People often pick a major with a career in mind, but not always. Choosing a major isn’t the same thing as choosing your future career, but your college major will affect your career options after college. So you’ll want to think about what careers you might pursue if you decide to major in a particular subject.

How Majors Prepare You for Careers

There are majors that train you for the job you’ll have later on—such as Journalism, Social Work, or Engineering—and then there are broader majors like English, Math, or Biology, that focus more on the field of study. If you already know you want to be, say, a psychologist, choosing to major in psychology would be the obvious choice. But if you aren’t sure, or if you don’t want to limit your options too much, you may consider majoring in a subject that interests you and seeing where it leads.

Tailoring Majors Toward Career Goals

You can also choose a specialization within your major as you figure out what interests you and start thinking about jobs or grad school. You might pursue the Creative Writing track in English, for example, or concentrate on Plant Biology as a Biology major. Schools usually give you some choice in what major classes you take, so you can guide your course of study in many different directions. Another thing you could do is choose a minor (or second major) in something that points you toward a specific career: e.g., someone who wants to be a political reporter might major in Journalism with a Political Science minor, or a future Physics teacher might choose Physics and Education.

Different Paths to Similar Careers

While there are definitely hard and fast rules about how to get into certain careers—architecture majors for architects, or med school for doctors—careers can also have less clear-cut college paths. You could get into certain business management careers by majoring in management, or by studying a particular industry (say, building construction) and learning the ins and outs of the business side that way. Writers can major in English or any other number of majors to get where they’re going, and even people in STEM fields can take different paths into the careers they seek. Talk to people who work in careers you’re interested in pursuing, and see how they got about getting there. You may be surprised at all the options you have.