What's Your Major?

Photo of two young female graduating students in commencement gowns

The answers have changed over the years.

Do you remember why you picked your major? Do you ever wonder how students today select theirs? One difference for Aggies today is they have a lot more options to consider — especially in the College of Letters and Science. 

The College now offers 55 majors — with new degree offerings in recent years that include pharmaceutical chemistry, cognitive science, and cinema and digital media.  

A glance at UC Davis course catalogs over the past five decades gives a time-lapse view of degree offerings as new disciplines arise, established fields evolve, and the needs of students and society change. 

“Our curriculum is vital and changing, but the core skills of critical learning and thinking remain at the heart of all our majors,” said Elizabeth Spiller, dean of the College. 

Many longstanding majors remain as relevant to students as ever. Since 1995–96, economics jumped from 14th to the fourth most popular major at UC Davis in 2018–19. Psychology moved in that same period from No. 4 to No. 1. 

Employers say they are looking for workers with skills associated with the liberal arts and sciences. Earlier this year, a LinkedIn report listed creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability and time management as the soft skills that companies are looking for the most. 

And UC Davis’ popular “What Can I Do with My Major?” blog includes numerous career success stories of alumni from a wide array of degrees. What’s your major-to-career story? What advice would you give to Aggies today on choosing a major? Email us, and we’ll share your stories online, on our social channels, and in the next magazine issue. 

Kathleen Holder, content strategist in the College of Letters and Science, wrote this article for the fall 2019 issue of the College of Letters and Science Magazine.