Choosing a Major

Your major is only one element of your intellectual experience at Princeton, but it will determine the main focus of your studies for your final two years at Princeton. So, you will want to select a department that is a good fit for your interests, talents and goals.

You might ask yourself: In what department will the requirements, course offerings and independent work allow me to study what I love? Where will I excel and develop the specific skills that matter to me? Where will I learn things that will help me make a difference in the world? And where will I find the community of mentors and peers best suited to me?

Bear in mind that while your major is a significant part of your Princeton experience, what you learn in your major will be complemented by your other coursework, certificates, internships, study abroad experiences and extracurriculars. Moreover, every Princeton major teaches you to think critically and creatively, perform research and communicate your ideas — skills that will serve you well whatever your path after graduation. 

We encourage you to thoughtfully explore different departments in your first two years at Princeton before deciding which one is best for you. One of the best ways to explore is to sample potential majors by simply taking courses in them. In addition, there are an abundance of advising resources available at Princeton to guide you. 

  • Every department and some certificate programs hold open houses in March and April.
  • Departmental Representatives are experts on each major’s curriculum and requirements, and they approve you to enter the major in April of your sophomore year. 
  • For a student perspective you can talk to student representatives designated by each department or to peer advisers.
  • Departmental websites are a treasure trove of information, including links to independent work guides for each major.
  • Your faculty adviser may not be in the department(s) you are considering, but all advisers are experienced sounding boards who know about a range of disciplines and the prerequisites for various departments. They also know you, so they can help you figure out the right fit for you. 
  • The Career Services website showcases each academic department, offering a list of the diverse internships and career paths taken by Princeton students and alumni in that area of study.
  • The following programs also have websites that should be helpful to you as you consider the connection between majors and various possible career choices: Pre-law, Pre-business, Health Professions Advising Office, Program in Teacher Preparation
  • Other programs, such as the Pace Center, the Community Based Learning Initiative, Study Abroad, and the International Internship Program, may seem less obviously related to major selection, but they are also excellent resources for thinking about the larger world and how you might tailor or supplement your program of study for specific opportunities after Princeton
  • Finally, your residential college dean and director of studies are also available to talk to you about your choices.