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How Do I Choose the Best Degree Courses?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

Once you have chosen a specific field of study at a college or university, an advisor may be able to help you map out your degree courses. If, however, you have not yet decided what your major will be, choosing degree courses can be a bit more difficult. Many colleges and universities have general education requirements that every student must complete in order to graduate; if you have not yet declared a major, you can start your college education as an undeclared major and work toward completing your general education requirements. Be sure to do some research to find out if a specific date is set by which you must declare a major.

General education requirements encourage students to essentially sample classes in a wide range of subjects. If you are unsure what major to choose, completing general education courses may help guide you in the direction of your eventual major by allowing you to explore various interests in a variety of subjects. Try to choose general educaation courses that suit your interests, or courses that pique your curiosity. If you find like-minded students who have taken certain courses before, be sure to ask for recommendations you might enjoy.

Woman standing behind a stack of books
Woman standing behind a stack of books

Degree courses pertain directly to your chosen major and a new student can meet with his or her advisor to start planning out a course schedule, especially in the first year. Start with lower-level courses so you can gauge the difficulty of degree courses and begin to develop your own work habits. Once you have completed some lower level courses, you may consider taking higher level courses, but be sure to look into the prerequisite requirements for each course listing; some courses may require that you take other, lower-level degree courses before you can enroll in that particular class.

It is good to have an idea of what type of degree you will be earning before you choose degree courses. An associate's degree, for example, will require you to complete coursework in two years, while a bachelor's degree will generally take four. Post-graduate courses for a master's degree or PhD will take a few years beyond the bachelor's degree education, and these upper level courses can be rigorous and time consuming. If you know you will be earning a master's degree eventually, make sure you complete all coursework that will help you earn a bachelor's degree. During your senior year of undergraduate studies, you may be able to begin taking graduate level courses toward your master's degree.

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