The University Academic Advising Center (UAAC) administers the University Studies program and is Virginia Tech’s academic home for students who are undecided about their majors, are exploring several different majors, or are preparing to apply to a competitive admission program. These students are designated University Studies majors.
The University Studies program gives students the opportunity to explore and learn about the majors available at Virginia Tech before they choose a particular program of study. In addition, it provides students with advising and administrative services as they prepare to enter the major they have chosen.
As a University Studies student, you will be assigned to a professional academic advisor who will work with you until you have selected and been admitted to a degree program. UAAC advisors are familiar with the requirements for all of the university’s academic programs and can help you explore the programs that interest you. You can remain in the University Studies major until the end of your sophomore year.
Entering Virginia Tech
It is perfectly acceptable to enter Virginia Tech without declaring a specific major. Indeed, the University Studies major exists to ensure that students do not choose a program of study without assistance and proper information.
If you are uncertain about what you want to study or about your future goals, the UAAC is here to work with you. Until you are ready to make a choice and pursue it, University Studies is your major at Virginia Tech, and the University Academic Advising Center is your academic home.
Though many students declare a major before entering a university, many students also change their majors an average of three times before graduating! It would seem many more college students are really “undecided” when they enter as freshmen than admissions numbers may indicate. If you are uncertain, you should take the time to explore the possibilities available to you rather than make an arbitrary decision that may prove unsatisfactory later.
By choosing University Studies, students have the opportunity to explore several options before making a commitment to any particular degree program. Besides individual guidance and assistance, University Studies majors are encouraged to take a variety of courses to help in their major exploration.
Discovering the major that is best for you is an exciting and illuminating process. You will learn more about yourself, about academic disciplines, and about career opportunities, graduate programs, and professional schools. In the process, you will also learn more about Virginia Tech.
Many students find that several disciplines interest them, and that there are several programs to prepare them for the career area or graduate school they wish to enter. Often, the challenge is not in finding a major, but in determining which of several possible majors is best suited to individual interests and abilities.
Advisors can help you narrow your choices. They will discuss how your interests, aptitudes, and goals are related to academic disciplines and career areas, and they will assist you in developing a strategy for researching the different possibilities.
Some students decide to combine academic disciplines in either a double major or in a major and minor, providing greater adaptability in our changing economy and often making students more attractive to graduate schools and employers.
There are several things you can do now to help yourself and your UAAC advisor. First, don’t dismiss any program becausee it has an unfamiliar title or because you don’t think it will offer good future opportunities. Read about all degree programs as well as the career and graduate school prospects they offer. Many less publicized disciplines have a high demand for their graduates and insufficient students to meet that demand. Secondly, think about what you enjoy and do well, then look at degree programs drawing upon these strengths. Use the library and the Internet to research academic programs and career areas. The more information you gather, the more you will be able to discuss with your advisor, and the further you will be toward making a decision.
College Undecided Programs
Many students know they are interested in a specific field, but don’t know what major within that field will best suit them. If you are confident you are interested in a general area, yet are unsure of your exact path, you may want to consider declaring an undecided major within a specific college. Undecided programs in agriculture and life sciences, business, and natural resources are designed to allow you to work towards declaring a major within those colleges. Like the University Studies program, the college undecided programs provide time and special opportunities to explore the choices within the college and the university.
You will work with a college advisor to explore the college’s options before making a commitment to a degree program. College undecided programs, like University Studies, give you until the end of your sophomore year to declare a major. For more information on college undecided programs, go to our undergraduate programs of study page.
Choosing a Major
Ultimately, the decision about your major is yours to make. Your advisor will provide information and recommend strategies for researching and choosing a degree program, but will not tell you which major to select.
UAAC students go on to enter one of seven colleges. Some majors and colleges have very specific admission criteria; others do not. Students who select competitive admission programs (listed at end) should do so only after carefully considering the background and aptitudes necessary to succeed in those programs. Since there is no guarantee of admission to these programs, we recommend that you have an alternate major in mind.
In order to complete your degree in a timely manner, you must declare and be admitted to a degree program by the end of your sophomore year. Once you enter the college you have chosen, you will be assigned to an advisor in your major field of study.
Preparation & Application
Virginia Tech’s degree programs are structured around the Curriculum for Liberal Education (CLE). These are courses in mathematics, English composition, science, social science, and humanities. All university degree programs require students to complete these courses, and most students, regardless of major, spend their first two years completing (CLE) requirements. You will be able to complete requirements for your degree while exploring and deciding upon a major. A typical first-year program is as shown:
- English composition
- Natural science
- Social science
- English composition
- Natural science
- Social science
- Art History
- Business (undecided)
- Communication Studies
- XT: Explore Technology
- Explore CAUS
- Exploring Life Sciences (undecided)
- Liberal Arts (undecided)
- Natural Resources (undecided)
- Pre-Health Professions
- Studio Art
- Visual Communication (Graphic) Design