Choosing a Major
If you are unsure of your major, this is the time to do some serious research. Junior transfer students must formally declare their major at the beginning of their second quarter at UC Santa Cruz, and sophomore transfer students must declare their major by the end of their sophomore year (or equivalent). For both juniors and sophomores, it's important to begin satisfying major requirements right away. The following information may help you decide on a major.
Possible Career Paths for UCSC Majors:
“What Can I Do With a Major In…” guides
Researching a Major:
Look at alumni profiles in our Career Advice Network to see what UCSC alumni are doing with their majors.
Review the General Catalog Programs and Courses section to see a list of majors offered at UC Santa Cruz. Scroll to the bottom of the section for links to each of the departments, which will give you the courses required for the majors.
Visit the websites for the majors you're considering, and learn more about the department and the opportunities available to students. Plan to attend any department orientations or events that might be coming up.
Talk with the department adviser for majors that are of interest to you. Discuss the major's curriculum, requirements, and opportunities. Some questions you may wish to ask include:
- What areas of concentration are available in the major?
- What kind of academic skills are needed to successfully complete this major (e.g., good writing skills, math ability)?
- What are classes like (large, small, lab, lecture)?
- Are exams essay type, short answer, objective, a combination?
- Are there any special programs affiliated with the major (field study, study abroad, etc.)?
Talk with faculty during major department orientations and/or during their office hours about opportunities within a major.
Visit the bookstore and look at the books required by professors for majors that you are considering. Do the subjects covered in the books for those majors interest you?
Avoid listening to negative comments from other students concerning a major or a course. Another student may not like it, but you may.
Don’t let one bad experience with one professor or one class deter you from considering a major. Examine the negative experience; was it the subject matter or the professor's teaching style/personality?
If you are interested in a science or engineering major, start on the prerequisites in your first year. These majors require extensive sequential coursework and lower division prerequisite courses.
Considering graduate or professional school? Meet with a career adviser in your first or second year as a freshman or first quarter as a transfer student to find out if there are certain course requirements for entry and which major may best prepare you.
When you've completed some research and you've come up with some strong possibilities, be sure to talk with a department adviser for that major or your college adviser to be sure you're taking courses that will allow you to make progress in the major.