- Linfield College
Academic Advising

Declaring a Major

Determining a major field of study is an important choice in a student’s academic career (and a process worth celebrating!). Some students need time to explore while others come in with a strong inclination toward a particular field. Selecting a major does not necessarily lead directly to a career in that field. A liberal arts education will prepare students to become skilled professionals and life-long learners. Follow your passion. Consider majors that you will enjoy, in addition to considering career paths to which those majors will lead you. The most important goal is to enjoy your field of study and learn transferable skills, like writing, speaking, problem solving, etc.

When to Declare a Major

All Linfield students must declare a major upon completing 45 semester credits. Students who have reached this credit limit without declaring a major will be blocked from the next semester’s registration until a major is declared.

How to Declare a Major

Complete the Declaration of Academic Program form with appropriate signatures and submit to the Office of Academic Advising in Melrose 010.

When a student declares a major, his/her faculty advisor must be in the major department. It is most common for students to change advisors at the same time they are declaring a major. A student is required to have one faculty advisor; if a student has multiple majors, he/she may declare multiple faculty advisors. 

How to Switch Majors

Students are welcome to switch majors at any time after their first semester as long as they find a new advisor in that field  who agrees to work with them. The change is made by obtaining signatures from both the old and new advisors on the Declaration or Change of Academic Program form and returning it completed to Academic Advising. By means of processing this change, the student’s advising file will be forwarded to the new advisor.


All first-year students enter Linfield without declared majors and are considered “undecided.” First-year students may declare their major (and change their faculty advisor, if necessary) by submitting paperwork at the Office of Academic Advising.

Additionally, transfer students typically declare a major upon enrolling at Linfield and are assigned a faculty advisor in the department of their major. Transfer students who are undecided are assigned a faculty advisor who will assist them in course selection and exploring their interests.

Assess your Interests, Personality, Skills/Abilities and Values

  • Make lists. Sometimes it is helpful to start by putting ideas on paper. List:
    • Activities that you enjoy and interests you choose to pursue
    • Classes you enjoyed - and why you enjoyed them
    • Things that are important to you – that you value and/or motivate you
    • Things that you are good at
    • Majors that you think you may enjoy
    • Majors that you know you don’t want to pursue

Research majors of interest

  • Consider your lists. Based on the information that you’ve written about yourself, begin researching majors by:
    • Consulting your faculty advisor
    • Meeting with faculty advisors in departments of interest
    • Taking exploratory classes
    • Reading the catalog sections on majors/departments of interest

Explore career opportunities in your majors of interest

  • Visit the Office of Career Development in Melrose 010
  • Initiate informational interviews with professionals in your field(s) of interest
  • Complete an internship. The Office of Career Development has information about all types of internships
  • As you consider careers opportunities, ask yourself questions including:
    • What are the tasks performed by this occupation?
    • Will I be happy doing this kind of work?
    • What education does this career require?
    • How much money will this career pay? Is this important?
    • What is the future of this career?
    • What are the normal work hours?
    • Does this job require travel?
    • What is the path of advancement?