Major and Career Exploration

From the day you arrive at college, the question you will most frequently be asked is, “What’s your major"?

Students at the College of Charleston must declare their major no later than the second semester of their sophomore year. At a liberal arts college, choosing a major means choosing an academic subject that you would like to study in depth. Before deciding a major, you should ask yourself the following:

  • What are my interests and hobbies?
  • What were my favorite high school and college courses?
  • What do I dislike doing?
  • What do I most enjoy doing?

Do you know what major options are available at the College of Charleston? Take a look at the list of majors and minors to explore the possibilities! Talk about your interests and major options with your academic advisor and/or career counselor; they can help you identify the majors that suit your interests, academic strengths, and/or potential career goals.

Major Related Events

Choosing A Major Workshops: Each semester, we hold multiple Choosing A Major workshops together with the Academic Advising & Planning Center. During these hour-long workshops, we cover myths and facts about being “undeclared”, discuss the difference in choosing a major vs. choosing a career, suggest steps for making your decision, and provide tools and resources to assist you in the major and career planning process. Please check our Events page for more information on dates and times of the workshops.

Majors and Minors Fair: The Academic Advising and Planning Center in collaboration with the Office for the Academic Experience and the Career Center hosts the Majors and Minors Fair event each fall. This fair provides all undecided, exploring, or re-deciding students the opportunity to speak directly with faculty, staff and student representatives from academic programs and campus resources in one location. For more information and dates for this year’s fair, please visit the Majors and Minors Fair website.

Major and Career Exploration Resources

Career Assessments

FOCUS: Access to FOCUS is restricted to currently enrolled College of Charleston students and alumni. Refer to the FOCUS login information to set up your account.

FOCUS is one of the top career and educational planning systems, as recognized by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). FOCUS provides you with a complete picture of your interests, values, skills, and personality, using self-assessment questionnaires, interest inventories, and personality testing. After this assessment, the program uses an extensive career and occupational information database to help you identify and explore occupations and career paths that best match your personal characteristics.

Strong Interest Inventory: This inventory is particularly useful in helping you identify fields (including both majors and careers) that match your interests. The Career Center offers an online version of the Strong Interest Inventory, which requires about 30 minutes to complete. Results are available within 24 hours. An appointment with a career counselor is required to interpret the results of this assessment.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: This instrument can be helpful in the career decision-making process by matching your personality to work and learning environment. A full description of personality type is provided, along with a list of career suggestions that fit that personality. The MBTI is administered online and the results are available within 24 hours. It takes about 45 minutes to complete, and requires an appointment with a career counselor to interpret the results.

What Can I Do With This Major?

Whether you are exploring multiple majors or searching for information about your chosen field, What Can I Do With This Major? will help you connect majors to careers. Learn about the typical career areas and the types of employers that hire people with each major, as well as strategies to make you a more competitive candidate.

Career Counseling Appointments

Individual assistance with any phase of the career planning/job search process is available to you. Contact our office or use Appointment Manager to schedule an appointment with one of our career counselors.

Minors, Electives, and More

What about your non-major classes? Here is how to make the most of those elective credits:

Add a minor. After completing your general education and major requirements, you may be left with up to 30 hours of credits still needed for graduation. A well-chosen minor can be an excellent way to complete the hours needed to graduate and complement your major. Many of today's exciting career opportunities call for unusual combinations of knowledge and skills, such as:

  • Medical Illustration (Biology and Studio Art)
  • Music Therapy (Music and Psychology)
  • Genetics Counseling (Biology and Psychology)
  • News Journalist/Commentator (Political Science and Communications or Theatre)
  • Pharmaceutical Sales (Chemistry and Business)
  • Human Resources (Psychology and Business)
  • Technical Writing (English and one of the sciences)
  • Public Relations (English and Psychology)

Consider a second major. If you are having difficulty deciding between two majors, declare both of them, or at least take as many courses as you can in both. Even if you are not able to finish the requirements of a second major, you will still have gained knowledge in a second subject. You can also list individual course titles on your resume if they relate to the job for which you are applying.

Pursue a special interest or hobby. Select one of the many interdisciplinary studies programs at the College such as International Studies; Jewish Studies; Women's & Gender Studies; Environmental Studies; Arts Management; International Business; African Studies; Communications; Crime, Law, & Society; Data Science; Global Logistics & Transportation; or Film Studies. If none of the existing programs fit your interests, create your own interdisciplinary program by combining other courses.

Study abroad or away. It is possible to spend a semester in a foreign country, Washington, D.C., or at another U.S. college. Careful planning is required to do this because of transferring credits, but it can be a very meaningful and exciting addition to your education. Contact the Center for International Education for additional information.

Develop a job-related skill. Supplement your core requirements and major courses with electives that are more applied and help you develop a skill area. Courses in accounting, computer science, acting, drawing, playing a musical instrument, technical writing, journalism or a particular sport can help you develop such skills and can be listed on a resume.

Prepare for graduate school. Most graduate and professional schools do not require a specific major for admission into their school. However, some programs might have pre-requisite courses required for admission. For example, most medical schools don’t require a major in the sciences, but do recommend that a student have a year of biology, a year of chemistry, a year of physics, a year of organic chemistry and calculus to be a strong candidate for admission. Visit the Health Professions Advising and Pre-Law Advising websites to learn more about these professional programs.

How to Declare a Major

You can easily declare your major via the Program of Study Management (POSM) system online in MyCharleston. Visit the Academic Advising & Planning Center’s website for more details.

Choosing a Career

The relationship between a liberal arts major and a career is not as direct as many people think. While majors like accounting, computer science, education or communication can be directly related to particular career fields, most majors at the College of Charleston provide general intellectual training not directly related to specific careers. Choosing a career, therefore, is often a separate decision than choosing a career.

MAJOR ≠ CAREER

Career choices should be based on a genuine interest in the work and on having the abilities or skills needed for the work, not necessarily on a particular major. Knowledge about a career area comes from working in, reading about, or talking with people in the field.

Majors do relate directly to careers in one significant way; they help further develop the transferable skills needed in any career. You are not usually hired based on your knowledge of a major, but rather on the skills and interests you have developed as a college student. For examples of how you can build transferable skills through all of our majors, check out our Skills for Success page.

Career Exploration Tools

Researching Careers

Explore occupations using any of the following tools:

We recommend talking to people about their careers. LinkedIn has made it easy for you to do this by providing the alumni search tool, which lets you find alumni based on company, location, career field, and even what they majored in at CofC! This provides a great opportunity for arranging informational interviews with alumni to learn more about certain industries, career paths associated with majors, graduate schools, or geographic locations.