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Choosing a Major at Portland State

Before choosing a major, you should know something about yourself. Consider your interests, values, and skills. Begin researching career fields that fit your interests. As you begin to understand your career interests, choosing a major becomes much easier. Generally, the best major will be the one that interests and challenges you. Ideally, you should enjoy the classes in your major.

Many students are concerned about how selecting a major translates to a potential career. To further explore a major that is of interest to you, become familiar with the major requirements, read the course descriptions, and talk with the faculty within the academic department.

There are a variety of resources at Portland State to help you with decisions about your major and career interests. What is important to remember is that employers are seeking to hire new graduates who are skilled in communication (oral, written, and computer) and critical thinking (analyzing information, solving problems), and who have interpersonal skills (teamwork and/or leadership experience), a strong work ethic, and most importantly, a commitment to lifelong learning.

All majors can assist you in developing the skills for which employers are looking. However, this is not to say that there will be a job waiting for you upon graduation. Employers also want relevant work experience beyond academic studies. Students who invest time in the career decision-making process by preparing to gain real-world work experience will be successful in the job search process. In today's job market you can expect to have several career changes, and the longer you are in the job market, the less important your major becomes. The skills you acquire as you work will eventually be more important in determining your career path. Participating in internships will also provide you with valuable insights and experiences.