All first year undergraduates will have an opportunity to declare a major during the spring term and receive a departmental advisor and a home department, but may remain an undesignated sophomore should they want more time to decide.
You can explore your major options via the links in this section and see our advice on making your choice below.
Choice of Major Advice
Examine your interests, skills, experiences, motivations, and goals.
Step One: Ask yourself some questions
- What classes or subjects particularly interest, excite or intrigue you?
- What subjects are you especially strong or talented in?
- What out of class experiences have been most enjoyable or fulfilling for you?
- What motivates you to consider certain majors?
- What are your short and long-term academic and career goals?
Having talent in a subject does not always mean you should major in it! You will be taking several classes in the major you choose, so be sure you truly enjoy the subject and are motivated to do the work. Alternatively, if there is a department you are interested in but not as naturally talented, don’t necessarily let that discourage you.
Step Two: Try out a department that interests you! Explore Your Options and Gather Information
- Start by exploring the Course Roadmaps and Important Links provided on this site. These links provide you with useful information about the various major departments, class requirements and options, research opportunities, what majors do after graduation, profiles of faculty, etc. The Undergraduate Administrator in each department is another key point of reference if you have specific questions. Finally, take advantage of department exploration events.
- Participate in advising seminars, UROPs, internships, and major exploration classes as valuable ways to get a sense of whether you actually like a major.
Step Three: Talk with Your Advisor and Associate Advisor
Many advisors have been at MIT for a number of years and can point you to resources within various departments, because they have taught or advised for those departments or know people who work in them. They can also ask you questions based on what majors you are thinking about that might help you come to a decision.
Your associate advisor is also equipped to talk with you about academic decisions such as choosing a major. They can discuss their choice of major decision process and the overall experience in their department. Also, they often can connect you to peers in departments you may be considering.
Step Four: Make the Right Choice For You!
Everyone has their own reason for choosing a major, and no major is “better” than another, despite what some may say. Your choice of major will help you develop knowledge and skills in a particular discipline, but it does not dictate your career or life path.There really is no right or wrong choice, as long as you come to the decision that you are most comfortable with. Students will meet with advisors to complete their Course Selection Form (PDF available for download later this spring).
Career Advising & Professional Development (CAPD) is another great resource on this topic. Their staff can help you discuss how to connect your major to different careers during an appointment. You might also find it helpful to watch A Major Puzzle: First Year Decision Making online and review the associated resources on Handshake or these tips on Choosing a Major.
Advising staff are also available to discuss your options with you. To make an appointment with one of us, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.