Connect AP to Majors and Careers
Explore the relationships between AP courses, majors, and careers based on your choice.
AP Course: AP Computer Science A
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Related Majors and Careers
Aerospace engineering majors learn how to use math and science to design and develop aircraft, spacecraft, and missiles. They also study such topics as aerodynamics, orbits, launch, flight controls, and engines.
For thousands of years, people enviously watched birds coast through the skies and wondered how they did it. But in the last one hundred years, flying on this earth has become as unremarkable as walking, and space travel is no longer the stuff of science fiction.
As an aerospace engineering major, you’ll learn the basics that helped the Wright brothers and others conquer the age-old problem of flight. You’ll learn how to apply these ideas to developing new types of air- and spacecraft that are better, safer, and stronger. You’ll find out how space flight works and dream up new ways of exploring galaxies unknown.
As an agricultural engineering major, you’ll learn how to use science to improve the production, processing, storage, and distribution of food, timber, fiber, and renewable energy sources while protecting the environment.
Could the earth run out of earth? It doesn’t seem possible, but it takes thousands of years for soil to develop. This means that soil is practically a nonrenewable resource. Meanwhile, soil is being worn out by farming, polluted by chemicals, and eroded by wind and water.
If this concerns you, you’re not alone. Some agricultural engineers come up with farming practices that use soil more efficiently. Others help farmers by designing power systems, tools, and storage space. Still others look for ways to ensure food safety during processing. Thanks to agricultural engineering, farmers are getting better at producing safe food more efficiently while protecting the environment and using natural resources wisely.
Applied physics students learn how to use physics to solve career-oriented problems. They combine studies in physics and math with courses in related majors, such as chemistry, engineering, and computer science.
If your head is in the stars and your feet are on the ground, consider a degree in applied physics. You’ll start by studying some of the same science that other physics majors learn, from the formation of the solar system to the pull of a magnet. But you'll build on your foundation by concentrating on the practical applications of physics.
Other physics majors are typically prepared for graduate school in the field. But the focus in applied physics is usually on entering a career with a bachelor's degree or going to graduate school in non-physics fields that range from engineering to medical and law school. The keyword in this major is flexibility.
Astronomy students study space, the history and future of the universe, and the objects within, such as planets, stars, and galaxies. Subjects of study include the evolution of stars, how the stars and planets move through space, chemistry, and advanced math.
When you look up at the night sky, what do you see? There are patterns of stars, planets, the moon, and some sights that you may not be able to explain. Astronomy is the study of those objects in space — how stars, planets, and galaxies form and behave — and the universe itself.
If you want to understand the mysteries of the night sky, this could be the major for you.
Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology
Meteorology students study the atmosphere (the gases that surround the earth), focusing on the weather and how to forecast it. Areas of study include the climate, the physics of the atmosphere, and chemistry.
You’ve got your bathing suit on and your sun block packed, but by the time you get to the beach, it’s pouring rain. What happened to that sunny day you expected? Why is the weather so changeable, so uncertain?
Meteorology is the field of science that seeks to understand and predict short-term weather as well as long-term climate processes.
Botany majors study not only plants but also one-celled organisms related to plants and the environments and ecosystems in which plants live.
It’s easy to think that humans rule the world. We have built vast cities, created advanced technology, and populated most areas of the planet. And of course, we’ve domesticated both plants and animals.
In reality, though, it’s the plants that are in control. Plants convert sunlight into chemical energy through a process called photosynthesis. Animals in turn eat the plants (or other animals that have eaten the plants) to get energy. Without plants, animals, including us humans, would be unable to live. Botany is the study of these powerful organisms in all their shapes and forms.
Business Administration and Management
This program prepares students to plan, organize, direct, and control an organization's activities.
With the creation of large factories in the late 1800s came the need to manage large groups of workers. In his 1911 book The Principles of Scientific Management, Frederick Winslow Taylor addressed that need. He suggested that each worker be trained to do a single task with no wasted effort. His philosophy made such a big impact on the business world that it was nicknamed Taylorism and is still studied today.
Of course, there’s a lot of disagreement about Taylorism: some people argue that it's inhumane, while others celebrate the increased productivity it has led to. As a student in business management, you’ll add your voice to this debate and others like it.
