Choosing a Major

Your major is a significant part of your intellectual experience at Princeton, so you will want to select a department that is a good fit for your interests, talents, values, and goals. However, bear in mind that 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. Even if you feel certain about one major, it’s wise to have alternatives in case you have second thoughts, encounter unexpected obstacles, or simply discover you like another field even more!

One of the best ways to explore is to sample potential majors by simply taking courses in them. We have also provided you these Self-Assessment Questions to help you think about your interests, goals, and talents in relation to your major. Finally, there is an abundance of advising resources available at Princeton to guide you. 

Resources and Events to Help You Choose a Major

  • A.B. departments and some certificate programs hold open houses in March and April. The six B.S.E. departments hold an evening of open houses at the beginning of April to which all first-year students are welcome. 
  • Departmental Directors of Undergraduate Studies 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 undergraduates majoring in the department or 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. 
  • Your residential college dean and assistant dean are also available to talk to you about your choices.
  • Sophomore class advising events early in the fall semester and throughout the year offer guidance on major selection and other important decisions and opportunities presented to sophomores.
  • The School of Engineering and Applied Science holds its “Explore Engineering” majors fair in November.
  • The Center for Career Development website offers tools for self-assessment and major exploration, including a list of diverse internships and career paths taken by Princeton students and alumni in each major.
  • The following programs also have websites that may be helpful to you as you consider the connection between majors and various possible career choices: Pre-law, Health Professions Advising Office, Program in Teacher Preparation
  • Other programs, such as the Pace Center, the Program in Community Engaged Scholarship, Study Abroad, and the International Internship Program 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