Connect AP to Majors and Careers
Explore the relationships between AP courses, majors, and careers based on your choice.
AP Course: AP Seminar
Skills You'll Learn
AP can get you on your path
Related Majors and Careers
Acting students learn how to portray dramatic characters and their thoughts, moods, and feelings. Classes include instruction in voice for the actor, movement, improvisation, theater history, and actor coaching.
If starring in high school productions of such stage classics as Antigone, The Crucible, or Grease has given you the acting bug, you may want to study acting at the college level. What skills will you need to play your characters more convincingly? What is the subtext of a play? How do actors make stage combat look real? You’ll find the more you study acting, the more you learn about the preparation it takes to bring a character to life on stage or on screen.
Advertising majors learn how to create and spread messages used to promote and sell products and services.
Do Internet pop-up ads really sell products, or do they just annoy people? Why do some TV commercials pull us in while others turn us off? What are the psychological effects of various colors?
These are just a few of the questions you’ll explore as an advertising major. If you’ve ever dreamed of writing clever ad copy, planning a media campaign, or selling advertising space, this may be the major for you.
American studies majors look closely at the United States and its people from a variety of angles.
As a young and incredibly diverse nation, the United States is considered by many to be a work in progress. American studies majors explore the colorful canvas of the United States, often asking what it means to be American.
If you choose this major, you’ll study everything from the novels, music, and film of the United States to its politics, economy, and history. You’ll even investigate primary sources such as the letters of a Civil War soldier or the oral histories of the 1965 Watts riots in Los Angeles.
Area studies majors study the histories, politics, economics, and cultures of various areas of the world. They usually focus on a specific area, but sometimes compare two or more areas.
If the magical realist novels of Latin America capture your imagination, you might major in comparative literature or Spanish. Or if it’s the history of colonialism in African countries that fires your brain, you might major in history. But if you want to know Latin America or Africa inside out, then major in area studies. You’ll not only study everything from an area’s history to its present-day economy and art, you’ll also bring greater understanding to specific topics, from magical realism to colonialism.
While only a few schools have departments called area studies, many more have programs dedicated to specific regions. Some schools offer programs in comparative area studies. At others, you’ll have to design your own area studies major.
Students in broadcast journalism learn to report, produce, and deliver the news for radio, TV, and other broadcast media.
With a degree in broadcast journalism, you’ll be ready to bring all kinds of news to the public. You could find yourself on the local news pressing mayoral candidates to find out what they really think or chatting up celebrities on a music-video channel. You might become a sports announcer on a local radio station or deliver the news as a talking head on TV.
But this major is also for people who’d rather be behind the camera. You’ll learn how to operate microphones, recording equipment, and other devices, and could go on to edit, produce, or direct the news.
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.
Business majors study the buying, selling, and producing of goods, as well as business organization and accounting. They learn how to use the basic principles and techniques of business in a variety of workplaces.
Handheld computers and cell phones make business dealings easier and faster. But there's a downside. Because these devices are easily lost, there's a risk that private information will fall into the wrong hands. Executives using cell phones in airports or other public places may forget to avoid discussing confidential topics. To make matters worse, competitors could also use technology to listen in.
How can we ensure that the cons of new technology don’t outweigh the pros? If you major in business, you’ll learn a wide range of business skills and study the issues affecting today's business climate.
Classics majors study the languages, literatures, and civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome and the places under their control.
Ancient Greek and Roman literature continues to be reinterpreted in every way possible, turning up in forms as different as James Joyce’s Ulysses and Wonder Woman comic books. Yet you may be surprised by how different from us the founders of Western civilization were after all. For instance, the Athenians regarded their women practically as slaves.
There is still a lot we don’t know about the way the ancients lived. Classics majors delight in finding out. Whether researching the ethnic diversity of ancient
Communication and Rhetoric
Communication and rhetoric majors study and practice the exchange of messages in all their variety.
Do you love nothing more than a good debate? Have you made a sport of picking apart everything from presidential speeches to class lectures? If you’ve answered yes, you may want to consider majoring in communication and rhetoric.
You’ll learn much more than how to be a powerful, persuasive speaker. You’ll study the complex ways in which we communicate with each other, through the media and face-to-face, with words and without, at work and at play.
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Students of communication sciences and disorders study the science behind communication problems and their development. They also learn how to treat children and adults and use what they learn to come up with new strategies and technologies for diagnosis and rehabilitation.