Chemical engineering majors learn how to put chemicals to work. Classes cover such topics as improving the way factories use chemicals to make products and solving problems such as rust and pollution.
Suppose you have this great recipe for chocolate ice cream. You like to make it at home for your family and friends. You make it in a little one-gallon machine that goes into your freezer. But what if you sell your recipe to a big food company? Now they have to be able to make thousands of gallons a day. Each gallon of ice cream needs to taste exactly the same and look exactly the same.
What kind of equipment could they use? How would the recipe change? How can the factory make the ice cream at low cost? These are all questions for the chemical engineer.
Chemistry majors use math, theory, and experimentation to study matter (physical substance). They look at what it’s made of and how it behaves, down to the atomic level.
Lightning crackles in the sky as the camera pans over a dark castle. Down in the laboratory, a mad scientist stands among his many vials, test tubes, and beakers, mixing liquids to produce a bubbling, smoking potion.
The popular B movie villain, haphazardly mixing chemicals for evil purposes, is a far cry from the professional chemist. In reality, chemists work in controlled environments, using the scientific method to make valuable contributions in a range of fields, including medicine, biology, psychology, and geology. As a chemistry major, you’ll explore many different topics, from the chemical basis for life to the environmental problems caused by chemicals.
Civil engineering majors learn how to use math and science to design big construction projects. Topics covered include the calculation of how much weight a structure will hold and the environmental issues that surround construction.
The first Homo sapiens who put a bunch of sticks together to get a roof over their heads were, in a way, civil engineers. Today’s civil engineers have more responsibility than ever. They build skyscrapers that reach thousands of feet in the air. They hang suspension bridges that support tons of cars and trucks each day. They create water systems that support millions of city dwellers. If you study civil engineering, you’ll learn what you need to know to work on the projects that make modern life possible.
Computer Engineering, General
Through the study of mathematics, physics, and computer science, computer engineering majors learn to analyze, design, and develop computer hardware and software.
Some of us drive cars with little knowledge of how they work. Others wouldn’t dream of driving a car without understanding exactly how it’s powered, how it gets them from point A to point B, and how to fix it when it breaks down.
Computer engineering students have the same philosophy about computers. They want to know how computers work and what they can do to make them smarter, faster, and more efficient.
Computer forensics majors learn how to fight computer crime by collecting and analyzing digital data. They also learn how to prevent crime.
We’ve all been warned not to open emails from unfamiliar addresses -- and there’s good reason. What looks like simple spam can be the foundation of a serious crime, such as credit card fraud, identity theft, and virus transmission.
Who will stop cybercrime? With a degree in computer forensics, it could be you. In this major, you’ll learn not only how to digitally retrace the steps of criminals, but also how to serve justice by proving them guilty in a court of law.
Computer graphics majors use computers and math to create realistic images and learn how to develop graphics software.
How do you make the three-dimensional curves of a basketball look real on a two-dimensional screen? You hire a computer graphics expert.
And if you major in computer graphics, you’ll be able to do it yourself. You’ll practice using shading, object rendering, and other techniques to create realistic images for computers, movies, TV, video games, and more. But don’t be fooled by the pretty pictures -- this is a major for students who are serious about computers. You’ll even learn how to develop your own graphics software.
Computer Networking and Telecommunications
Students of computer systems networking and telecommunications learn how computers communicate with each other. They study the design, installation, and improvement of computer networks and related software.
It’s hard to believe there was a time when we didn’t have email, the Internet, or cell phones. But when we telecommunicate, sending messages and information via phones and computers, we rely on relatively new technology -- from fiber optics to satellites.
If you choose this major, you’ll learn how to work with the latest technology as well as the technology that’s right around the corner. By the time you graduate, you’ll know how to expand the capabilities of networks already in place and to build new ones.
Computer science majors learn about computer systems and the way humans and computers interact from a scientific perspective. Instruction includes programming and the theory and design of software.
In countless old Star Trek episodes, a baffled captain asked the computer for help, and the computer promptly replied with an answer. What was once science fiction is becoming reality, thanks to computer scientists working in voice recognition.
If you study computer science, you may learn how to design computer programs that allow humans and computers to speak to one another. Keep in mind, your work is more likely to help a vision-impaired person than a captain navigating the universe, but you never know.
