Choosing a college major concentration: Specializing for success

May 31, 2022 · 4 min read · By ASU Online
Wondering what major concentrations are and how they it work? Read on to learn about degree concentrations and if one is right for you. 
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What is a concentration in college?

There are many college majors out there, and some programs offer concentrations that allow you to gain specialized knowledge in a certain area. A concentration can offer you greater knowledge and new skill sets, all centered around a specific area of study.

For wide-ranging disciplines such as biological sciences, business and English, choosing a concentration can offer you structured yet diverse coursework to help you focus on what best lines up with your professional goals. A concentration allows you to delve deeper into an area of study, and it can help you build strong relationships with faculty who are experts in that area.

Some major concentrations can also help you build a practical skill set that translates well to the workplace. For example, a Bachelor of Arts in business with a concentration in business administration can equip you with the tools you need to forecast demands, conduct skillful negotiations or plan inventory — valuable skills for future roles in operations or supply chain management.

 

Major concentrations can fast track you to getting hired

Whether your concentration appears on your diploma or transcripts in addition to your degree name will vary by institution. At Arizona State University, for example, your concentration will not appear on your diploma, but it’ll be noted on your transcripts. Prominently mentioning it on your resume is also a great way to pique the interest of recruiters and prospective employers.

Choosing a major concentration can give you a competitive edge in the job market as you put your degree to use in the real world and apply for positions in your chosen field. Different concentrations can qualify you to apply for specific entry-level roles.

For example, art majors with a museum studies concentration can take courses designed to prepare them for global careers in museums, galleries or cultural heritage institutions. By doing so, graduates can develop the historical knowledge and analytical skills needed to apply for entry-level curatorial, public relations or preservation positions.

 

How to choose a major concentration

If you’re interested in exploring a major concentration, you should talk with your enrollment coach as you select a program. They can talk through your professional objectives with you, advise you on whether the specific coursework would play to your strengths and describe how a concentration might prepare you for employment. Your major may offer many different concentrations, and your advisor can walk you through each of them and brainstorm potential career paths that correspond with them.

If you're in the process of considering a concentration, you can look up median salaries (per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) to ensure the job you're envisioning for yourself also lines up with your financial goals. And while part of the undergraduate experience is gaining exposure to a broad range of topics and ideas, choosing a major concentration won't keep you from that experience or lock you into a narrow field of study.

For example, students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in biological sciences can select from four different major concentrations, including conservation biology and ecology and biomedical sciences. Whatever your choice, you’ll complete the same core biological sciences program of coursework. And if there’s more than one concentration that appeals to you — perhaps because you're still deciding whether you'd like to become a veterinarian or an environmental scientist — then your academic advisor can provide guidance. They may even be able to suggest how to pursue several different internships so you can determine what's right for you.

 

Earn your degree with ASU Online

ASU Online offers major concentrations in areas of study such as art, business, health sciences and more. Look for degree concentrations as you browse majors in your area of interest, or talk to your enrollment coach about whether there’s a concentration that best fits your interests and career goals.

If you’re a current student, you can make a virtual appointment with an ASU career advisor to learn about the types of employment that students and graduates with your major and prospective concentration have pursued. It may even be possible to connect with ASU Online alumni who have pursued a similar educational path and ask how the concentration coursework prepared them for their careers.

When is changing majors a good idea?

Thinking about changing majors? Here are some considerations and tips to help you make the right choice for you.

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