Major Exploration Guide

Major to Career Relationship

No matter what your major, career planning is a key part of preparing for life after graduation.

Employers will value your degree, but will often care more about your transferable skills than about your particular major.

Every major offers internship opportunities. You can also earn academic credit for internships through CLAS. (Note: these units may be elective or may apply to a major or minor; you must speak to an academic advisor in each major to find out how these units may apply toward your program of study.) For more on earning internship credit through CLAS, contact Sylvia Mioduski.

Among the most valued professional skills are excellent communication, strong research and analytical thinking, leadership abilities, computer competence, willingness to adapt, ability to manage time and juggle priorities, and the ability to get along with others. These are the types of skills you learn through any major and hone with part-time jobs, internships, volunteer work, and participation in clubs and organizations.

How do you get career experience? Career Services has terrific resources to help you.

Career Services also offers individualized career counseling to help you make and implement your career plans.

Q: What is the relationship between majors and careers?

The relationship can vary. Some majors (e.g., nursing, engineering, architecture) offer the opportunity to gain licensure or credentialing. Most majors, however, give perspectives, theories, and skills valuable in all kinds of professional endeavors. Therefore, the best major for you is one that matches your interests, academic strengths, and values.

For example:

  • Use your History degree to become a sports broadcaster (like Chris Berman of ESPN) or a business tycoon (Martha Stewart).
  • Take your Sociology degree and go to law school (like First Lady Michelle Obama).
  • Your Psychology degree could open doors in the field of entertainment (it certainly did for Director Jerry Bruckheimer and television show host Jon Stewart).
  • Simpson’s creator Matt Groening, meanwhile, went the Philosophy route.

Not sure what you can do with a major of interest? Check out this fantastic website to discover the many directions a major can take you! (Note: The UA does not offer all of these majors, though we do offer most of them. For more on what majors are available at the UA, check out Degree Search.)

Most majors open all kinds of professional doors. You don't need to know which of the 10,000+ occupational titles out there has your name on it to choose a major that can keep all the right doors open for whatever your future holds!

Q: I'm interested in a specific career. What is the best major to choose?

Most careers do not require specific credentialing. What they do require is the right combination of academic and career preparation.

Start by finding out the Training, Qualifications, and Credentialing needed to pursue a career in the field you’re interested in. Two fantastic resources: the Occupational Outlook Handbook and the University of Arizona’s Career Services office.

Some career fields (e.g., nutrition, education) require credentialing that is offered at the UA. Other career fields (e.g., interior design, culinary arts) require credentialing that may be offered elsewhere. Still other fields (e.g., advertising, human services, retailing) require specific experience in the field, regardless of major. Knowing what is important to future employers —and often, what’s important is not which major you completed—is the key to making sure you are prepared for life after graduation.

 

Major Exploration