Three years ago, when I entered UC Davis as an Undeclared Life Sciences student, I had no idea what I wanted to major in, what career path I wanted to pursue, or what I wanted to do with my life in general. My interests were very widespread and all over the place. One week I would be inspired by an article I had read about a new, groundbreaking biomedical device and would “decide” that I would major in Biomedical Engineering and the next week I would have a meaningful interaction with an academic advisor and decide I wanted to go into higher education and counseling.
While I only officially changed my major twice (first from Undeclared Life Sciences to Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior and then to Biopsychology), I changed my mind about a million other times. While this time of exploration was exciting and having so many options felt freeing, I also really struggled with figuring out how I should go about making this decision and finding resources to help me determine my passions. Many of my conversations with Undeclared students in advising appointments center around this idea – that having so many major and career options is overwhelming and they just don’t know where to start.
If you are in the same boat as so many of us at UC Davis and are unsure about your major or future career, here are some difference resources that you can utilize to help aid your decision.
Major Exploration Tool
The major exploration tool is an online program that asks you to designate different academic and career-related categories you are interested in. Based upon your answers, it then generates a lists of majors that could be a good fit, the major descriptions, and links to their websites. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdQrcRStSVrdVXI4kF0UDjuAHGQDWqXXXFCkUif1tVTgfwBCQ/viewform
Major Card Sort Tool
The major card sort tool is an online program that gives you descriptions of various majors and asks you if you are interested, possibly interested or not interested in each description. Once you have responded to all the cards, a list of majors you would most likely be interested in will populate and you can explore the tool’s suggestions. http://academicadvising.ucdavis.edu/majorcardsort/
What can I do with my major or degree?
The Internship and Career Center houses the “What can I do with my major or degree?” web page which has a huge amount of data about UC Davis, the four colleges, and all of the different majors. It includes links to employment and salary statistics for UC Davis graduates. http://icc.ucdavis.edu/research/what-can-i-do.htm
Career Exploration by Interest Area
The ICC also has a page dedicated to information on different interest areas like Health and Medicine, Food and Beverage, and Biological Sciences. Each interest area has extensive information on related fields and careers, campus organizations, and professional associations. http://icc.ucdavis.edu/research/industry.htm
UC Davis majors
This link lists all of the majors at UC Davis and provides information such as real world outcomes for the major, the requirements, the department website, and major advisor’s email. https://www.ucdavis.edu/majors/
Student Portal: The Online Advising Student Information System (OASIS)
OASIS provides links for advising, advising resources, important quarterly calendar dates, as well as various forms and petitions, along with GPA calculators and tools. https://students.ucdavis.edu/, is your personal academic advising tool.
Biology Academic Success Center (BASC)
Location: 1023 Sciences Laboratory Building
Contact Information: (530) 752-0410 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Schedule an appointment: https://basc.ucdavis.edu
Undergraduate Advisor (located at the Biology Academic Success Center)
Undergraduate advisors can evaluate draft study plans for proper course sequences and workload, perform degree checks, and provide information on university and college rules and regulations. Go to http://basc.ucdavis.edu/ to schedule an appointment one of the undeclared program advisors.
As BASC peer advisors, we are all currently enrolled in one of the College of Biological Sciences (CBS) Majors. We can help you with questions regarding courses and scheduling, filling out petitions, general education requirements, getting involved on-campus, and on-campus resources.
During the academic year, we are available daily for drop-in advising at the BASC from 9am-12pm and 1pm-5pm Monday through Thursday and 10am-12pm and 1pm-3pm on Fridays. We are also available in the Academic Advising Centers in the Residence Halls for drop-in advising.
UC Davis General Catalog:
The catalog contains course descriptions from every department as well as important general academic information, college and graduation requirements, student rights and responsibilities and much more! The University publishes the catalog online: http://catalog.ucdavis.edu/ – familiarize yourself with it as much as possible.
Good luck with your decision! My biggest pieces of advice are to give yourself time and freedom to explore and to not get discouraged when you don’t like a class or major you thought you would. Knowing what you don’t like is just as important as knowing what you do like.
BASC Peer Advisor
4th Year: Biopsychology Major, Nutrition Science Minor