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Major Selection Strategies

BYU students must select and declare a major by the time you have 60 earned BYU credit hours (excluding language exam credits).

Once a student has 75 earned BYU credit hours (excluding language exam credits), they will not be allowed to change their major, unless special permission is granted.

It is a good idea to have a concrete idea by your sophomore year. Selecting a major by your sophomore year should not delay your graduation or compromise your ability to enter and progress in the major of your choice (including most limited enrollment programs).

The following is a list of strategies you can employ to help with your major/career decision-making process: 

Meet Often with a UAC Advisor

Advising/Advisor Image
1) UAC Advisors are available to meet with you as often as you like to help you choose a major or career. Click Here to learn more about our advisors.

2) Our office is open weekdays from 8:00am – 5:00pm (closed for Devotionals Tuesdays from 10:45am - 12pm). You can call or walk in to schedule an appointment, or click here to schedule online.

Meet with an Exploration Specialist

Exploration Specialists
1) Exploration specialists are peer students who can take you through exploration activities to learn more about yourself, different majors, and careers of interest. They can also help you learn about tools and resources to help you explore more options on your own.

2) Exploration Specialists are available to meet with you weekdays from 8:00am – 4:30pm (closed for Devotionals Tuesdays from 10:45am - 12pm). You can call (801) 422-3826 or click here to schedule an appointment with them.

BYU Majors

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1) Try a Major Card Sorting activity:
You can use this online activity to help you identify and narrow down the majors you are most interested in exploring.

2) Review Possible Major Options:
Look at a complete list of majors offered at BYU and "mark out" those majors you know you are not interested in.

3) Review Your Options:
Then take a look at the remaining majors and investigate them further by reviewing the Major Academic Plans (MAPS).

4) Meet with an Advisor:
Once you have your list narrowed down to 3 to 5 choices you may now benefit by visiting with an advisor in the College Advisement Centers where the major is located.

5) Visit Exploration Point
You can meet with an Exploration Specialist to gain greater self-awareness, explore majors & careers, and decide how to take your next step.

6) Take a Course:
Take Introductory or Seminar Courses for the Majors or Careers You are Considering — BYU has seminar courses for pre-medicine, pre-dentistry, pre-optometry, pre-law, and for many of the engineering programs. Many majors also have introductory courses such as Introduction to the English Major (Engl 195), Historian’s Craft (Hist 200), and Introduction to International Studies (IAS 100).

University Core/General Ed. Considerations

1) University Core:
Take advantage of the University Core/General Education requirements and select classes that correspond to your interests and majors you would like to investigate.

2) Choose University Core Carefully:
UAC Advisors can help you select courses that will help you learn about majors and also fill University Core requirements.

3) Keep Your Options Open:
If you are trying to decide between two majors, select courses that are required (or fill University Core requirements) for both.

Experiential Learning

1) Information Interviewing:
Find someone who is already working in the profession you are considering and ask them for an interview. Ask them to tell you about their work assignments, what they like and don’t like about their job. How did they get the job they have? What training is necessary to do what they do?

3) Job Shadow:
Thinking about a career but don’t know if you would like it? Try job shadowing. Find someone who has the kind of job you want, and then ask if you can follow them around for a day or longer. Put yourself in his or her place. Do you like what you see?

2) Explore Valuable Job Opportunities:
Part-time work, summer employment, internships, and volunteer work should all be done with a plan. Use these opportunities to investigate areas of interest and to make contacts that will help further your career goals. Even if you are sweeping floors, you can learn much about a work environment, and of course, there are many opportunities for more challenging work if you seek it!

Limited Enrollment

1) Find Out About Deadlines, Prerequisites, and Requirements for Applying for Limited Enrollment Majors:
Some majors have limited enrollment and only accept a certain number of students each year or semester. Find out what these requirements are for the majors that interest you. Take the prerequisite courses and do well in them, so if you decide to apply to a limited enrollment program, you will be prepared.

2) Have a Back-Up Plan:
When applying to limited enrollment programs, have a back-up plan in case you are not accepted to the program of your choice. There are often many ways to obtain a goal. UAC Advisors can help you develop alternate plans to achieve your goals.

University Career Services (UCS)

1) Visit the University Career Services (UCS):
The University Career Services has hundreds of files and books on careers. Want to learn how to be an FBI agent or an airline pilot? The UCS has information to help you!

2) Explore UCS Online Resources – Helpful information about careers and internships. Free to all current BYU students. Click here.

3) Take a Career Assessment:
The University Advisement Center has Career Assessments to help you choose majors and careers. Each takes between 35-45 minutes to complete and there is a fee associated with most (one is free). After you complete the test, a UAC academic and career advisor will meet with you in an hour-long individualized appointment to explain the results to you.

Additional Options to Consider

1) Take a Career Exploration Class:
Student Development (StDev) 117 Career Exploration is a two-credit hour course designed to help students choose majors and careers. You will be spending time anyway trying to make these decisions — why not receive college credit for it too?

2) Turn Your Major Option into a Minor:
Sometimes students find it easier to begin a minor. Perhaps you could begin working on two. At some point, one of the minors could be turned into your major.

3) Pre-Professional Advisement:
Interested in pre-law, pre-med, pre-dental, or health professional advisement? Visit with an advisor in the Pre-Professional Advisement Center, 3328 WSC, 801-422-3034.

Evaluating the Majors/Careers You are Considering

New first-year students need adequate information about all that a college has to offer, and they need to know the requirements of the different programs of study.

Just reading the catalogue isn't enough, and for the majority, exposure to a few subjects in high school simply won't serve to introduce or interpret the college curriculum, which is a smorgasbord of specialization (and, often, of obscurity) by comparison.

Before you can make a realistic decision about your major, you must take an informed look at all the possibilities...

*Excerpts (for the use of Open Major Advising) from a handout titled "Choosing and Using Your Major" from the Career Planning and Placement Office at the University of Virginia.

University Advisement Center (UAC)
2500 WSC — 422-3826

Additional Major & Career Information

As a student at Brigham Young University, there are many resources available to you as you research majors and careers of interest. The following links will direct you to just a few of these resources.