Computer Software Engineering
As a software engineering major, you’ll study the scientific and mathematical basis of computer software. You’ll learn a variety of programming languages and how to design, analyze and maintain software.
If you’re considering a major as a computer software engineer, be prepared for a cutting edge and continuously evolving career. Jobs will advance rapidly and new jobs will be created often to meet ever-changing technological needs. Just think about how much computers and the software they use have evolved over the past four years.
The scientific and mathematical foundation you build in this major will always be fundamental to your work. But like other computer majors, you’ll face a lifetime of learning as you strive to stay on the forefront of innovation.
If you major in database management, you’ll learn how to construct databases. You’ll study the organization, storage, and retrieval of large amounts of information.
Think about how much data you have stored on your computer. You may have trouble finding the occasional file, but you usually manage.
Now imagine how much data is available on the Internet. Much of that information is stored on databases. Thanks in part to the work of database administrators, you’re able to find the information you need quickly.
Design and Visual Communications
Students of design and visual communications study a wide range of applied arts disciplines, from interior design to illustration and beyond.
Like broad strokes across a canvas, the major in design and visual communications cuts a wide swath through a range of applied arts, from fashion design to industrial design.
In this major, you’ll learn what it takes to communicate ideas and information effectively -- no matter what art form you’re using. Though you’ll have to take a few courses on theory, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to build the practical skills you’ll need to work in the field.
Ecology majors study the web of living and nonliving things in an environment to understand how the whole system works.
If you’ve ever gotten so caught up in details that you’ve lost sight of the big picture, then you know what people mean when they say you can’t see the forest for the trees.
But when ecologists get to work, they not only look at the trees, they look at the animals, the rocks, the soil, and the air. In short, they look at the forest -- the whole picture of a given area.
Economics majors learn about economic theory, economic systems such as capitalism, and mathematical methods. They use their knowledge to analyze how limited resources are made, traded, and used.
As the old song says, money makes the world go 'round. However, without the proper knowledge, it’s difficult to figure out exactly how.
Economics majors learn to decode the systems behind what can often appear impossible to understand. They study economic models and theories to analyze how the seemingly simple acts of buying and selling can be complicated by factors such as taxes, interest rates, inflation, labor disagreements, and even the weather.
Education majors study how people learn and how to best teach them. Classes cover such topics as educational psychology, school health and safety issues, and the planning of classroom activities.
Do you find yourself reading stories to younger kids or organizing games for your cousins at the family picnic? Do you feel proud when you've explained a difficult math problem to a friend and his face lights up with understanding?
If you major in education, you’ll develop your talents into the skills every teacher needs. You’ll find out how to set up and manage a classroom, design and teach inspiring lessons, and help students succeed no matter what their age, background, or learning style.
As an electrical engineering major, you’ll study electricity: how it works, how it’s generated, and how it’s used to power everything from lightbulbs and radios to cell phones and robots. You’ll also learn how to design your own electric-powered projects.
Imagine a blackout. You’re in the dark and without the gadgets you normally take for granted. There’s no better time to appreciate electricity.
As an electrical engineering major, you’ll go far beyond an appreciation of the awesome powers of the electron. You’ll learn how to harness that power and use it to perform a few miracles of your own invention.
Electronics technology majors learn the basic skills needed to operate, maintain, install, and repair electrical and electronic equipment.
Are you the type who takes apart the toaster just to see if you can put it back together again? If so, you may want to major in electronics technology.
In this broad-based program, you’ll learn the basics of electronics and electricity, from circuits to microprocessors. With a certificate or associate’s degree under your belt, you’ll be ready to apply your skills installing phone and home-alarm systems, fixing washing machines, troubleshooting computer ills -- and much more.
Students of environmental studies use what they learn in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities to understand environmental problems. They look at how we interact with the natural world and come up with ideas for how we can prevent its destruction.
We use cars to get to work, run errands, and visit friends. Most of these cars run on gas, but the oil we use to make gas is running out. What’s more, drilling for oil destroys natural areas, and burning gas creates pollution. Other ways to power cars, such as electricity, ethanol, and biodiesel, already exist. So why isn't everyone using these energy sources?