Imagine a birthday party for a three-year-old child. The room is full of chatter: children asking for more ice cream or complaining that another child took their toy. But one child, who appears to be as healthy as his peers, is silent. He is not playing with others, and his face shows an absence of emotion.
If you study communication sciences and disorders, you’ll learn the cause of this child’s behavior. You’ll also learn how to help him interact with others and break his silence.
Community Organization and Advocacy
This major prepares students to organize communities for social action. Students learn how to serve as links between community groups and public agencies, and how to give information, instruction, and help to community members.
The history of community organizing as we know it today began in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. That's when college-educated young people set up settlement houses in midwestern and East Coast cities.
Settlement houses provided services, such as child care and English language classes, to the great numbers of people who needed them urgently. They were mostly immigrants working in low-wage jobs such as meat packing and garment making. Some settlement-house organizations also advocated for workers, urging government to take action and improve housing or create child labor laws, for example.
Students of comparative literature learn about the literature and literary traditions of two or more different countries, cultures, or languages.
Try to imagine King Lear translated into Chinese and you will have an idea of the difference it makes to read a literary masterpiece in its original language. As a comparative literature major, you will study literature and literary movements across national and cultural boundaries. You may trace the influence of Chinese poetry on American poetry, or compare early Japanese novels to more contemporary French ones. Whatever you read, you will learn to see life from a variety of perspectives.
Students of creative writing focus on the construction of poetry and prose. They read and analyze the work of established writers and write original creative work.
When you read a good poem, do you wonder how the writer managed to form such interesting images? When you read a novel, do you think about how the author created characters you can relate to?
If you study creative writing, you’ll try to answer questions like these, analyzing poetry and fiction to learn how writers create successful work. And, of course, you’ll try your hand at creating your own work, which you’ll share with professors and classmates. Although it’s very unlikely that you’ll make a living from writing poetry or fiction, you will gain the skills needed to work in fields such as editing, publishing, journalism, and advertising.
Early Childhood Education
Students in early childhood education learn how to teach children who may range from infants to third graders, according to the school system.
Are you the babysitter whom kids call fun and parents call responsible? Are you the person to whom children sidle up at the park or potluck, sensing they've found a friend? Are you the kid who used to take on the role of teacher when you played school with your friends?
If you answered yes, you share a lot in common with people who work with children as a profession. You might consider majoring in early childhood education. You’ll learn how to create and manage a nurturing, safe classroom where every child thrives.
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.
Elementary School Teaching
This major focuses on the teaching of elementary grades, which can range from kindergarten through eighth grade, depending on the school system.
Science fiction author Ray Bradbury has penned more than fifty books, including the ever-popular Fahrenheit 451. You'd think a famous futurist would spend all his time dreaming up new electronic devices or planning trips to the moon. Not Bradbury. One of his favorite topics is the importance of, in his words, "teaching kids to read and write and think." For Bradbury, giving children a solid education prepares our whole society to better meet the future.
Maybe you share Bradbury's vision -- or maybe you just like kids. Either way, you might enjoy working as an elementary school teacher. Courses in this major will prepare you to teach all elementary subjects, from reading to 'rithmetic.
English majors read, discuss, and write about the literature and culture of English-speaking people. They also learn about the history, structure, and use of the English language.
If you love to curl up with a good book, then majoring in English might be for you. But there's a lot more to studying English than just reading novels, short stories, plays, and poetry by English-speaking writers. You'll have to examine what you read and come up with opinions about it. For example, you might have to explain a book's main theme or show what it reveals about cultural stereotypes. You'll then have to share your views in class discussions and in papers.
One of the great things about majoring in English is that you can bring your personal interests into your studies. For instance, you can focus on the literature of a certain time period, location, or author.
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.
As a film studies major, you’ll study film history, theory, and criticism, as well as the basics of film production. You’ll also examine related arts such as television and video.
Think of your favorite movie. Was it the story you liked? Or the characters? The action? How about the look of it? Digging deep into your gut feelings about movies is just the beginning of film studies.
If movies mean more to you than just an evening out with your friends, this could be the major for you. You’ll learn how to discuss and write about films critically. You’ll also learn about the connections movies have to history and national identities. You’ll even learn what all those people listed in the credits actually do. P.S. A gaffer is a lighting technician.
High School Teaching
This major prepares students to teach high school (also called secondary school). High school usually includes grades nine through twelve.
Think about the best teacher you've ever had. What stands out? A great sense of humor? The ability to guide you through a tough math lesson or stay calm in the midst of chaos? An attitude of concern for each and every student? Many high school educators went into teaching because of a teacher they loved. Do you have such a teacher, one who inspires you to walk in his or her footsteps?
