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Your Academic Plan: What If I'm Undeclared?

What are the Advantages of Being Undeclared?

As someone who has not committed to a specific degree program, you have the opportunity explore different academic majors and clarify your goals while you research your interests through courses, programs, and co-curricular activities.

It's not "bad" to be undeclared, though there may be some drawbacks as some academic departments limit course registration to students who have declared a major in that area. Also, some Majors have a very structured course sequence which means that a delay in choosing that major could extend your graduation date.

For more information on what it means to be undeclared, please see the handout Myths of the Undeclared.


Creating an Academic Plan as an Undeclared Student

If you are undeclared, you should concentrate on mapping out the first year of your Academic Plan (see Planning Your Coursework) to explore your options and interests. Begin by focusing on fulfilling your Common Curriculum Requirements. Look to take courses in areas you think you might want to Major or Minor in that will also count towards your University Requirements.  For example, if you think you might be interested in Psychology, consider taking SOCS 1710, Foundation in Psychology, which fulfills one of your Common Curriculum requirements. Some questions to consider when choosing courses include:

  • What have I always wanted to learn more about?
  • What course descriptions sound interesting to me? 
  • What University Requirements do I need to fulfill?
  • What are my strongest skills?
  • Is there a course that might help me develop or discover a new skill?
  • What majors would I like to explore?

Most students have declared a Major by the start of their second year.  PLEASE NOTE: All students must declare a Major by 75 credits.  Once you declare a Major, you can then work to complete the rest of your Academic Plan.


Choosing a Major

While never an easy process, it may be helpful to think about choosing a Major in terms of four basic steps:

  • Learn About Yourself - You'll want to select a Major that fits who you are, building on your strengths and complimenting your interests.
  • Gather Information - Seek out resources from a variety of sources, including researching Majors, exploring careers, and finding mentors.
  • Evaluate Your Options - Review the information you gather. Consider journaling, conversations with mentors, parents, or friends as you move through the decision-making process.
  • Declare Your Major - Once you've decided, complete the proper paperwork and make your choice official.

The Undeclared Student Success Plan is a resource designed to help you move through these steps.

If you are looking to get further assistance in choosing a Major, please visit the Career Center for information about career and Major exploration resources. You may also make an appointment with an Academic Adviser in the Center for Academic and Career Development to discuss your options.

The article, How to Decide What You Want to Do, by Howard Figler, may also provide you with some guidance on what to consider when choosing a Major.


Where do I go for Advising?

Your First-Year Seminar Instructor will continue to be your adviser until you declare a Major.  If you are a transfer student and did not have a First-Year Seminar instructor, then you will need to contact the Center for Academic and Career Development to make an appointment with an Academic Adviser.  Once a you declare a Major, you will request a Faculty Adviser from your department, who will then become your primary adviser. A list of Departmental Advising Contacts can be found on our About Advising at DU page.