A Guide to Finding Your Major at NYU

Deciding on a major when applying to school is never easy. Here's a guide to help you make the right decision when applying to NYU.

Photo of Tyler Grabowiecki

My college application process began during my junior year of high school. At that time, did I know I wanted to go to NYU? Yes! Did I know exactly what I wanted to major in? The answer to that is a little more complicated.

Deciding on a major when applying to college can be one of the more challenging parts of an application, especially when you aren’t certain on what you want to study. What you’ll learn pretty quickly though is that this a shared feeling amongst many applying to college.

The great thing is, you don’t have to know exactly what you want to study when starting in college. When I started at NYU, I began taking classes in the International Relations program at the College of Arts and Science. Though pretty soon after, I realized that this wasn’t the right major for me. After spending some time trying out different programs at NYU, I found the right program for me: A double-major in Media, Culture, and Communications and Politics.

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However, when you’re applying to NYU, you’ll still be asked to apply to one of our schools and to indicate a major of interest. If you aren’t certain on what you want to study, what should you do? Here’s a guide to help you make that decision!

First thing's first, research your options!

One of the first things you should do when applying to NYU is to take a look at the programs we offer. We have over 230 different programs of study, so it’s definitely a good idea to do some research. Ask yourself some questions like: Would I be happy studying this for the next four years? What am I passionate about? Why? These questions should help guide you! Once you have an idea of what you might want to study, get going!

  • One of the best places to start is the NYU website. Here, you’ll be able to find public information about all of NYU’s majors and minors. You can even find syllabi for many of NYU’s different courses to see what the classes for a major might entail.
  • Another great option to research majors and minors is to speak with students in different academic programs. I, like many other MeetNYU writers am an Admissions Ambassador, and we are always ready to answer your questions. You can contact us at admissions.ambassadors@nyu.edu.

Still unsure? Consider applying undecided!

RuPaul's Drag Race alumna Katya looks surprised.

If you’ve looked at some different options and you still can’t decide on a major, that’s okay! There are still a ton of different routes to choose from if you are unsure of what you want to major in! One of those routes that many NYU students choose to follow is applying undecided.

Applying undecided might sound scary, but it’s actual pretty common. Many of the schools at NYU allow students to apply undecided, so long as they declare a major by either the end of their first year, or their second year.

  • If you’re looking at the humanities or the social sciences, but can’t decide on a specific field, check out the College of Arts of Science. They allow students to apply undecided and you won’t have to declare a major until the end of your second year. You could also look at applying to the Liberal Studies Core Program. This program gives you two years to complete your core liberal arts requirement before transitioning into another school at NYU with a declared major during your Junior Year.
  • If you’re looking for an engineering or technology-focused program, the Tandon School of Engineering might the best choice for you! Usually students must declare their area-of-study by the end of their first year. However, during that first year you’ll have the chance to try out many of the different fields at Tandon and decide which one is right for you.
  • Even for business programs, the Stern School of Business offers students time to select their business concentration before declaring.

Can't find what you're looking for? Check out Gallatin!

Applying undecided is one thing, but if you’re struggling to find a major the aligns with your interests, check out the Gallatin School of Individualized Study.

  • At Gallatin, you’ll be able to develop and create your own concentration, which essentially means that you get invent your own area-of-study.
  • Gallatin is a great choice for students who have a very specific idea of what they want to study that wouldn’t fall into a traditional major.

Some Last Pieces of Advice!

  • Some students come in to college and stay in their original major. Some students come in to college undecided and explore their options. Many students, like myself, come in to college wanting to major in one thing and end up majoring in something else. All of these are okay!
  • NYU offers a ton of opportunities to double major, add minors, and shape your academic curriculum to fit your interests. You’ll have the ability to make your college major what you want it to be!
  • Regardless of what you end up putting on your application, you’ll receive an academic advisor when you start at NYU. Your advisor will help you pick classes, add additional majors or minors, and help you change programs if needed.

Remember, it’s okay to be uncertain about what you want to major in! It is a difficult decision to make and it definitely takes some time to do so. In the end, consider your options and make the best choice for you! We know you can do it! Good luck with your application!

Current Drag Race Superstar Jaida Essence Hall drops the mic.