How to explore majors

As the major declaration date approaches, many first-year students are nervous about making the decision. This resource by Yan Wu shares some of the great resources on the major exploration process:


Self-assessment is a great way to help you identify your strengths and interests. Depending on your preference, you might be able to find a place to start your research on major selection. 

Currently, CAPD offers the following assessments by appointment:

  • StrengthsQuest
  • Strong Interest Inventory
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
  • CareerLeader
  • SkillScan

Feel free to schedule an appointment with a CAPD career advisor to see if any of the assessments meet your needs.

Planning your career

Instead of focusing only on majors, one could also think about their career plan and use it to determine what kind of major might be the most helpful in pursuing the field.

For example, if you are interested in medical school, you might want to pursue a major with biology or chemistry coursework, which could fulfill some of the med school prerequisites and help prepare you for classes in med school. However, as major doesn’t equal to career, you could apply to med school with any major.

  • Linkedin: From the MIT LinkedIn page, use the “Alumni” tab to browse through upperclassmen and alumni of different majors and their career paths.
  • Handshake: Browse through jobs and necessary skill sets required

This is simply a helpful way to narrow your possibilities! Choosing a major does not limit you to only one career choice, and choosing a career path does not limit you to only one possible major.

Ask around

People around you are the best resources for personalized advice. Hearing about their stories could provide great insight into the major-picking process. Here are some ways you could start the conversation:

  • Who you can ask
  • Questions you can ask:
    • Why did you choose this major?
    • What skill have you learned from your major?
    • What are some of the possible career options for your major?
    • What do you like and dislike about your major?
    • What other major did you consider?

Resources offered by CAPD

CAPD provides many great resources that help students to not only explore different majors but also pursue long-term career goals. Some include:

Past surveys

MIT students all love numbers, and surveys are the best way to visually see students’ experiences within different majors and what experience the majors could offer. 

Most importantly, try it yourself!

Here is a list of more MIT resources and programs to get hands-on experience:

Although there are many ways and resources for you to find out your interest, you should never feel pressured to make the decision!

Remember, if you are not ready to declare your major yet in the spring of your first year, there is always the “undeclared” option for you. Plus, switching majors is very common, even in junior or senior year.

No matter which major you decide to pursue, it will never define you and your future career.

Want to see the presentation version of this information? See the PDF below!

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By Yan Wu ’24