Choosing a Major

Howdy! We’re glad to have the opportunity to serve all of our great students like you!

If you’re here, you probably have an idea about some careers in which you might be interested. If not, we recommend that you do a little research to get a better idea about that. We have some steps to help guide you in that process which can be found here. Otherwise, let’s start looking at some majors that are available to you. At any time, if you have questions, we encourage you to Think the Link! Our staff is here to support you.

The first thing you’ll want to know is what kind of degree you want to earn.
You may have some questions about what the different degrees mean.

What are undergrad and postgrad?

The word “grad” here refers to, of course, graduation. More specifically, it refers to graduation with a bachelor’s degree.  An undergrad student, then, is one who is pursuing an associate’s or bachelor’s degree since neither requires that the student already hold a bachelor’s degree as a prerequisite. Grad and postgrad are two words that mean the same thing. A grad, or postgrad, student is one who is pursuing a degree for which a bachelor’s degree is a prerequisite, such as a master’s or doctoral degree.

Some useful information about understanding college basics can be found here.

What are the undergrad degrees?

Typical undergrad degrees are associates and bachelor’s degrees. An associate’s is often called a 2-year degree, while a bachelor’s is often called a 4-year degree. However, students often take more than 2 or 4 years to complete those degrees, respectively. Most of the undergrad degrees offered at UALR are bachelor’s degrees, although there are a few associate degrees offered.

Associate's? Bachelor's?

An associate’s degree often only requires about half of the number of credits that a bachelor’s degree requires. However, associate’s degrees tend to be more general, in terms of what students study, when compared to bachelor’s degrees. Associate’s degrees might also be for technical or vocational proficiency. Often, but not always, an associate’s degree is considered to be a lower level of education than a bachelor’s.

What are the postgrad degrees?

Postgrad degrees are those that typically require that students hold a bachelor’s degree before they are allowed to begin their studies for that degree. In terms of level of education, there tends to be three tiers. A graduate certificate is a program that typically takes only a year to finish and is at the lowest level of postgrad education. The next level of education is the master’s degree, which typically takes about two years to complete. Doctoral degrees are considered the highest level of education, and typically take anywhere from four to eight years to complete.

What's the deal with bachelor of arts/science?

Both are considered to have the same level of education. Typically, a bachelor of science degree will have a more restrictive curriculum, while a bachelor of arts degree allows students more flexibility when choosing courses.

Okay, so now you know a little bit more about the types of degrees. Let’s help you find a major that you want to declare.

We are going to focus on undergrad degrees, but always remember that you can continue your education after you graduate with your bachelor’s degree. If you would like to know more about the graduate programs we offer in the College of Sciences and Communication click here or you can Think the Link! Our staff is here to support you with researching grad programs.

Below are some steps that should help you along your way in researching careers, or you can see this whole process as a pdf here.

How to Choose a Major in 10 Easy Steps

By Rachel Jones

1. Look at the list of majors

Here is a list of all undergrad majors that UALR offers. We recommend that you print out this list. Then you can highlight majors in which you are interested and cross out those in which you are not. You can even highlight or cross out whole sections!

For information on majors in the College of Social Sciences and Communication, click here.

While looking at this list, keep in mind your interests, personality, skills, and passions.

2. Research each major

Go to each majors’ UALR website to read what the major has to say about itself.

3. Narrow your search

Now that you know a little more about the majors you highlighted from step one, cross off any majors in which you are no longer interested.

4. Assess your career interest

Note: You can’t expect any interest survey to be 100% accurate–but they can give you some food for thought.

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5. Do more research

6. Narrow your search again

Now that you know a little more about careers associated with the majors you still had from step three, cross off any majors in which you are no longer interested.

7. Visit faculty

Make appointments with faculty from majors in which you are still considering. Ask questions using the research you’ve done.

8. Speak with your support network

Think the Link! Speak with an advisor in the Link. Our staff is here to support you with further narrowing your major options. Also speak with your family and friends about your options.

9. Narrow your search again

By now you should have a pretty small list. Give it one last thought, and then narrow it down to just one or two majors (two, if you are considering a double-major). If you’re finding it difficult to choose between two or three majors, keep in mind that you can always choose to declare a program as a minor.

10. Declare your major!

Students cannot declare their major on their own. Only a faculty member from the desired major, or a student support staff member from the major’s college can declare majors for students.  Contact the major’s department or college to set up an appointment to get your major declared.

Also, you can always Think the Link! Our staff is here to assist you with declaring your major. If you wish to declare a major that is not in the College of Social Sciences and Communication, our staff cannot declare you, but we can put you in touch with folks who can!

Let’s recap: you now know the difference between an undergrad and postgrad degree, you’ve done some research on the majors that are available to you, and you might be ready to declare a major. Great news! You’re now just an appointment away from declaring your major. Think the Link! Our staff is here to assist you with declaring your major.

CSSC Majors