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How to Research Majors, Minors and Certificates

Read online and print resources

  • Use the online version of the UWM Undergraduate Catalog or UWM Graduate School Catalog, or purchase a more user-friendly hard copy at the UWM Bookstore.
  • Review the website for the specific major, minor, or certificate. Links to websites can be accessed in the UWM Majors, Minors, and Certificate Programs handout or through the UWM website.
  • Refer to this list of questions when doing your research. Try to find answers to as many as possible.

Talk with individuals knowledgeable about the major

  • Ask questions of advisors, faculty, and current and past students of the program. Check with departments/programs to see if they will be conducting information sessions related to certain majors, minors, or certificates.
  • Use this list of questions when interviewing people about the program.

Experience the major and related careers through hands-on activities

  • Observe or take classes to learn more about what you may study within a particular program and if it fits with your interests and skills. Taking a 100 level course may give you a better understanding of a program, however, you would not want to rule out an area of study based just on this experience. Be sure to also sit on on upper level courses to get a more in-depth perspective.

  • How to identify courses to observe/sit in on:
    1. Research which courses are required for the program through the UWM Undergraduate Catalog or UWM Graduate School Catalog.
    2. Look at the Schedule of Classes to see which of the required courses are being offered at times that fit your schedule.
    3. Get the instructors' names and emails from the UWM online people search and send them an email asking if you can sit in on a class session. DO NOT attend their class without first asking and DO NOT show up at their class and ask to sit in that day. Before sending an email to an instructor, be sure to look at this example.
  • Investigate, attend, and/or join UWM student organizations related to the academic programs in which you are interested. By understanding the purpose and activities of the student organization you can learn more about that area of study and related career fields.

  • How to research student organizations to learn about majors/careers:
    1. Interview their contact person and ask questions that allow you to explore the major and careers associated with that area of study. Refer to this list of questions.
    2. Ask if you can attend a meeting or event to gain a better perspective of the organization and the major/career area.
    3. If you are interested in the organization and choose the area of study it's affiliated with, then consider joining.
    Benefits of joining a student organization:
    1. Talk with students who have chosen the major/career about where they obtained related experience and what they plan to do in the career when they graduate
    2. Attend events such as organization/company tours, professionals speaking about the career field, career fairs, projects, etc.
    3. Find out about internship and job opportunities
    4. Stay informed about career related workshops, seminars, and special events in the community
    5. Get connected with professionals
    6. Strengthen your resume and demonstrate leadership if you hold an office
    7. Pay reduced fees for professional conferences