If you choose this major, your studies will cover everything from classroom management to teaching methods to specific subjects, such as history. You’ll also learn how to meet the needs of students who learn in different ways.
History majors learn how to interpret objects and written documents from the past. They also read the works of published historians and evaluate their ideas.
You’ve probably heard older people talk about the “good old days.” But were they really all that good? Were people and ideas all that different? How did the good old days become today?
To answer questions like these, you’ll need to look for clues -- and not only in textbooks filled with dates and biographies. As a history major, you’ll find history in everything from a 1956 Elvis Presley poster to a 1934 ticket stub showing the price of a movie. You’ll even find it in last summer’s playlist of your favorite songs.
By the time you graduate, you’ll know how to decide for yourself what to think about the old days -- good or bad. And, perhaps more importantly, you’ll learn what those days can teach us about today and tomorrow.
Hospitality Administration and Management
Hospitality majors learn to run hotels, restaurants, travel agencies, and other businesses that serve business travelers and vacationers.
As a train traveler headed out West in 1875, you would have had trouble finding a decent meal or a place to rest your head. But Fred Harvey changed all that. He started a chain of restaurants and hotels where clean and polite waitresses served tired travelers everything from oysters to duck and olives to ice cream.
You might say that Harvey tamed the Wild West, making it more hospitable (welcoming and pleasant) to travelers. If you study hospitality management, you'll prepare to follow in his footsteps.
Journalism majors learn to report, write, and edit articles for publication or broadcast.
Are you someone who can’t get enough of the latest headlines? Do you love the thrill of the chase? If so, you may want to consider majoring in journalism. With this degree, you could find yourself covering world events for a major newspaper or TV network, reporting on sports for a local radio station, or writing about entertainment on the Internet.
As a journalism major, you’ll not only master the art of reporting and writing, but you'll also learn about libel and other legal issues that affect the media. And you'll learn what it takes to survive in a tough, but often rewarding, business.
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.
Mass communications majors undertake a thorough investigation of mass media, from its institutions, history, and laws to the ways in which it transforms our culture.
Which do you trust more -- the news you see on the tube or the news you read on the Internet? How have TV, newspapers, and other forms of mass media shaped your life? What influence do advertisers have on the choice of music played on the radio?
As a mass communications major, you’ll examine questions like these. You’ll analyze different forms of media, study the impact media has on our culture, and learn about media history and laws. You may also have a chance to test the waters by creating media projects of your own.
Middle School Teaching
Students in this major learn to teach middle school (also known as intermediate school or junior high). Middle school can range from grade four through grade nine, depending on the school system.
The middle school years are a thrilling stage in the life cycle. People at this age can master all kinds of physical and mental challenges, doing amazing skateboard tricks, writing inspired essays, and acing math quizzes. Yet, in many ways, they're just beginning to live -- so many experiences lie ahead of them.
Middle school teachers choose to be a part of this exciting turning point. Where some adults see "attitude," gifted teachers see energy and curiosity. They want to help students shape all that potential in ways that will make a positive difference in the world.
This major prepares students to become ordained Christian ministers or priests. Courses include such topics as church history, Christian ethics, church organization and management, evangelism, and homiletics (preaching).
There's a minister so famous he has a day of the year named after him: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King became a minister at the green age of nineteen and continued to preach until his tragic death at age thirty-nine. His sermons were so eloquent and inspired we still listen to them. Drawing on Christ's example, he fought for the rights not only of African Americans but of all poor people. He was willing to put his life on the line for his religious beliefs.
If you feel you could inspire others to walk in Christ's footsteps, consider majoring in ministry.
Nursing majors train to care for sick and disabled patients and to promote better health.
It’s a typical morning at a city hospital. A woman arrives complaining of severe stomach pain. A nurse asks her a series of direct questions about her symptoms and learns what may be causing the pain. The nurse alerts a doctor, and they work together to order tests and begin treatment. Upstairs, a second nurse administers chemotherapy drugs to a patient who suffers from cancer. On another floor, a third nurse helps to deliver a baby.
If you study nursing, you may train in a hospital like this where nurses care for, educate, and enhance the lives of patients every day. You’ll learn about everything from examining patients and treating their immediate needs to keeping up the health of people with long-term conditions.
This program prepares students to supervise and manage people and operations in business offices. Classes cover such topics as employee supervision, records management, budgeting, scheduling, and public relations.
