Can't decide on a major? Apply to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences as "open" major. You'll work closely with an adviser to select a major, and with careful planning you can still graduate in four years.
You’re ready to enroll in college and all is well, except you have no idea what you’d like to study as a major or choose as a career.
At the University of Iowa, that’s not a problem. About 20 percent of new students entering the university each year haven’t made a final choice about their major or their career. These students usually enroll in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, declaring their major as “open major.” They plan to choose a major after taking courses in the General Education Core Program or elective courses in fields of possible interest.
If you are interested in engineering but not sure which field you want to pursue, it also is possible to apply to the College of Engineering as an undecided major.
If you have not decided on an area of study, you need to meet the requirements for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
If you are interested in an engineering major, you must meet the requirements for admission to the College of Engineering.
Iowa offers more than 500 student organizations. Joining a student organization, whether academic or recreational in nature, can provide ways to learn more about majors and careers. So can volunteering with university and community service agencies and organizations.
Opportunities to Explore
The university offers an "Exploring Majors Fair" each fall semester for first-year students who want to explore the wide array of academic options at Iowa.
Undergraduate Research Programs
The University of Iowa is classified as an RU/VH Research University, meaning its professors are on the cutting edge of research in their fields.
Whether the area is biology, geology, psychology, medicine, engineering, business, or another area of the arts or sciences, getting involved in research as an undergraduate can be great preparation for a career. It also can help students who have not declared a major to decide whether a particular field is appropriate for them. Students at Iowa have remarkable opportunities in this area. Not all colleges and universities offer research opportunities to undergraduates.
Students who are active in research as undergraduates are more likely to be accepted into a graduate or professional program. Also, research involvement can provide credit hours toward graduation, money for education, and important letters of recommendation.
Many campus programs support students interested in academic and scientific research, including the University of Iowa Honors Program, the Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates Program, and the Iowa Biosciences Advantage Program (for underrepresented minority students).
The University of Iowa provides a variety of scholarships to eligible undergraduate students through the Iowa Scholarship Portal. Scholarships are available to first-year, transfer, and currently enrolled students. For additional details on scholarships for your program of study, check directly with the department or college.
If you are interested in Iowa’s Four-Year Graduation Plan, you’ll need to work closely with your adviser. Most majors at Iowa are eligible for the four-year plan and have course requirement checkpoints that must be met in each of the four years. You may be able to graduate in four years even if you don’t choose your major by the end of your first year, but you’ll need to plan carefully.