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Are there any "universal majors"?

After years of exploring different career options, it seems like my list is getting longer, not shorter. Are there any majors that I can take in college that really can be applied to many different fields of work? For example, I know a major in Economics can help get you a job in politics. #college #college-major #jobs #university #college-majors #college-minor #occupation

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Ryan’s Answer

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There aren't any "universal" majors that I'm aware of, and that's what I wanted to do when I was looking at schools. With so many choices and personal interests, how could I decide?

There are two options that I can think of. The first is to go to a school that has a liberal arts focus. What this means is that you'll be able to take classes in numerous fields and get a taste for what's out there. This a great way to learn about the world and what's available to study. The downside to this is that liberal arts degrees don't carry as much weight as some of the more specialized fields, when it comes time to get a job. As this is an important consideration, given that a big goal of school is preparing you for the job market, I don't highly recommend this course of action.

The second is to pick a major that you find interesting and go with it! Most majors can be used as a basis for moving into a lot of other careers. Take for example biology. While you can use a biology degree as a basis for going to medical school, you can also use it to go into research, or as an advisor to politicians who need to make bio-related policy changes, or as an attorney focusing on legal issues in the medical fields, or as a financial analyst for biotechnology companies, or tons of other things not related to biology at all.

Some of the great benefits of college are that you get a chance to be exposed to new ideas, meet new people, and develop critical analysis skills. These skills, if used properly can be translated into most career paths.

And there's nothing saying you can't switch careers down the line or go back to school later.

Thank you for the help on this topic! I personally have been interested in Economics for a while, but I am worried about the number of different career choices for it compared to something like Biology or Engineering. I will definitely try to take a broad variety of classes in college in the event that I choose to switch my major. Prithvi A.

Thank you very so much Keerthika M.

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Daniel’s Answer

I'm convinced that computer science and statistics are this century's "universal majors." They are tools that allow you to be better at most any field of interest. Note the increase in "computational + X major" offerings at many colleges. I highly recommend general education courses in these two fields at the least, and perhaps a minor or double-major if you enjoy them.

Thank you for the response! I've definitely been pushed to major in Engineering or Comp Sci. just because there are so many opportunities for people that have that degree. I've looked into double major programs in colleges so that I can have a wide variety of skills. Prithvi A.

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Roger’s Answer

I don't think there is any universal major. However, my opinion is that we need to stop thinking about the college major - job relationship as some kind of rigid linear progression from one to the other. For better or for worse the world is truly a lot messier and unpredictable than that and students/graduates should try to be much more thoughtful and resourceful since they have more options than they think. I had a religious studies major after being in pre-med for a while, and I eventually found a career in pharmaceutical sales and marketing. I suggest you check out How to Get Any Job with Any Major (http://www.powells.com/book/how-to-get-any-job-with-any-major-a-new-look-at-career-launch-9781580085397) for starters.