Major Exploration

Major and Career Exploration

Some students come to Princeton with a major in mind. Others are open to possibilities. There are many factors to consider, and it's common to have questions. This section will help you begin evaluating your options. Remember to consult with your academic adviser(s) and consult the University's Major Choices site as well.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing Your Major

Assess Yourself      

  • What do you enjoy? Consider classes and extracurricular activities you liked and excelled at in the past. What did they involve? Why did you enjoy them?
  • What are you good at? Identify your skills and abilities. What types of things do you seem to do well? Are they technical? Intellectual? Creative?
  • What is important to you? Consider your values. Is enjoying your work more important than prestige? Is creativity more important than security? 
  • How do you work? Do you prefer working one-on-one or in groups? Do you make logical decisions or follow intuition? Your personality can influence the nature of the work and majors you may prefer.

Gather Information about Majors

  • Do some fact-finding. Examine majors in the Undergraduate Announcement. Skim course descriptions and mark those that sound interesting.
  • Go online. Look at the Web pages of individual academic departments to research requirements.
  • Attend events. Visit the Majors Fair in the fall and Department Open Houses in the spring.
  • Network. Meet with departmental representatives, deans, directors of studies, advisors, peer academic advisors, career counselors, peer career advisors, faculty, upperclassmen and alumni to discuss majors and career paths.

Explore Your Options         

  • Learn from others. Search the TigerNet Alumni Directory and Alumni Careers Network for alumni volunteers by major. 
  • Sample majors. Enroll in courses from possible majors during your first two years, and aim to fulfill University and distribution requirements.
  • Visit. If you cannot take a class, consider sitting in as a guest (if possible).
  • Immerse yourself. Attend relevant campus lectures. Seek out Career Services events, including alumni speakers and career panels. 
  • Visit the fair. Attend the fall Majors Fair to meet departmental students and faculty. Also attend departmental open houses in the spring.
  • Enjoy a day (or three) in the life. Apply for the Princeternship program for an externship experience with an alumni host.

Evaluate and Decide          

  • Review. Consider what you have learned from self-assessment and research.
  • Weigh the pros and cons. If you haven’t, narrow down to two or three options.
  • Can't decide? Consider a certificate program if torn between two majors.

Career Services Can Help

Meet with a career counselor to discuss taking an interest inventory or personality assessment, which can help clarify your values, interests, personality and skills.