Get to Know Your Major

Beth Spencer, Ph.D.

How can you know whether a major is a good fit?

In your first semester, you may be enrolled in what is often referred to as “core”: your English, math, and introductory courses in the lab sciences, humanities, and social sciences.  Georgia Tech students therefore sometimes feel frustrated because they have to “wait” a year or more before they begin taking “real” courses in their major: those at the 2000-level and higher.  But there are many ways to explore and connect with your major prior to enrolling in upper-level courses:

  • Become familiar with your major’s academic program.

Understanding the prerequisites, sequences, and suggested scheduling of courses can help you get an idea of what you will need to master in your first few semesters in order to be successful in your major.  The course titles and descriptions of the more advanced courses in your major may not make much sense to you now, but should motivate you to do a bit of research to determine whether you will find them interesting.  You should know the number of electives your major offers, what type of senior or capstone project is required, and whether you can choose a concentration, cluster, or participate in options like the International Plan.

  • Visit your program’s website.

You can gather much of this type of information from the Tech websites, but you should also take advantage of opportunities to talk to others about majors.

  • Meet with advisors, mentors, and program ambassadors.

Academic advisors, peer mentors or program ambassadors, faculty, career counselors, alumni, and other students are great resources for determining whether a major is the right one for you.  There are several questions listed at the end of this section to help you start these conversations.

  • Map your major.

Your GT 1000 instructor may assign a “major mapping” activity, but all students can benefit from the process of drafting a 4- or 5-year plan to complete their major, especially if they then share and review it with an academic advisor.

All materials in this section are licensed under Creative Commons BY-NC 4.0.