Discovering Your Major

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As you embark on your college careers, some of you have no idea what you want to major in, others can’t decide between several possibilities, and some of you feel you know exactly what you’d like to study if only we would let you declare your major immediately! The first thing to bear in mind is that you won’t choose your major for another year or two, depending on whether you are a B.S.E. or A.B. candidate. In the meantime, take the time to explore! College is a place for discovering new interests as well as deepening familiar ones.

There are many factors to consider when choosing a major – where your interests and talents lie, how you hope to make a difference in the world, and where you will find the best intellectual community of faculty and fellow students. Many of you may also be thinking ahead to potential career paths, but bear in mind that you will develop valuable insights and skills in every major, and any major can lead in a variety of interesting directions. (See the Career Services majors page for a few examples from recent graduates.) So, don’t hesitate to study what you love!

There are many resources at your disposal to help you explore majors, including your faculty adviser, peer advisers, B.S.E. “interactors,” faculty departmental representatives, your college dean and director of studies, and, to the extent that your career plans may influence your choice of major, the Office of Career Services and the Office of Health Professions Advising. In addition, throughout the year, there will be advising fairs and numerous events that will give you an opportunity to become acquainted with each major. The Choosing Your Major web page provides you with an excellent portal to the advising resources at your disposal.

Above all, remember that your major, while important, is only one component of your academics and will be complemented by other classwork, and every major at Princeton offers rich rewards!

Author Profile

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Matthew Lazen
Director of Studies, Butler College

Welcome to Princeton! I’m just finishing my eleventh year as director of studies at Butler College. As director of studies, I oversee freshman and sophomore advising at Butler, and I’m also responsible for academic and cultural programming in the college. In that role, I helped create Butler's Innovation Space for entrepreneurial students and helped found Open Mic Night @ Wu Café, which takes place about one Friday a month. Before coming to Princeton, I taught in Harvard’s History and Literature program, and I received my Ph.D. in French literature and film at Duke. I’ve also just finished a doctorate in higher education at NYU, where I wrote a dissertation on branch campuses of American universities abroad, such as NYU Abu Dhabi. In my free time, I like to go in to New York to explore neighborhoods or see live music, museums, dance, theater, and movies. I’m also a huge basketball fan (Duke, of course, along with our amazing Tigers – both men and women). You can also see me frequently around campus reading in Small World Coffee or working out in Dillon Gym. Don’t hesitate to come over and chat!

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