To answer this and other important environmental questions, you’ll need to draw on the ideas of many fields, such as science, economics, and politics. If you major in environmental studies, you’ll learn how.
Exercise science majors study the science of the human movement. They also learn how to help people live healthier lives through exercise, rehabilitation, and nutrition.
Do you get a rush from organized sports? Do you feel proud when you work out with teammates and help one another succeed? Is eating well and maintaining a healthy lifestyle a priority to you?
If so, maybe you should go for gold and study the field of exercise science. You’ll learn the science behind everything from jogging to low-carb diets.
Geography majors study how space on the earth’s surface is placed and used. Students who concentrate on physical geography focus on the land itself, studying such topics as climate, soil, and water. Cultural, or human, geography explores the relationship between people and the land.
If you think geography is all about staring at maps and memorizing state capitols, you couldn’t be more wrong. As a geography major, you’ll study a wide variety of subjects: deserts in the making, the causes of racially segregated housing, the paths of tornados, and the way international trade agreements affect business in a small town.
As one senior geography major put it, “What we study is how the world works. Is there anything more important or more engaging than that?”
Geology students look at the earth and the forces acting upon it, including the solids, liquids, and gasses that make it up. Study includes such topics as historical geology, rock and soil chemistry, and the use of minerals in industry.
If you study geology, you’ll learn about the Earth's treasures, such as fossils and gems, as well as its dangers, such as volcanoes and earthquakes.
Industrial engineering majors learn how to improve the way factories, hospitals, and other organizations run. They learn to take all factors into account -- from equipment and materials to people.
How many copies of the first Harry Potter book should the corner bookstore keep on its shelf? How many people need to work the night shift at a cupcake factory in order to supply the local chain of grocery stores? Will technology stocks rise or fall over the next three months?
As an industrial engineering major, you’ll draw on math, science, business, and psychology to answer questions like these. You’ll learn how to create factory schedules, determine delivery routes, set up customer service systems, and much more.
Information science majors learn how to create systems for finding and storing data. Students look at the big picture of information exchange and learn how people interact with, use, and sell information.
Students of information science learn about computers, but they also study people. Most importantly, they explore the way people and computers come together.
If you major in information science, you’ll examine the many challenges we face when it comes to technology: How can we build websites that are easy to use? How can we use computers to open new worlds to children without endangering them? How can we bridge the “digital divide” between the haves and the have-nots?
IT majors focus on how information and computing systems support business, research, and communications needs. Instruction ranges from the basics of computer hardware to the complex relationship between humans and computers.
Do your friends and family come to you with computer questions? Do you get a sense of satisfaction when you’ve solved their problems? If so, imagine working some day as the go-to “tech person” at a small company or a large institution where the flow of information is critical to its mission.
As an information technology (IT) major, you'll study computer science, business, and communications. Along the way, you might focus on one specialty such as web development or digital communications. But regardless of your focus, you’ll acquire strong technical and communication skills.
Library and Information Science
Students of library and information science learn the skills they need to work as librarians or information consultants. Classes cover developing, storing, finding, organizing, and using information -- whether it's written in a book, posted on a website, recorded on a video or CD, or captured on a slide.
Many of us picture librarians as old-fashioned bookworms. Yet here's how one student describes today's librarians: “[They] help people find jobs [and] search the Internet. They help kids and parents find homework resources. They introduce people to the joys of reading … and they protect our rights to freedom of speech."
Most librarians study library science at the graduate level only. If becoming a professional librarian is your goal, you may want to major in another area of interest as an undergraduate. For example, a bachelor’s degree in science will come in handy if you hope to work as a science librarian someday.
Linguistics deals with the structure of language (including syntax, phonetics, and grammar), the relationships between languages, and the way languages change over time.
The sentence that you are reading right now has a structure that can be taken apart and analyzed, just like sentences written in other languages have structures unique to them. Yet, since all humans are, after all, human, every language also contains universal linguistic elements.
Linguistics majors study how languages like Spanish, French, Korean, Hopi -- and even computer programming languages -- function and how people learn to speak and write in those languages.
Management Information Systems
MIS majors study information systems and their use in business and other organizations. They learn about computer databases, networks, computer security, and more.
