Step Three:

 graphic with text: Choosing A Major

Choosing a Major

The following steps may help you to narrow down your focus of study: 

  • Familiarize yourself with the majors offered at SF State.  You will find a list of the different colleges here and the many majors listed below.  Many departments will describe the Career Outlook for majors in the bulletin for students to identify some possible career paths for the described major.
  • From what you have learned about different majors, compile a list of majors that you may be interested in completing. To gain more information about these majors, see what else you can learn about majors by reviewing their department websites.

As you read about the major...

Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • Does the subject matter of the major interest you?
  • Look at the required classes for the major and read the course descriptions for the major to see how much you think you will like the classes.  Do only a few look interesting or a lot of them?  Ideally you want to find a major where you are interested in most of the coursework. 
  • Look at the flexibility within the major.  Are there class options you can choose yourself? Are there a lot of elective units within the major you can choose? Is it flexible enough that you will get to take the courses you are most interested in?
  • Do you have one or more possible future career goals in mind? Does this major offer a pathway to a career of interest? Many careers do not require a specific undergraduate major. However, some majors may prepare you more for a potential future occupation than other majors. 
  • How many units do you need to complete to obtain the major?  Most BA majors are around 40 units and BS majors can be 50 plus units up to 90 units depending on the major.  The size of your major will determine if you will need elective units or if you will potentially have room for a minor to reach the 120 units required for graduation. 
  • Determine if the major is impacted. If the major is impacted, you will need to apply to the major by a deadline provided by the department, and most impacted majors require pre-requisite courses. 
  • How long will it take for you to complete the major? Are there prerequisites or lower division courses that must be completed before enrolling in upper division courses?   Many majors have courses with pre-requisites and some majors have sequential courses that must be completed in order. In some majors, especially for Bachelor’s of Science degrees, it can be very challenging to enroll full time in major courses. Are there courses in the major that are difficult to enroll in because of student demand?

Click a College

*clicking a link will open to a new tab/window to an overview description of the major/program.

Communicative Disorders*  

*This is the only undergraduate major in the Graduate College of Education.

Rank Your Majors

Rank your majors. Research your top majors further by visiting the department offices, talking to faculty, staff, and students in the major.  This will give you a better understanding of the major from a variety of perspectives before committing to a major.   

  • Share your story of how you identified the major not only with SF State faculty and staff. Consider sharing with someone who knows you well, and would be able to judge whether a major may be a good fit for you.
  • Get faculty and staff perspectives on how they see the major, and what they think you’ll like or dislike about the major. 
  • Get the student perspective through speaking with peer advisers, students in the major classes, or students in a major related club. While a major may sound good or look good on paper, students have experienced the coursework and instructors themselves. What have the liked or disliked about the major and the courses? What have they liked or disliked about the instructors? Is the major more exam based, paper based, etc.? Are exams short answer, essay, or multiple choice based?

Re-Rank Your Majors Again

Re-rank your majors again. Based on the new information, you may have stronger preferences towards certain majors.  

Identify prerequisites and/or introductory courses that may help you make a decision about your top majors or make progress in the major if you have already chosen one.  You might want to ask the faculty and staff of your top choice majors for their course recommendations.  You can use these courses as priority registration courses for next semester.       

Get involved in the major or field. Is there an internship class for the major? Are there volunteer or work opportunities that may give you hands on experience and insight into this field? Is there a related club on campus that you can join?  Check in with faculty and staff in the major departments as they may be able to help you with some ideas.