The Major Dilemma about Majors

Hello, happy people! I hope your summers are being spent tanning, relaxing, Netflix-ing, and starting your college planning. ….What? Too soon, you say? It’s never too soon! Just because school isn’t in session doesn’t mean you should put off your application process! It can be as simple as creating a CommonApp account, deciding what to write your essay about, or even narrowing down which schools you’ll apply to come fall.

For your application to NYU, you will apply directly to a program within one of our 10 undergraduate colleges. Dean Shawn Abbott gave some advice last fall about selecting programs and alternate programs of interest on your application.

But with 230+ majors and minors….how do you decide on just one?

Choosing a major will involve a lot of tab-opening and comparing programs within NYU. That’s okay! Research is good! Check out the advice from one of our student bloggers earlier this year with how to pick your major. Remember that a major will typically involve 8-10 courses, or 32-40 credits, depending on the program.

Once you are offered admission and become an NYU student in the fall, you can start the discussion with your academic advisor about a possible double major….or even taking on a minor!

To put it simply, NYU students can only select a secondary major within the College of Arts and Science. If your main academic interests are in the other nine colleges at NYU, I’d recommend you apply to that program as your primary, especially if it involves an artistic review.

Of course, selecting a double-major will depend on which program you’re admitted to. For example, students in The School of Professional Studies are not able to double major, given the program’s curriculum and requirements.

And keep in mind that most undergraduates declare their majors during their sophomore (second) year. You will typically have some flexibility to explore the academic options within your college while fulfilling your Core Curriculum requirements.

As per our Undergraduate Advisement website,

“…rules for majors, double major/minor and other special programs vary by school and field of study. Cross-school minors, majors, and combined degrees are not offered or applicable in all schools/divisions. The decision to add a second major or minor may involve the need for prerequisite coursework, registration for additional terms of study, or other factors that should be considered carefully. Advisors can help students understand their options and make informed choices as part of an integrated overall plan.”

With cross-school minors, you can certainly select one from a college other than your own. Think of minors as “complementary” to your major’s coursework, to “allow you to diversify your undergraduate studies, pursue other passions, and enhance your professional preparedness.” Minors typically consist of 4-5 courses (16-20 credits) in a particular subject.

So if you want to graduate with two majors, it’s going to involve some early planning on your and your advisor’s part. But we believe in you!

On a final note, remember that your major should NOT define or confine you (one of my favorite quotes from a student Ambassador, and basically my mantra for life).

Whether you have a particular career in mind post-graduation or you’re just looking to nerd out about a subject (or two!) that you love, your undergraduate coursework is your own. Deciding on a major/double major/minor is no picnic, but it’s a soul-searching adventure that will leave you much more academically fulfilled than ever before.

Hope that helps alleviate some ‘major’ confusion (ba dum BSSHH)! As always, if you have more questions about majors and anything I’ve mentioned, give us a call or send an email!

3 Comments

  • Would it put an applicant in a disadvantageous situation if he/she applied ‘undecided’ to CAS? Thanks!

  • Thanks for sharing your reflects. My cousin is in the exact same situation like you. I have been helping him a bit and I felt I needed to know more to advise him probably. I fund all the information I was looking for and I will share the like with him.

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