on the First and Second Year Advising website, and available on the Career Development Center website to further address these common questions. Academic and Career advising staff are also available to meet individually with students to discuss these questions in person.

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