Everyone who works in business, from someone who pays the bills to the person who hires and fires, uses information systems. For example, a supermarket could use a computer database to keep track of which products sell best. And a music store could use a database to sell CDs over the Internet. If you major in management information systems (MIS), you’ll learn how to put technology to work.
Students of management science learn how to use math and science to design systems, make decisions, and solve problems for businesses. They take courses in high-level math, statistics, computer science, and business.
When most of us go to the airport, we're busy -- saying goodbye to mom and dad, or buying a last-minute box of candy to take to the aunt in Arizona. Most of us don't pause to think about who planned all the systems we're passing through. Who decided when our flight would leave, from which gate, and what route it would travel? Who figured out which pilot and flight crew would be assigned to our airplane? Who set up the security checkpoints?
Management science majors learn the skills and techniques they’ll need to help businesses such as airlines solve complex problems.
Marine biology majors study the creatures that live in the oceans. They also look at the habitats and ecological environments in which these organisms live.
Oceans cover two-thirds of the earth's surface. And while their surfaces often look smooth, the oceans are teeming with life. Oceans provide animal habitat all the way down to the ocean floor. Since oceans are, on average, over 2.5 miles deep, this means that they contain 99.5 percent of our planet's livable habitat. Within that vast space, the oceans are filled with a huge range of microscopic organisms, animals, and plant life.
If you major in marine biology, you’ll learn how this life thrives in the oceans. You’ll study such subjects as the chemical makeup of water, the ocean’s geology, marine mammals, fish, plants, and biological habitats.
As a materials engineering major, you’ll use math and science to study ceramics, metals, polymers (such as glass, rubber, and plastic), and other materials. You’ll learn how to invent and manufacture new materials.
In 1953, when Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first people to reach the top of
High-tech gear like that wouldn’t be possible without modern materials. Everything is made out of something, whether cotton, titanium, or GORE-TEX -- materials engineering majors study that something.
Math majors study quantities, forms, and symbolic logic in such subjects as algebra, geometry, calculus, logic, topology, and number theory.
Most of us are comfortable using everyday math -- when we go shopping, for example. But higher level math, such as calculus, may seem mysterious, a completely unfamiliar language. As a math major, you’ll study this language and learn how to use it to describe the world. You’ll explore calculus, modern algebra, and other high-level math in the purest light.
If you love to solve math problems just to know the answer and enjoy using abstract concepts to discover whether something is true or false, this could be the major for you.
As a mechanical engineering major, you’ll learn the science behind machines and the energy that makes them work. You’ll also apply what you learn by creating your own machines.
Machines may not have taken over the world as imagined in some science fiction, but they are certainly a big part of life today.
Students of mechanical engineering learn about the machines that bring convenience and excitement to our lives. They study the physics that make roller coasters loop and planes fly. They learn about the properties of materials that can withstand the heat of the sun and the cold of outer space. And they discover the secrets behind control systems such as the cruise control in the family car.
Molecular biology majors explore cells, their characteristics, parts, and chemical processes. You’ll pay special attention to how molecules control a cell’s activities and growth.
There’s a range of complexity in life on earth. You can see an amoeba, a complete organism that consists of just one cell, under a microscope. Or you can look in a mirror and see a human being, made up of trillions of cells working together.
In both the amoeba and the human, the cell is a complex, functioning structure, with parts and chemical processes that define what the organism is and does. In molecular biology, you’ll study the cell and gain an understanding of how it works.
Natural Resources Management and Policy
Students in this major learn to plan, develop, manage, and choose between programs that protect natural areas and natural resources, such as trees and water.
As suburbs expand, they often hit the border of natural areas. And if a wildfire breaks out, disaster may follow. How can we preserve nature and protect people? Setting controlled fires to clear out dead brush and prevent bigger fires is one solution. Others feel that cutting down some trees and thinning forests is the way to go. Planning communities more carefully is another solution. Which policy would you choose?
In this major, you'll use what you learn in the life, physical, and social sciences to come up with policies that both preserve the environment and help people.
Neuroscience majors study a combination of subjects, including psychology and chemistry, to deepen their understanding of the brain and the nervous system.
