Thinking About a Major
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Your major will be one field of study that you find particularly interesting and intellectually challenging, and that you explore in great depth. The college offers more than forty majors and gives you until the end of your sophomore year to make your choice. Most students declare their major at that time and not before; all first-years start as undecided/undeclared students. Don't fret if you remain undecided for a while, but use your first semester at Cornell to begin exploring your options.
Most majors have prerequisites (one or more courses required before you enter the major, and designed to help you test your interest and strength in that field of study). Use department websites listed below to check course offerings and prerequisites, or suggested introductory courses.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I complete more than one major in the College of Arts & Sciences?
Yes, but the college only requires that you complete one major to earn your degree.
Can I complete a second major in one of the other colleges at Cornell?
The only way to do so is through the "concurrent degree" program between Arts & Sciences and Engineering or Architecture, Art & Planning. This is a five-year program for which you can apply at the end of your first year. Most minors offered by the other colleges can be completed by Arts & Sciences students.
When I was a freshman, I planned out my entire four years at Cornell ahead of time, with multiple variations of how the courses would fit together depending on conflicting times or which courses I found more interesting once immersed in them. However, within the first two weeks at Cornell I had changed my intended major and was taking classes I never imagined I would be taking. - Alec Sokol, '16 (Computer Science)
I came into Cornell completely undecided and attended the "Exploring Majors and Careers" workshop run by Arts & Sciences. While I still didn't know exactly what I wanted to do afterwards, it was very comforting to know that others were in the same boat with me. I gravitated towards my current major by taking a lot of different classes in different departments and seeing what I liked. - Jessica Matalon, '16 (American Studies)
I came with some idea of what I wanted to do, but revised my plan as I went. I gravitated towards my major by taking a variety of classes and going to talks and other events on campus to see what kinds of things interested me. - Alex Polino, '15 (Biology)
I came into Cornell with strong interests in physics, English, and music, and planned to take courses in all three and then narrow it down. I ended up deciding to major in physics following several excellent courses as well as wonderful guidance. I am completing a minor in creative writing, and channeled my musical interests into Chorus and CU Winds. - Sarah Marie Bruno, '16 (Physics)