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Relate Majors to Careers


The relationship between major and career is indirect and complicated. Deciding on a major, whether you are choosing one or contemplating a change, can be a daunting task, especially when you are trying to connect the major to some future career. 

Sometimes, the relationship between the two can look linear:  major    career.  For example, Stony Brook’s major in journalism would prepare you to be a journalist; the major in chemical engineering would prepare you to be a chemical engineer.

But, the relationship between major and career usually looks like this:



LEADERSHIP ACTIVITIES                                                                                                                     JOB REQUIREMENTS

VOLUNTEERISM                                                               →    

PART TIME JOBS/INTERNSHIPS                                                                          GRAD SCHOOL REQUIREMENTS



The relationship between major and career is indirect and more complicated than you’d probably expect.  Every major leads to a wide variety of career options. For example:

The purpose of a liberal arts education is less to give you hard job skills than to teach you how to do things like write well and think critically – transferable skills that are essential in any job.

D id you know that studio art majors can become doctors or lawyers (if they complete the requirements for medical and law school respectively)?  


Your major is only ONE part of what your future employer or graduate school will consider. The key is to combine your academic study with experience that adds to your skills and refines your interests. 

But your major will most likely have a direct effect on your feelings of academic engagement, your passion for learning, and your overall satisfaction with college – so you should still choose carefully!  Here are some steps you can take:

  • Attend a workshop at the Career Center.
  • Enroll in CAR 110.
  • Take a self-assessment inventory .
  • Schedule an appointment with a career counselor.
  • Browse through our many resources to explore occupations and employers . 


What can I do with a major in...


Explore Occupations


The Career Development Cycle model was created to help students better understand the process of career development. You should touch upon each part of this cycle throughout your college experience. Over time, you will find yourself building up both your resume and your confidence in a particular career direction.



Career Competencies

Career competencies are the skills required to successfully perform a job. Until now, “career readiness” has been hard to define, which made it difficult for leaders in higher education, workforce development, and public policy to work together effectively to ensure the career readiness of today’s graduates. 

The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), through a task force of select professionals,  identified eight competencies associated with career readiness.

Read More


Research Occupations

Gathering information about careers and professions can be a difficult task. We have provided you with a number of resources we trust for information about the professions you may be interested in pursuing.


Network with Alumni

We offer a variety of ways for you to learn from alumni and friends about careers. 

Network with Alumni on LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s       Alumni page    provides high-level insights about alumni of your school, as well as access to the more detailed professional profiles they've shared. It can help you:

  • Explore possibilities:    See what alumni in your field have accomplished since graduation - and expand your sense of what's possible for you.
  • Make connections:    Reconnect with old friends, and reach out to alumni in your field for their industry expertise and career opportunities.
  • Find opportunities:    From mentoring to jobs, your fellow alumni are often are ready to help.



Student-Alumni Virtual Networking Hours

Every 1st week of the month from 4:00pm - 5:00pm; 1:1 virtual networking hours by Career Communities. All chats/video connections will take place through  Google Hangouts. Student-alumni connections will be no longer than 20 min. Ideally, there will be 3 connections made. Apply on   Handshake under Career Events.

MONDAYS:   Healthcare |  Education & Helping Professions 
TUESDAYS:   Business |  Arts/Communications 
WEDNESDAYS:  IT & Engineering
THURSDAYS:  Scientific Research & Academia  |  Government & Public Service 

Exploring Career Community student members can select any Community without concern about committing to one community. 

Additional Ways to Learn From SBU Alum:


Assess Yourself


Have you heard about a “career test” that will tell you exactly what major or career path you should take?

That idea is a little misleading, because no website or piece of paper can truly know who you are and what’s best for you.  However, there are self-assessment tools that can help you understand yourself better, which in turn can help you figure out what’s best for you.

As illustrated in the picture above, ideally, a thorough self-assessment will consist of   4 factors:



Your   values: what’s important to you in a career?

Values Assessment

Your   interests: what do you like doing or thinking about?

O*NET Interest Profiler

Your   skills: what are you good at, or could you get better at?

Functional Skills Assessment

Your   personality: how do you prefer to interact with the world?

16 Personalities MBTI Test

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