Academics & Majors


Academic Success and Career Center
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Still deciding what you want to major in?

Don't worry. If you don't know what you want to study yet, you're in good company.

A nationwide study estimates that 80% of entering college students are uncertain of their field of study, and more than half of first-year students change their major at least once.

One of the most important aspects of a university experience is the opportunity to explore your interests. The general education curriculum you’ll cover as a freshman and sophomore will prepare you to identify your goals and embark on your path to reaching them.

You can get a lot from WSU while you're deciding what major suits you best.

Strengths and benefits of WSU
  • More than 200 academic areas of interest, several of them ranked among the best in the nation.
  • Work with world-class professors. Many of our senior faculty teach freshman classes, helping you grasp new ideas and engaging you intellectually.
  • Hands-on learning and research opportunities enrich your classroom learning to create career success after graduation.
  • With over 200 active student organizations, including community service, peer tutoring, and more, you’ll find endless ways to be recognized as a resource and role model.
  • Faculty and friends in this empowering community help you face challenges and find ways to achieve your academic goals.
  • Thrive in an easy-going, eclectic college town that truly values its university and students — an ideal place to live and learn.
Requirements and core courses

It's always a good idea to begin fulfilling the general education (UCORE) requirements early. They are designed to give you a broad base of knowledge, and are flexible enough that you can choose several ways to fulfill them.

They’re more than mere requirements — they’re a perfect opportunity to begin exploring your interests.

On your way through the UCORE requirements, you can take classes that sound interesting, learn new ways to think, imagine new possibilities for your future, gain real-world perspective, and build skills that propel you toward your goals, whatever those goals may be.

General education requirements and courses

Students are required to take at least 34 credit hours distributed among the categories below. Courses that fulfill the UCORE requirements are noted in the WSU Catalog with the UCORE designation in brackets.




First-Year Experience

Roots of Contemporary Issues: HISTORY 105 [ROOT] 3

Foundational Competencies

Quantitative Reasoning [QUAN] 3
Written Communication [WRTG] 3
Communication or Written Communication [COMM] [WRTG] 3

Ways of Knowing

Inquiry in the Social Sciences [SSCI] 3
Inquiry in the Humanities [HUM] 3
Inquiry in the Creative and Professional Arts  [ARTS] 3
Inquiry in the Natural Sciences  [BSCI] [PSCI] [SCI] 7 *

Integrative and Applied Learning

Diversity [DIVR] 3
Integrative Capstone [CAPS] 3


* At least 3 hours in Biological Science and 3 hours in Physical Science plus 1 additional lab hour; or 8 hours of Science 101 and 102.

The WSU Catalog has more information about the UCORE requirements and the courses that fulfill them (pdf).

Note: See the WSU Catalog for degree requirements and talk with your academic advisor about planning and scheduling your courses. All students must meet requirements as outlined in the catalog in order to graduate.

Scholarships and financial aid

A variety of state, federal, and university-sponsored programs are available to help students with educational costs.

Washington State University awards millions of dollars in financial aid and scholarships to students every year based on financial need, academic merit, or a combination of the two.

To get all the financial help WSU can provide, start by doing these two things:

  • Complete the University's general scholarship application so you can be eligible for scholarship consideration.
  • Complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) so WSU can consider you for aid (scholarships, grants, loans, etc.) based on financial need.

The University's academic colleges and departments may offer additional scholarships for students in specific majors and fields.

More about WSU scholarships and financial aid

How WSU can help you find your major

Once you enroll, the University dedicates resources to help you find the major that suits you best.

Courses designed for you

The Explore seminar. An elective course designed for second-year students and transfer students. Explore helps you identify interests, values, and abilities, so that you can select a field of study that fits you. The class also helps in forming meaningful contacts with university faculty, staff, various departments and units, and employers.

The PASS (Pathways to Academic Success) seminar
A two-credit elective class for first- and second-year college students that helps make connections between what you're learning in your general education classes and current issues at the local, national, and global levels. It also helps you learn to use the University's library system effectively and develop research skills that will help you in your future courses.

UNIV 100: College Major and Career Choice
Designed especially for undecided freshmen, this course helps you get off to a good start at WSU and identify majors that fit your aptitudes and interests.

Click here to see the full list of courses

Exploration encouraged

General education
In your freshman and sophomore years, you’ll enroll in the University’s award-winning general education curriculum. These required courses prepare you to identify your goals and embark on the path to reaching them.

Top-ranked academic programs
Because so many academic programs at Washington State have won national recognition for their excellence, you can be confident that you’re taking the surest steps to build your knowledge and reach an informed decision about your major.

World-class faculty
You learn from professors known throughout the world for their discoveries and expertise. Their insights help point you toward the fields that best interest you. And when you find a subject you want to dive into, you'll find that there are plenty of opportunities to work alongside faculty mentors on their research—the kind of hands-on, in-depth experience only a research university can provide.

Expert advisors

Career counselors
Professionals in the Academic Success and Career Center can help you achieve your academic goals by showing you how they relate to the process of choosing a career. The counselors illuminate connections between your education and work and help you explore career choices through real-world learning—including internships. Plus, they can assist you in applying to graduate school and finding meaningful work opportunities once you graduate.

Academic advisors
Your advisor can suggest the best courses for you to take to further explore your top choices.

Extracurricular opportunities

Internships in most fields
Internships connect your educational experiences with real-world career possibilities—so you can decide if you’re on the right path. Contact the Academic Success and Career Center for help finding internships. After you've chosen a major, the internship coordinator in your program can help you find the right opportunity.

Service opportunities
Many fields give you the chance to make a difference in your community—or other communities around the world—by applying your knowledge and talents. The Center for Civic Engagement helps you find ways to volunteer in the community, helps integrate service opportunities with your courses, and even offers scholarships for service activities.

What you can do to narrow your choices

Have you ever wanted to learn about architecture? Marketing? Electrical impulses? 19th century England?

Now's your chance. Do it.

Take introductory courses in areas that intrigue you. Sign up for clubs or organizations that you’ve never been a part of.

It may seem contradictory, but broadening your experience and interests is one of the best things you can do when you're trying to home in on a major that fits. College is the perfect time to experiment with subjects that interest you—and academic areas you may never have been exposed to. A once-in-a-lifetime chance, in fact: where else can you learn from so many experts in so many different areas?

Find ways to broaden your interests, do some academic exploring, and you'll find out more about where your passions and abilities coincide.

Use WSU's online resources

Research the University's fields of study. Use the features built into this website to see what majors, minors, and specializations WSU offers in areas that interest you.

Read course descriptions, degree requirements, and related academic information in the University Catalog.

Figure out why you like some subjects and activities better than others

Start by writing down the subjects and extracurricular activities you like best. Next to each, note what makes it appealing to you.

Then write down the subjects and activities that you like least and what makes them less appealing to you. Consider what you enjoy, your academic strengths and weaknesses, your interests, values, and long-term goals.


Forge a stronger sense of your unique abilities and interests by studying more than required in those areas that interest you.

As a bonus, you’ll make yourself more marketable to potential employers and graduate schools.

Additional contacts and resources

Academic Success and Career Center
A comprehensive center that can help you with a wide variety of questions, from finding out how your strengths and interests match up with possible majors to job-search advice.


180 Lighty Student Services Building
PO Box 641061
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164-1061

Center for Civic Engagement
Volunteering for various causes and community organizations can be a good way to figure out what you're interested in. Not only does volunteering benefit the community, some opportunities come with course credit or integrate with WSU courses.