In Bartleby the Scrivener, Herman Melville's strange, riveting tale, a solemn young Bartleby one day refuses to do his work. His reason? "I would prefer not to." Although Bartleby stops working, he keeps showing up, to the distress of the other employees.
Scholars find a wide range of meanings in Melville’s story. But whatever their interpretation, one thing’s certain: Bartleby creates a difficult workplace situation. If you major in office management, you’ll learn to handle such challenges professionally.
This major prepares students to work under the supervision of a lawyer or court, completing research, conducting investigations, and keeping records. Courses cover legal research and writing.
Much of what paralegals do (researching legal questions and writing legal documents, for example) is the same work that attorneys do. So why not become an attorney instead -- especially since attorneys make more money?
Some people choose the paralegal route because they don't want to go through three years of law school in addition to receiving a bachelor's degree. Others want a meaningful way of participating in the legal process without the demanding schedules that attorneys face.
Of course, there's no reason you can't do both. Some people start out by getting paralegal training and working as a paralegal for a time, and then go to law school.
Philosophy majors examine basic questions about such topics as the nature of existence and knowledge. They also study the history of philosophy, learn how to use logic and argue their ideas, and use philosophy to better understand other fields.
Philosophy dates back to ancient times when Confucius and Plato walked the earth. Yet it is very much alive today in such questions as whether or not computers think. Philosophers question issues that others either take for granted or find too difficult to ponder. If you choose this major, you'll find yourself asking everything from why we should be good to how we know what we know. You'll even question your own questions.
Some philosophy undergrads become philosophers. But most by far build careers in other areas, such as law. And thanks to all that pondering, all develop great skills in logic, problem solving, and creative thinking that pay off in any field.
Political Science and Government
Political science and government majors study the systems people set up to organize their societies, from neighborhoods to nations.
Politics affects the air we breathe, the schools we attend, the jobs we do, the communities we live in, and the taxes we pay. If you choose this major, you’ll learn the principles at work behind the decisions that affect every aspect of our lives.
Whether they're conservative or liberal, cynical or idealistic, one common characteristic among political science and government majors is their addiction to politics. If active engagement in the political system is for you, a political science major is a great way to get started.
Almost never offered as a major, a prelaw advising program will help you stay on track as you prepare for law school.
In the movie The Paper Chase, law professor Kingsfield strikes terror into students' hearts. Like many law professors who use the Socratic method, named after the philosopher, Kingsfield asks questions rather than lecturing. And when students answer his questions poorly, he's not above insulting them. But over time viewers realize that Kingsfield's goal is to sharpen his students' ability to reason.
That’s a skill they'll need to succeed as lawyers -- and a skill that law schools look for in applicants. In fact it’s not any specific major that will get you into a top school; it’s sharp thinking, reading, and communication skills that make the difference.
Professional, Technical, Business, and Scientific Writing
Students in this major focus on the theory, methods, and skills needed to write and edit scientific, technical, and business materials.
From computers to cell phones to stereos, technology is ingrained in our lives. That's why technical writers are so important. They create a range of materials, from instruction manuals and training guides to business reports.
If you choose this major, you’ll learn how to translate difficult material into text that's easy for everyone to understand. You’ll learn how important it is to consider the needs of specific audiences and how to use images to get your message across. If you're into both writing and technology and like working with different types of people, from editors to engineers, this could be the major for you.
Psychology majors study the way humans and animals act, feel, think, and learn.
If psychology interests you, you have something in common with the ancient Greek philosophers. They asked questions about the life of the mind: What is the relationship between mind and body? How can we tell if the world is really the way we think it is?
Today's psychologists study all sorts of fascinating questions, such as the following: Why is learning a language as an infant easier than as a teenager? What are the roots of violence? What is the best way to help someone with an eating disorder like anorexia?
Majors in public administration study how administrators enact policy at the local, state, and federal levels.
Whether developing education programs for inner-city youth or working with residents to create a crime-fighting neighborhood watch, public administrators breathe life into public policies.
If you major in public administration, you’ll learn how they do it. You’ll build the skills it takes to bring together diverse groups -- from neighborhood associations to private businesses -- and change communities for the better.
Public relations majors learn how to create and promote the images of individuals as well as businesses and other organizations.
Images don’t happen by themselves. Before celebrities step out on the red carpet at Academy Awards time, every detail -- clothes, accessories, makeup, and hair -- is carefully crafted. But image management isn’t reserved for Hollywood stars. It’s a tool used by every political figure, government agency, or business you can think of.
