Colgate University Libraries


Justin Etinger


Choosing a college major is an important decision in any undergraduate college student’s academic career. For many students it represents the first time that they have significant say in the making of a major educational decision that directly affects their future. The undergraduate major defines what department the majority of their courses will be taken in, what types of learning and research they will be conducting, and with whom they will surround themselves with in the classroom. As part of a culmination of over four decades of research on college’s affects on students, Pascarella and Terenzini (2005) make a definitive conclusion: “undergraduate academic major can play a significant, if not always totally consistent, role in one’s career” (p. 500). While this is an inevitable and crucial choice that students must make, various avenues open to investigate the influencing factors behind a student’s choice of major, and to research the purported consistent role that it plays in career outcomes.