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No Major? No Problem: Deciding Your Major at UCLA

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

Take it from someone who switched their major about as many times as you possibly can. It is totally okay to be undecided when coming into college and even for the first year or two. It’s also completely fine to be dead set on a major coming in and change course entirely after taking a few classes (i.e., me). If anything, exploring different majors and the courses within them can be the ideal opportunity to discern with firsthand experience exactly what you want to do. That said, I’ve picked up quite a few tips for investigating and ultimately making an informed decision on your major. Whether it’s browsing the entire course catalog, researching the curriculum for each major, looking at potential career paths, joining clubs or taking Clusters, there are countless ways to make the major decision process more painless. 

My first tip, which seems obvious, is to just look into what courses you are interested in. Forget about what department they fall under—just go through the course offerings at your university, read the descriptions, read the reviews and write a list of those you find compelling. Then, look at what departments they belong to and notice any patterns. If you see one category represented quite a bit, look into that department and its major and minor offerings. Along those lines, start by taking a few GEs you are interested in, just for fun. You might find you really enjoy a GE you didn’t expect, and that might guide you to explore that department more. Similarly, if your university offers Clusters (like UCLA), which are year-long courses that knock out a few GEs, notice which aspects of the Cluster you enjoy the most. For instance, I took a “Mind Over Matter” Cluster at UCLA in my first year that combined neuroscience, psychology, English, film, history and philosophy. The course helped me finish quite a few GEs, and I got a comprehensive view of the human mind through various academic perspectives. Of course, I particularly enjoyed the writing and psychology aspects, and now I am an English major on the pre-law track. 

Another great way to explore majors is to simply browse their respective websites, attend seminars and events hosted by specific departments, and attend information sessions. By doing these things, you can learn about the nitty-gritty components, such as classes and requirements, but also the cool programs each department offers (like study abroad, career help and concentrations) and get an idea of what people do with the major upon graduation You’d be surprised at the plethora of career opportunities within any given major! 

One method that also really helped me was joining clubs based on my interests and asking members of the clubs what classes they enjoyed and what major they were in. When I was struggling to identify a major that encompassed both marketing and legal classes at UCLA (we have no business major), I consulted my Her Campus at UCLA friends (as well as the course list offerings) and was able to identify the countless business and legal classes offered under the Communication major, which I am now in! 

Ultimately, what is most important when deciding on a major is choosing one you know you will thrive in. That means actually being interested in the courses and material covered by the major. You will be most successful when you are passionate about what you are studying, and if you work hard throughout university (internships, grades, extracurricular activities, etc.), you will have career opportunities no matter what major you choose. Trust yourself, do your research and avoid succumbing to stigma! That’s my best advice.

Kylee is a fourth-year at UCLA double-majoring in Communication and English with a concentration in Creative Writing. Her poems have been published in Train River Poetry, The Mandarin, Open Ceilings, and our very own Westwind (among others). She also writes feature articles for Her Campus at UCLA. In her free time, she acts, drinks way too much coffee, romanticizes everything, and buys more books than she can keep up with.