Tips for How to Choose a Major

What fuels you?

It’s a big question, and one that you don’t need to have all figured out right now. College is, above all things, an opportunity to explore your passions and discover for yourself what kind of impact you want to make on the world around you.

The first step in that journey is choosing a major. Picking a major can be  intimidating but what’s important to remember is that it’s not permanent. At Portland State you can double major, major and minor, or even change your major part way through your education.  At PSU there are more than 120 majors, minors and concentrations for you to choose from. We’ll help you find your passion.

So, how do you choose? Here’s our tips.


1.  Ask yourself: What are my interests?

For most students, choosing a major isn’t just about career options. Rather, the choice is based on what they are passionate about. Looking back on which subjects you loved in school, volunteer opportunities that influenced you, or even the jobs of your role models can help make the choice a lot easier. What’s most important is what YOU want, not what others want for you.

2.  Compare your interests with PSU’s list of degree programs.

PSU has tons of majors to choose from, and thinking about which programs will best match up with your interests is a good way to narrow down your choices.

Love comic books and graphic novels? Try our Comics Studies program, one of the few programs of its kind in the country. Into nature? Try Geology or Environmental Science. Want to help people? We have some of the most involved Social Work and Pre-Health programs in the Pacific Northwest.

3.  Get out of your comfort zone.

Because PSU offers so many different fields of study, there are thousands of unique, interesting classes to take regardless of major or degree track. Most majors on campus encourage exploring electives and courses outside of one specific degree program so that students can gain a broader range of experiences and knowledge.

4.  Don’t worry if you haven’t figured it out just yet.

Entering as an Undecided/Exploratory major is not something that will keep you from graduating in four years. It’s not uncommon for new students to be unsure of what they want to study, and we understand this. The University Studies programs provides Undecided majors the opportunity to explore classes in a wide range of majors, but never pressures students to choose a program if they are not ready.

5.  Check out Advising and Career Services.

The Office of Advising and Career Services is an on-campus resource specifically designed to help students find their passions and land careers that use the skills they learn in the classroom.

Counselors in Advising and Career Services can help put you in touch with programs on campus that share your interests, as well as help you get started on a specific degree track. They are there to help you, and meeting with them is covered by your student fees.


No need for anxiety! Picking a major doesn’t have to be a stressful decision for you. Whether you are ready to dive into your field of study and know exactly what your major is going to work towards, or if you need some more time and want to get in the rhythm of college life, Portland State is here to support you.

Explore PSU’s 120+ majors, minors and certifications!