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College of Science

Choosing a Major

Science today is a collection of specializations — and that can be confusing to students who know they want to study science but who aren't ready to commit themselves to a particular subdivision of the field. The undergraduate plans of study in the College of Science reflect the many specializations within science, but there are also opportunities for students to get a broad education in one or more of the sciences.

An important concern will be deciding between the main divisions of science study at Purdue — the life and physical sciences or the mathematical and computational sciences. If you are not sure what specific science to choose as a major, start in the subject you like best and sample other sciences as a first-year student. The first-year programs in the seven departments of the college are similar enough that switching from one science major to another is usually simple, if you decide your initial choice is not best for you.

Decisions about options offered within each department need not be made until the sophomore year, and often not until the junior year. Many students obtain a broad science education as undergraduates and delay specialization until graduate school.

If you have a specific interdisciplinary career objective in mind, you might consider one of the options suggested under the Interdisciplinary Science Program. Alternatively, you may choose to supplement your major courses with those offered by other colleges or schools of the University.

Choosing a major is not always easy, but help is available. Science academic advisors and faculty members are happy to provide information and guidance.