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Choosing a Major

Choosing a Major

For both undergraduate and graduate students, the duration of your work authorization in the U.S. is tied to the major you choose. All students can be permitted to work in the U.S. for 12 months post-graduation (assuming correct paperwork is filed and job offer is obtained), regardless of major. Students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) majors can apply for a STEM OPT extension for up to 24 additional months. Your field of study must relate to any off-campus employment during your studies and after graduation. 

Choosing a major may be dependent on your long-term employment goals, but passion for your field of study is also important. Balance your dreams and post-graduation expectations so you can make an informed decision. Always consult with your academic advisor regarding curriculum decisions. 

Example Scenario

To maximize experience in the U.S., an undergraduate student who obtains a STEM degree and gets a job offer upon graduation could work up to three years in the U.S. That student could then go on for a Master's degree in a STEM field and work for an additional three years post-graduation.

Resources for Choosing a Major

FOCUS 2: An online career tool that enables you to self-assess your personal qualities, then explore career fields and major areas of study that are most compatible with your personality and interests. 

What Can I Do With This Major? Explore different majors, learn about related career areas, find potential employers, and develop personalized job search strategies. 

O*Net OnLine: Review comprehensive information on potential occupations. 

Changing Your Major

While it is common for students to change majors, always consult with your academic advisor regarding curriculum decisions. As an international student, your I-20 indicates your major and you are responsible for ensuring the I-20 is accurate. Anytime you change degree level (e.g. Masters to Doctorate, Bachelors to Masters, etc.) or major (e.g. Mechanical Engineering to History), you must obtain an updated I-20 from the ISSS office reflecting the change within 10 days of the change. 

For additional information, review more about choosing a major. 


Career Services

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