MIT: Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyClass of 2017

Majors and Minors: Advice on Making Your Choice

Choosing a major is an important decision to make during the first year of college. The Office of Undergraduate Advising and Academic Programming (UAAP) recognizes this significance and provides the information in this section to assist you in the process.

Declaring your Major

All freshmen must declare their major during the spring term of their freshman year. The process for declaring your major is outlined below.

  • By Friday, April 25: Arrange to meet with your advisor to discuss your Choice of Major decision. Every freshman is expected to either declare a major or declare him/herself to be an Undesignated Sophomore by this date.
  • The Course Selection form is available for download as a PDF document. You will need to print a copy of the form and check off your departmental choice. Note that both you and your advisor must sign the form.
  • Signed Course Selection forms must be submitted to the Student Services Center, room 11-120 by April 25.

In making the decision, ask yourself some questions:

Examine your interests, skills, experiences, motivations, and goals.

  • 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.

Explore your options and gather information:

Start by exploring the Course 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.

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.

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.

Additional resources:P

Global Education and Career Development (GECD) is another great resource on this topic. Their staff can help you discuss how to connect your major to different careers and how to incorporate global opportunities into your studies. They also offer tips on Choosing a Major.

UAAP staff are also available to discuss your options with you. To make an appointment with one of us, write to