How to Choose Your Major
Your education is a big investment of your time and money. It's important to pick a major that will help you reach your goals.
Know Yourself and Know the Job Market
Before you pick a major you need to spend time evaluating what you want. For example, how important is it to you to start making money right away after graduation? Are you able to move to find a job? Do you need a 9 to 5 job or are you willing to have a flexible schedule? Is traveling something you're willing to do? How important are benefits, like healthcare, to you? As you research your options, make sure that you select a career that fits your specific situation and goals.
Once you know what you want, evaluate your strengths and interests so that you can find careers that match.
Everyone has strengths. Strengths are your positive qualities. Your strengths include your talents and personality traits that come naturally to you, as well as the skills you learn.
Do you enjoy solving problems and doing math? Or do you prefer working with people; listening and speaking and being aware of others? As you research careers, make sure that you pay attention to the skills and knowledge they require. You can improve all of your skills. But you’ll be more successful in careers that match your strengths.
You'll be more engaged if you’re able to pick a career that matches your interests.
- Start your research by taking an interest assessment.
- You can also try volunteering, internships and other types of work-based learning to get a better understanding of the careers you're considering.
Don't limit yourself to the careers you know. Do some research and evaluate all of your options.
Finding Your Place: Choosing Your Major (Podcast)
A series about the college experience made by college students for college students. Spend some time with Gina Maahs-Zurbey, Academic Advisor and Student Relations Coordinator at Minnesota State University, Mankato learning how to choose your major. Also follow one producer's multi-semester struggle with finding the major that fit her skills ... and her interests.
Know the Job Market
Based on where you live, you will have different opportunities. You need to pay attention to the job market. Which jobs are available and where are they located? How much do they pay? What education do they require? And how will they change in the future?
- Find occupations in demand in your region.
- Learn about the job market from the Job Vacancy Survey.
- Research which jobs are growing in Minnesota.
- Discover key industries in Minnesota and the types of careers they offer.
- Find salaries for careers in Minnesota.
Learn About Major (Fields of Study) Options
Major Search Tool
Search for majors (fields of study) by career cluster or keyword. Find information about the major and the types of degrees offered. You will also be able to research related careers and connect to Minnesota State schools that offer the major.
Research Outcomes for Other Graduates
Make better informed decisions about your education by researching the "outcomes" of other graduates.
- If you're interested in a bachelor's degree, use the Bachelor's Degree and Career Destination tool. You'll be able to select a major (field of study) and see which occupation graduates are actually working in. You can also see how having an advanced degree changed career options for graduates. Scroll down to see wages and what percent of people with that major are employed.
- The Graduate Employment Outcomes tool offers information about wages and employment for different majors. Find the actual wages graduates were making after completing a program. You can look at different awards including certificates, Associate Degree, or Bachelor's Degree. You can also see the outcomes for a specific school.