Explore Majors

Some students arrive at Tufts knowing what they want to major in, but many more spend the first few years exploring their options. You can always speak with a career advisor if you feel confused about how your major may impact your future career options.

Your choice of major does not dictate your career choices. Unless you are planning to enter a technical field, such as engineering or accounting, you can obtain the skills necessary to succeed through any of the 70+ majors offered at Tufts. In addition, taking the time to explore different careers will enable you to make better decisions when applying to internships, job opportunities, or graduate schools.

Myths about Majors

Myth: Only certain majors are practical when it comes to finding a job.

Reality: Employers are more interested in your skills and experience than in any specific major. Liberal arts graduates are valued for their ability to assemble and understand new information, come to reasonable and timely conclusions, and communicate effectively. The analytical, communications, and interpersonal expertise you learn from a liberal arts background is an asset to all employers.

Myth: If I want to go to law school, or medical school, I have fewer choices of what to major in.

Reality: There is no required major for law school or medical school. Your ability to think analytically and communicate clearly will be important for law and medicine.
There is no “pre-med major” at Tufts, or any other selective college or university. Medical and other health professions schools look for a well-balanced college program, and do not favor one major over another. Statistically, biology majors comprise at least half of the applicant pool but they have a slightly lower rate of admission than many other majors, including many non-science majors. In fact, some admissions officers may be more interested in someone who has majored in a non-science area with a strong record in premedical requirements. Student Services has pre-law and pre-health advisors to discuss further the requirements for law school and medical school.

Myth: Majoring in engineering will limit me to working only in engineering.

Reality: As more aspects of everyday life become technologically based, engineering skills and expertise are more valuable than ever in a variety of fields. Technical expertise is an asset in bridging the information gap between engineering and non-engineering worlds. Quantitative skills are applicable in a wide variety of occupational areas. Tufts Engineering majors have pursued careers in technical writing, finance, law, and medicine.

Tips for Choosing a Major

You will excel at a major if you select a subject area that you enjoy studying.
Ask yourself: Which classes have you liked so far? Are there others that you are curious about?

Selecting a major and selecting a career are not the same thing. Some students who major in the arts or humanities decide to pursue careers in business or any number of other fields. Once you find a major you would enjoy, focus on developing skills applicable to a variety of careers. 

Develop Transferable Skills

Beyond the skills you will gain in any major at Tufts, employers value skills that you develop outside the classroom. You should consider participating in internships, volunteer service, and extracurricular activities. We discuss this in more detail in Explore Skills & Interests.

Further Exploration
  1. Review What Can I Do With This Major? to explore career options and advice in a variety of majors.
  2. Check out the websites of Tufts academic departments for find information on majoring in that discipline, courses offered, and faculty.
  3. Get advice from your advising dean. Deans are assigned using the first letter of your last name:
  4. Talk with faculty about majors within their discipline.
  5. Talk to current students who are majoring in the discipline that interests you.  Ask them about what they like and dislike about their major, the requirements, and their favorite courses.
  6. Tufts alumni can provide helpful perspectives on Tufts majors and their applications in the world of work or in a particular graduate program.
Set Up Informational Interviews

An informational interview is a self-initiated interview with someone who knows about a job, major, or any number of other topics.

Informational interviews with alumni, upperclassmen, and others can help you determine what major might be a good fit for you. As you reach out to alumni, fellow students, and others to discuss your interests, as well as listen to their insights about potential majors and career paths, you are beginning the process of building a professional network. It is never too early to start networking.

As you get started, keep these things in mind:
  • An informational interview should be fun. You are asking questions to gain an insider’s view of a major. This is a short discussion, not something that should intimidate you.

  • Start by asking your friends about their majors, and ask them for additional names of other people in their classes. It is good to get a variety of opinions so you can see many sides of the same story.

  • To prepare for informational interviews, draw up a list of potential contacts. These contacts can be personal friends, relatives, fellow students, as well as Tufts alumni. 

The Tufts Career Networking Group on LinkedIn is a useful source of information. These advisors have actively expressed an interest in serving as a resource for Tufts students. 

Sample informational interview questions about majors:
  1. Why did you choose your major?

  2. What skills have you gained with this major?

  3. What are some of the possible team projects in this major?

  4. What does your four-year schedule look like? Are there courses offered only certain years or semesters? (In which case you would need to plan carefully, especially regarding studying abroad.)

  5. Do you regret choosing this major?

  6. What do you want to do after you graduate? (For alumni: How did your major relate to the career you pursued)?

  7. Who are the most interesting professors and classes you took?

  8. Is there anyone else with whom I should speak for additional information?

  9. Are there any books or websites that you suggest?