Choosing a Major

Choosing a Major


Download Change of Major Form


Southern Miss offers more than 140 undergraduate majors through its four academic colleges. If you know what you want to major in right off the bat, that's great. Sign yourself up. But what if you're unsure? What if you want to double major but don't know how to decide? What if you're interested in a particular career path but don't know what to major in to help you get there? And what if you don't have any idea what major will end up being right for you?

Don't worry: you're not alone. It's not at all uncommon for students to take a number of their core classes before deciding on a major, or for students to change majors once they find something that really excites them. There are a number of ways you can explore different majors, and there are people on campus who can help. Here are some tips on how to go about finding the perfect major:


Explore the Options

A good place to start is to explore the information on the university website, which lists all the majors and shows you the various degree plans. You can search Southern Miss majors by the following:


You can also visit department websites, where you can find more detailed information about the department, such as course descriptions, events, clubs, and various majors within a single department. To visit department websites, choose a college below. The departments in each college will be listed in the menu. You can also search the A-Z Index if you know the name of the department you're looking for.


➤ College of Arts & Sciences

➤ College of Business & Economic Development

➤ College of Education and Human Sciences

➤ College of Nursing & Health Professions



Contact the Schools

Once you find a major or two or three that sounds interesting, contact the school using the Contact Us link on the school website. Let them know that you're interested in changing your major, and ask for an appointment to talk to an academic advisor. Advisors can give you much more information about the major, and can give you an idea of what careers you might pursue with a degree in their department. 




Visit Career Services

The team at Career Services provides personalized, one-on-one counseling and helps students understand more about their personalities, interests and values and how this information relates to careers and majors. Counselors can also provide support through the decision-making process, conquering career and graduate school fears and setting appropriate goals. Students may schedule an appointment for a career assessment, including the Strong Interest Inventory or FOCUS. You can visit Career Services in McLemore Hall 125, or call for an appointment at 601.266.4153. If you have a quick question, you can email a Career Services expert at

Download USM's 2017-18 Career Guide




Exploratory Studies

Exploratory Studies, housed in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies & Professional Development, provides an academic home for first year students who have not completed all their core classes yet and are undecided about what they want to major in. Students in Exploratory Studies will:

➤ complete the University general education curriculum
➤ explore introductory major courses and general electives
➤ learn information about University majors and degrees
➤ complete assessments to guide them in their research on majors
➤ communicate with departments about potential majors
➤ find an academic balance that will lead to success

Note that once have finished taking your core classes (general education curriculum), you will need to declare a major, as Exploratory Studies is not degree-granting.




Talk to Your Advisor

Your advisor's primary area of expertise is in his/her own school, but he/she will be able to talk to you about what your options are if the major you're currently in is not working for you, and can suggest similar majors that might be better suited to your interests and talents.  

Learn more about advising at Southern Miss




Pre-Professional Advising

If you are interested in going to law school, medical school, or to a school for occupational therapy, dentistry, or veterinary care after you graduate from Southern Miss, you should talk to a preprofessional advisor. Law schools and medical schools don't require a specific pre-law or pre-med major, so you should choose a major that interests you and one that will help you prepare for your future career. Make sure you let your advisor know your career plans so that he/she can can help you tailor a degree plan to your needs.


The Preprofessional Office in the Chain Technology Building (TEC 103) can help you determine a sequence of courses appropriate for your chosen career, help you determine how to prepare for entrance exams, and even give you advice on applying to professional schools before you graduate. Contact the Preprofessional Office if you are interested in:

➤ dentistry
➤ medicine
➤ occupational therapy
➤ optometry  
➤ pharmacy
➤ physician assistant
➤ physical therapy
➤ veterinary medicine
➤ dental hygiene
➤ cytotechnology
➤ health informatics & information management
➤ radiologic sciences

To learn more about the Preprofessional Office, visit the Preprofessional webpage or call the office at 601-266-4883 to make an appointment to sit down with an advisor to discuss your options.


To succeed in law school, you need strong skills in writing, researching, speaking, and critical thinking. The humanities and social science majors in the College of Arts & Sciences are ideal preparation for your future. Visit the Arts & Sciences website for more information and to make an appointment to talk to an A&L advisor about pre-law.