Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Undeclared Students & Major Exploration
How do I choose a major?
There’s no step-by-step procedure for choosing a major that fits you, but there are a few ways to help narrow down your choices.
- Use the UCSB General Catalog to review requirements & course descriptions for different majors.
- Choose General Education courses that apply to majors you’re considering.
- Speak with staff, professors, or the departmental undergraduate advisor of the departments you’re interested in. Many departments also have peer advisors who can tell you about their own experiences in a particular major. You can find departments’ contact info and website in the UCSB General Catalog.
- Visit Career Services to research career opportunities.
- Make an appointment with an Undeclared & Transitions Program academic advisor to discuss your interests and options.
How do I know if I'm in the right major?
The “right” major is one you find interesting and are motivated to study!
You may be in the right major if:
- You can’t wait to attend classes in your major.
- The material you study is fun and interesting.
- You have trouble picking which major classes to take because you want to take everything that is being offered.
- You frequently find yourself thinking about ideas brought up in lecture.
- You talk about topics in your major in regular conversation with friends.
- You pursue opportunities outside of class (research, field trips, additional assignments) in your major field of study.
- You do well in your major classes.
What is the difference between a pre-major and a major?
Some departments at UCSB have a pre-major that must be completed before students can declare into the full major. A pre-major consists of a subset of that undergraduate major’s degree requirements. Students generally must complete this pre-major and meet a GPA requirement in those required courses before declaring into the full major. To determine whether the major you are interested in has a pre-major, please consult the Undergraduate Major Directory in the UCSB General Catalog.
How do I change/declare my pre-major or major?
The procedure for changing or declaring your major is the same: simply visit your new major department’s office (not the College of Letters and Science). You can find their contact info in the General Catalog
or by looking up the department’s website and checking under “Staff” or “Undergraduate Advising.” The timing of when a student can declare a pre-major or major and the requirements for doing so vary from department to department. Consulting the department’s website for this information is a key first step. If you have any questions about these requirements, please consult the department undergraduate advisor or designated staff member. When you have met the requirements for declaring or changing your pre-major or major, the department undergraduate advisor or staff member will assist you in completing a Change of Major Petition
in order to make your choice official. They will also gather the necessary signatures on your behalf.
How do I change colleges to the College of Engineering or College of Creative Studies?
Changing colleges into the College of Engineering or College of Creative Studies involves an application process, and acceptance to the college & major is NOT guaranteed. See below for more information and refer to the appropriate college’s advising office for questions about the process.
- College of Engineering (COE): Please refer to COE’s website for more information about the change of major/college process, as the requirements to apply to an engineering major differ across majors. Students interested in changing majors into the College of Engineering should consult the appropriate major advisor.
- College of Creative Studies (CCS): Please refer to CCS’s website for more information about the change of major/college process, as the requirements to apply to a CCS major differ across majors. Students interested in changing majors into the College of Creative Studies should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
When ready to apply for a change of college, contact your new major department/college advising office. They will assist you in completing the Change of College petition
and handle gathering the necessary signatures on your behalf.
What’s a “good” major for making sure I can find a job after I graduate?
The most important thing to remember is that your major does not equal your career. With very few exceptions, majors do not determine a linear career path. Your undergraduate career is an opportunity to develop the mindsets, transferable skills, and experiences for which employers are looking.
Generally, there are also poor correlations between majors and income. Rather, what studies do indicate is that a strong academic performance leads to more opportunities and success in a major often allows students to build strong networks that can support them as they transition into their next steps after university, whether that is a job, internship, or graduate or professional program. Finding a major that is a good fit for you and in which you can excel is one vital part of establishing a strong foundation for your path after UCSB.
I’m undeclared. By when do I have to declare a major?
Students need to declare a major by the start of their junior year (90 units). If you do not declare a major by this time, you will be notified by email that your registration will be blocked.