The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Choosing a major in SBS


How to Become a Major?


Anthropology, B.A.

No prerequisites. Schedule a meeting with an advisor in Anthropology to discuss your interest and the major.

Anthropology Major

Communication, B.A.

Register for an information session and attend the session. Session Dates: Oct 10th and 11th, Nov 7th and 8th, and Dec 13th. For times and locations, please visit the website.

Communication Major

Economics, B.A.

Review the “business-related degree options” to ensure economics in the right fit, which is available on the website. If you are interested, you must submit a statement of interest and then attend an information session: Session Dates: Oct 10th, Nov 1st and 30th, and December 10th.  For times and locations, please visit the website.

Economics Major

Journalism, B.A.

Submit an online application. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

Journalism Major

Landscape Architecture, B.S.

No prerequisites. Students can declare at any point. Meet with an advisor.

Landscape Architecture Major

Legal Studies, B.A.

Go in for advising (peer or professional). Discuss the requirements and change your major within a day.

Legal Studies Major

Political Science, B.A.

Go in for advising (peer or professional). Discuss the requirements and change your major within a day.

Political Science Major

Resource Economics, B.S.

Submit a statement of interest and RSVP/Attend an Information Session. Session Dates: Oct 25th and 29th, Nov 27th, and Dec 5th and 11th.  For times and locations, please visit the website.

Resource Economics Major

Sociology, B.A.

Meet with an advisor in Sociology. If you go to the website, there is a link to schedule advising appointments on the right side of the webpage.

Sociology Major

Social Thought and Political Economy, B.A.

Complete an intake form and schedule an appointment.

Social Thought and Political Economy Major

Sustainable Community Development, B.S.

No prerequisites.  Students can declare at any point.  Make an appointment with an advisor with Advising Sign-Up on lower left of page.

Sustainable Community Development Major




Common Myths about Choosing a Major

The Facts about Choosing a Major

My major will determine  what I do for the rest of my life   


Just like students change their majors, college graduates change their careers. Many jobs that exist today will be very different five years from now or may even be obsolete. New types of jobs are emerging every year and we have no way of knowing what those jobs will be or what type of education will be needed in order to qualify for them.

  • Don’t just think about career training, focus on competency building! As an SBS student, you will develop competencies in teamwork, written communication, interpersonal communication, leadership, foreign language skills, civic engagement, critical thinking, information literacy, creative thinking and intellectual curiosity, research and technical knowledge, global/intercultural perspectives, ethical reasoning, and proficiency within your chosen major(s). 
  • Use your SBS Pathways to develop these skills throughout your college education. SBS Pathways includes academics, co-curriculars, experiential opportunities, and professional development. Create your unique pathway to graduation and beyond!

Choosing a major is easy

The process of choosing a major and then declaring that major takes some work. There is no magic answer and the process looks different for everyone. However, there are structured ways students can explore majors.

  • Take classes related to your academic interests. This gives you a chance to try the classes and meet faculty, staff, and students in the major.
  • Review the resources listed on the SBS website “Common Questions About Choosing a Major.”
  • Get to know yourself.  Via the SBS Career and Professional Development website you can link to self-assessment tools that will help you learn about your strengths, weaknesses, values, interests, skills and abilities to help you learn about yourself.  These self-assessment tests are fun and helpful, but should not be used as your only method of choosing a major.
  • Meet with your Academic Advisor and talk about what you’ve learned.  Your academic advisor can talk with you and help you develop a plan. They are here to help, don’t go it alone!

Picking a major and a career are the same thing


Students often think that choosing a major is the same as choosing a career. Although these two choices are related, choosing one doesn't automatically mean you've chosen the other. Some people assume that students who major in the social sciences are either not qualified for any jobs or qualified only for careers in those specific areas. Actually, students who major in the social and behavioral sciences find jobs in business, research, human resources, teaching, government offices, non-profit organizations, the military, and a variety of other occupations. The opportunities are endless!

Choosing one major means giving up all the others


Students in SBS explore their academic interests in a variety of ways: duel degrees, double-majors, minors, and certificates. Additionally, SBS students can develop skills and explore interests outside of the classroom by studying abroad, completing internships, getting involved on campus, volunteering, etc.

  • UMass Amherst has so much to offer!  Learn more about majors, minors, and certificates at UMass Amherst.
  • Internships really impress employers.  We strongly encourage students to complete at least one internship before graduating. Learn more about internship opportunities and how they enhance your academic experience. 


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