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9 Wonderful & Obscure Majors at UW You Need to Check Out ASAP

So you’ve made it to the University of Washington (UW)? Congratulations! Getting into university is a huge accomplishment; you should be so proud of yourself! While the worry of “where am I going” is gone, the lifelong stress of “What am I doing” has just arrived.

Coming into college, the majority of students have just legally become adults. Quite the jump from high school, right? From only needing to figure out what you’re going to be doing the following weekend to needing to figure out what academic track you choose that’ll impact your life—abrupt and intimidating, I know.

With over 180 majors and minors to choose from, the decision can seem overwhelming. While if you’re undecided it may seem simpler to follow the clear paths of bigger, popular careers like business or one of UW’s notable computer science or medical programs, it’s important to take a step back and reflect on what you’re hoping to get out of your experience. Besides, we’ve all been told that what we start with is rarely what we end with! Start strong by finding what most interests you.  

College is the prime time to explore, try new things, and discover yourself. Why not apply these notions inside of the classroom? Here’s a list of majors and minors at the University of Washington for those who are hoping to find that unparalleled experience, no matter what point you’re at on your journey:


  • Comparative History of Ideas (CHID): exclusively at the UW, CHID examines relations between ideas of various societies overtime. It calls on students to be creative and critical in their analyses of the world. Learn more at https://chid.washington.edu

  • Community, Environment & Planning (CEP): based on the idea of “taking charge of your own education,” CEP is for those who are passionate about establishing a major track suitable to them in efforts of creating a better tomorrow. http://cep.be.washington.edu

  • Law, Societies & Justice (LSJ): also unique to the UW, LSJ is interdisciplinary, combining aspects of different social sciences while forming informed activists. https://lsj.washington.edu

  • Education, Communities & Organizations (ECO): a major dedicated to education both inside and outside the classroom with focuses on equity and development to work with groups and succeed. https://education.uw.edu/programs/undergraduate/eco

  • Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE): a branch of the engineering department that attempts to bridge the gap between human life and the effects of technological advancement. HCDE examines how these affect one another and work to “design the future.” https://www.hcde.washington.edu

  • Diversity Minor (DIV): rather new to the UW, the DIV minor aims to give insight as to how various intersections inform an individual’s identity and place in society, making you as woke as possible. https://divminor.washington.edu

  • Human Rights Minor: this minor understands the importance of human rights in the world and helps students understand its application in preceding and contemporary times. https://jsis.washington.edu/humanrights/human-rights-minor/

  • Disability Studies: a major that looks at disability from various perspectives and the ideas around it changing over time. https://disabilitystudies.washington.edu

Interested in all of them and can’t choose just one or two?

Check out:

  • Individualized Studies (Design Your Own Major): a major that is entirely your own. Combine multiple areas of study to create an academic track that’s perfect for you! https://indiv.washington.edu

Try out an introductory course! Attend some open houses! Take risks! And remember always…be boundless!


A sophomore studying Community, Environment & Planning and Communication, Julia loves exploring new places, passions, and engaging with others.
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