Choosing or Changing Your Major

Academic Planning

With more than 2,000 courses and over 250 academic programs to choose from, students have many choices as they plan their academic career. Students are encouraged to develop a course of study with a faculty or professional advisor that reflects their special interests, goals, and career aspirations. To facilitate this planning, students meet with academic advisors in departments and in our office throughout their time at the UO. Working with advisors and using tools such as the Degree Audit, enables students to actively create coherence in their education and effectively plan for graduation.

Explore Majors

How do I choose a major?

Many students are undecided about their majors when they enter college – and many who are decided change their minds more than once before they graduate (an average of three times). Although advisers, parents, and friends will keep asking you what you're majoring in, you shouldn't feel pressured to make a decision. There is a lot to choose from at a university this size, and there are many factors you need to think about as you consider potential majors.

1.  Self-assessment of your interests

What types of things excite you? What types of jobs or careers appeal to you? What books or magazines do you like to read? Where have you worked or volunteered? What did you like about these experiences? What are your hobbies? If you are not sure, please visit the Career Center. The UO Career Center offers a variety of self-tests you can take to help you answer some of these questions.

2.  Examination of your abilities

What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses? What kind of skills do you have? You can begin this self-examination by looking at the courses you took in high school and college. What were your best subjects? Is there a pattern there? What kinds of extracurricular activities did you participate in while in high school or college? What kinds of things did you learn from part-time or summer jobs?

3.  Examination of your value in work

Examples of values include: helping society, working under pressure, group affiliation, stability, security, status, working alone or with groups, having a positive impact on others, and many others.

3.  Career exploration

If you are interested in exploring careers, try the Career Assessment Program. This service is free to enrolled students through the Career Center. You may either work individually with a counselor or enroll in a career exploration class. Please call the Career Center at 541-346-3235 for more information.

4.  Reality check

You need to honestly evaluate your options. Do you value physicians and have an interest in being a doctor, but have little skills in science? Does your desired occupation require an advanced degree, but your future commitments preclude graduate study? Do you have a strong interest in the arts, but your family is convinced you will become a CPA like your father? There are often ways to get around some of the obstacles during the reality check, but it is still important to face these obstacles and be realistic about whether you can overcome them.

Until you have decided on a major, taking a variety of courses that sound interesting and/or satisfy general education requirements can help you explore different majors and make progress toward graduation. In addition, don’t forget to check out our free workshop, “You Majored in What?” offered every term. If you need any further assistance choosing a major, make an appointment with an advisor a 541-346-3211.

How do I declare or change a major (or minor)?

  1. Go to the department office for the major or minor that interests you. The Office of Academic Advising in 101 Oregon Hall is your new department if you are changing to "Exploring" from another major.
    1. NOTE:  Exploring majors must declare a major or pre-major by the end of 4th week of their sixth term (first-time freshmen) or their third term (transfer students).   Students who have not declared within that time frame will receive a registration PIN and must speak with an advisor before they can register for their next term.  Students are eligible to change their major at any time, however, it is imperative to speak with an advisor first before changing a major.
  2. At the department, let them know you would like to declare or switch into the major. Before you do this, it is a good idea to meet with an advisor in that department, even if it is not required by the department. Some departments are quite selective about who they accept into their programs, so you might need to familiarize yourself with an application process, deadlines, etc. Complete any paperwork the department requires and follow their procedures.
  3. If you already have declared a major and you are declaring a second major, make sure you clearly state this intention to the new department.