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Choosing a Major or Minor
Finding the right major for you is a process. As you take more courses at Stony Brook, you will discover what you like, what you are good at, and what makes sense for you. We recommend you select your major by the middle of your sophomore year or by the 57th credit, so you have some time to explore.
Keep in mind that for most careers, there is not a specific major that best suits you for the job. Believe it or not, you don’t have to be a Bio major to go to med school! Art History majors can go to med school, as long as they take the pre-med requirements. Most majors on campus can give you the transferrable skills you need to prepare you for most careers. Check out the Career Center Website for some more information about the surprising relationships between majors and careers.
You may be surprised at the kinds of careers students with different majors typically go into. See a list of majors and corresponding careers.
Feel free to take a look at some of the different steps outlined below! We are here to meet you where you currently are during the process of declaring a major/minor area of study and these steps will help you be proactive in understanding your academic career, as a student and beyond!
Step 1: Explore!
- Check out the list of degree programs Stony Brook has to offer.
- Read the chapter on Academic Planning and Career Exploration in your First-Year Seminar textbook.
- You may want to try taking CAR 110, a career exploration course designed for freshmen and sophomores. See the description of CAR 110.
Step 2: Talk to people!
- Undergraduate College Advisor: Talk to your Undergraduate College Advisor about your ideas and how you might try introductory courses to explore these areas of interest.
- Career Counselors: Talk to the Career Counselors about what your career interests are and how that might relate to a major. The Career Center administers personality tests and aptitude tests to help you get ideas about what you might enjoy.
- Major Advisor/Undergraduate Program Director: Talk to the Advisor or the Program Director in your area of interest to discuss the nature of the program, how you can complete the major, and any questions you might have.
Step 3: Try it out
Take an introductory class in your areas of interest. See if you like it! As you explore classes by taking electives or courses that fulfill SBC objectives you need, you may also discover something you had never considered. Our philosophy is that you need to select a major that you like that likes you back--a major that you enjoy and that you are also good at.
Step 4: Declare
You can change your major as many times as you want. Just make sure you have spoken to an advisor about how that major change might affect your expected graduation date.
What is a minor?
A minor is a secondary area of study that allows you to explore an additional area of interest. Unlike a second major, a minor typically requires fewer credits, so it takes less time to complete. Minors are often in a very different subject area than your major, and help provide balance and diversity to a your field of expertise.
Six reasons to declare a minor:
- If you are a Business major, a minor in a different area of study is required.
- If you are interested in another area and want to explore both, but you do not have time to satisfy the requirements of a second major.
- A minor may help you think about your major in a different way. For example, a Physics major with a Music minor may develop new and interesting ways to think about the physical properties of sound.
- Many minors, especially in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences allow you to finish a considerable number of SBC objectives as part of the minor. This organizes your remaining SBC objectives within your second area of interest.
- Declaring a minor in a very different field from your major may help your application stand out when applying for jobs or to graduate schools.
- Your minor may open up new fields or career opportunities for you.
How to declare a minor
To declare an academic minor, you will use the Major/Minor Declaration Form and follow similar instructions as declaring your academic major.
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