Everyone gets stressed out now and then, and some stress is healthy. Say a dad sees his toddler toppling off a play structure. His brain releases chemicals that trigger other reactions in his body, giving him a burst of energy to dash to his daughter before she hits the pavement.
But neuroscientists have found that too much stress can hurt a part the brain’s hippocampus, which plays a key role in memory. Neuroscientists are working on treatments for stress -- but the best remedy may be to just mellow out. If you major in neuroscience, you’ll study stress, memory, and other mysteries of the brain and nervous system.
Nuclear engineering majors study radioactive materials and radiation and learn how to use them in areas such as power, nuclear medicine, and industry.
It wasn’t long ago that scientists first began to split the atom, releasing nuclear energy in a process called fission. Now nuclear energy is used to supply electricity to homes all over the world and may someday be used to power rockets twice as fast as a space shuttle. And in medicine, radiation plays a big role, making possible everything from x-rays to treatments that destroy cancer cells.
Of course, nuclear energy also creates problems, such as the radioactive waste from nuclear power plants. As a nuclear engineering major, your studies will go beyond the basics of fission and the benefits of nuclear energy to include its challenges.
Physics is the scientific study of matter and energy. Topics covered include classical and modern theories, electricity and magnetism, and relativity.
How does the universe work? What are atoms made of? While the first question is about the biggest of things, the second asks about the unimaginably small. Yet both questions fall under the scope of physics.
Physics majors seek to understand the laws that govern the universe. From gigantic stars trillions of miles away to the subatomic particles within our own bodies, physics takes on matter and energy in all its forms.
This major prepares students to use basic engineering principles and skills to help engineers create and test robots. Courses include the principles of robotics, the design and testing of robots, and robot repair.
A robotic tuna? Dr. Jamie Anderson at MIT designed a "vorticity control unmanned undersea vehicle," or VCUUV -- and it looks like a yellowfin tuna, right down to the yellow fin. It even moves its tail side to side as it swims. Why? Dr. Anderson and others discovered that this flexible movement enables the robot to make sharper, quicker turns than robots with rigid shapes.
Unlike a tuna, though, the VCUUV is stuffed with equipment, including a computer and sensing instruments. Its uses include undersea surveillance (spying) and search-and-rescue missions.
Statistics students study probability theory and sampling theory. They also learn to use techniques based on these theories to study the relationships between groups of measurements.
Who will win the next presidential election? To find out, you might ask each and every registered voter how they plan to vote. But a more practical way to get your answer is to conduct an opinion poll, questioning only a small sample of registered voters. But how can you use the answers of a small group of people to make a prediction that involves many millions of people nationwide?
That’s where statistics comes into play. Statistics is a field of applied mathematics that relies heavily on computers. Using statistics, pollsters can decide who to interview and how to weigh the information they collect to make accurate predictions.
Students in studio arts learn the skills and techniques they need to express themselves as visual artists.
Why major in art? Why not just grab a paintbrush, pencil, or chisel and do your thing? The reasons to study art in college are many.
You’ll have the chance to try out new media -- you may enter school as a painter and fall in love with printmaking. You might start out sculpting in clay but discover that wood is your true love. From your teachers, you’ll learn skills and techniques that will help you work more efficiently and consistently. With your peers, you’ll practice the art of critique. And in art history classes, you’ll learn from great masters new and old.
Web development majors learn how to use both technical skills and design concepts to create websites.
HTML, XML, SGML: Web languages and other tools used to create websites will continue to evolve. But in college, you can build the foundation you’ll need to keep up with changing technology throughout your career.
As a Web development major, you’ll learn how to create, design, edit, and launch Internet documents, images, graphics, sound, and multimedia products. You’ll also learn about Web page standards and policies, e-commerce, new Web technologies, and more.
Zoology majors study animals, their internal workings, and their activities.
Some biologists study plants, others study microbes, and some study fungi, such as mushrooms. But if you want to study living things that move a bit faster, then major in zoology. Zoologists study animals with and without backbones, from worms, insects, and mollusks to fish, birds, and, of course, mammals.
If you choose this major, you’ll study the whole organism. But you’ll also look at its parts, from the chemical makeup of its body to its cells and organs. In addition, you’ll study whole populations of species and the ways animals adapt to their environments.