What is an undeclared Major?

If you are entering college without a specific field of study, you are classified as UNDECLARED until you officially choose a major.

At East Tennessee State University, approximately 1600 students are UNDECLARED MAJORS.

As an UNDECLARED student, you will have the opportunity to explore various academic and career options.

As an UNDECLARED MAJOR, the experience you gain in decision-making and goal setting will assist you in your professional and career goals.

UNDECLARED students are encouraged to declare a major by the end of their second semester.


Do I need to Know my Major Now?

No. In fact, it may be to your advantage to wait until you have had a chance to explore various fields of study. You may discover your interests lie in a direction you had not considered before. One of the most important academic decisions you will make in college is your choice of major. A major is a group of required courses that are related to a particular academic area. For some students, choosing a major is a relatively easy decision. For others, choosing a major requires more time and thought. You will find that some investigation of your personal goals, interests, and abilities, and careful consideration of alternative fields and employment opportunities will lead to a good choice for you. Students are required to declare a major before earning 60 credits.

It's not uncommon for students who have selected a major to change at least once during their years in college. Changing majors can sometimes delay your progress toward graduation so early planning is to your advantage.

Nationwide, close to 75 percent of students change their major one or more times during their college experience.

Students who have taken some time to "shop around" for a field of study may be less likely to change majors ... a process that often costs you extra time, money, and effort.



Being undecided about a major is common for freshmen and the University Advisement Center (UAC) at ETSU is dedicated to helping students define and declare their major/career interests as early as possible in their academic life. Upon admission to ETSU, students who are undecided in their major will be asked to choose and Academic Focus Area.

Academic Focus Areas are not majors, but are broad categories of interest that will enable the UAC Advisors to guide students more skillfully into their desired major and help them select appropriate general education courses based on the Academic Focus Area. Students will not graduate in an Academic Focus Area – this is merely the first step in the process to major declaration.

                          The Academic Focus Areas are identified as follows:

Academic   Focus - Applied Technology

Academic   Focus - Art

Academic   Focus - Business

Academic   Focus - Education

Academic   Focus - General Education Core

Academic   Focus - Health Professions

Academic   Focus - Humanities

Academic   Focus – STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)

Academic   Focus - Social Sciences


The first step in the process is meeting with a UAC Advisor. At the initial advisement meeting, UAC advisors will ask students to indicate their Academic Focus Area if they have not already done so during the Admission process.  At that meeting, advisors will work with each undeclared student in identifying steps they can take to come closer to declaring their major in an academic department.

The second step involves a little “student advisement homework”. Each student will be asked to follow up on the advisement appointment suggestions whether it is accessing career exploration resources at ETSU, job shadowing or visiting other academic departments to gather information. It is critical that each student follow up with these post-advisement assignments to clarify their career choices and life plan. At a follow-up appointment, the UAC Advisors will work with each student to make the academic major decision that best fits their intended career goal and life path based on this work.

The third step is major declaration! Once a student makes that decision, UAC Advisors will facilitate each student making contact with the academic advisor in their major college/department.  







direct edit