If you’d like to be the person pulling the strings behind the scenes, a major in public relations (PR) may be just the ticket.
Religious studies majors learn about the nature of religious belief and traditions. Courses focus on specific religions such as Hinduism, academic fields used to study religion such as anthropology, and religious history and politics.
How can religion lead both to the activism of Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and to cult suicides? How was the universe created? Do we have souls? Religious studies majors explore such questions -- but they don't settle for simple answers. Instead, they seek rich insights through research, reading, writing, and discussion.
Whatever their differences, most religious studies majors agree that, as one student put it, "we are really one people; we just have different ways of expressing truth." If you are fascinated by religious questions and traditions, and enjoy exploring many points of view, consider this major.
Social work majors learn to practice social work in various settings such as hospitals, child welfare agencies, and the criminal justice system.
Social worker Whitney M. Young, Jr. was a key civil rights activist of the 1960s. Yet most people have never heard of him. That's because while others were protesting in the streets, Young spent much of his time meeting with top businesspeople. Young was skilled at encouraging wealthy white Americans to give money to the movement.
As a social work major, you’ll learn that there are many ways to go about making the world a better place. Some social workers counsel people and help them get services such as subsidized housing and food stamps. Others, like Young, guide social movements, research social issues, or design and set up policy programs such as Social Security.
Sociology majors learn how to study people and the roles they play in society, both as individuals and in groups. Course work covers such topics as families, TV and other mass media, and criminology.
Picture your high school cafeteria for a moment. It’s not just one giant group of students hanging out together, is it? There are probably more than a few cliques.
Have you ever wondered how these cliques form? Or why some kids are more popular than others? Or why people act one way at home and a completely different way at school? If you want to explore questions like these, consider majoring in sociology.
This major prepares students to teach children or adults with special learning needs or disabilities. Courses cover topics such as diagnosing learning disabilities and creating plans to meet the special needs of each student.
Nancy, a fifth grader, has trouble hearing. But thanks to a special headset that her teacher wears, Nancy is able to hear his voice. She raises her hand often during discussions, her eyes bright with curiosity.
Alan, a second grader, avoids the writing lesson, instead talking loudly to his aide. Alan has Asperger's syndrome, which makes it hard for him to socialize. After several weeks, with skilled help from his teacher and instructional assistant, Alan is able to write alongside his classmates.
If you like the idea of helping children with special needs such as these, consider becoming a special education teacher.
Students of sports communication, also called sports media and sports journalism, prepare for careers as sports journalists or public relations professionals specializing in sports.
The Super Bowl, the World Cup, the U.S. Open. Start with a major in sports communication and you could find yourself where the action is, covering or promoting big-time sports events. It's not all glamour, though. You might pay your dues covering high school sports for the local paper.
Keep in mind that sports reporting today is about much more than covering games and profiling athletes. Some investigators dig deep into steroid use, racism, and other tough topics.
Theater majors study plays and other dramatic works and their production. Classes cover such topics as theater history, playwriting, acting, and directing, as well as lighting, scenery, and costume design.
If you’ve ever acted in a play, you know how much work it takes to put a production together. A theater major is your ticket to every corner of the theater world.
Whether you specialize in acting or design, you’ll learn in class, backstage, and onstage. You’ll read, discuss, and write about all kinds of theatrical works. You’ll also get your hands dirty applying what you learn in class as you build sets, design costumes, direct, or act in department productions.
Tourism and Travel Management
Tourism and travel majors learn to manage tourism- and travel-related businesses. Course work includes such topics as travel-agency management, tour planning, convention and event planning, and travel industry law.
Until the 1820s, oceangoing ships carried mostly goods and mail -- not passengers. In 1840, the ship Britannia made history when it introduced an onboard cow for fresh milk. This event signaled the shipping industry's new interest in passenger comfort.
Much later, the cruise industry struggled to stay afloat once air travel across the Atlantic became common. But by the 1960s, it bounced back with Caribbean vacation cruises still popular today.
Urban studies majors use the tools of sociology, economics, and other social sciences to study city life, government, and services. If you choose this major you’ll learn how city dwellers live and behave. You’ll also study the problems they face.
Cities are loud, crowded, concrete jungles, right? But they’re also places full of energy, where great thinkers, artists, and leaders come together and give birth to new and exciting creative movements and ideas.
Urban studies majors learn what makes city culture unique and how urban areas respond to problems and events. You’ll ask yourself many questions as an urban studies major. For example: How do different neighborhoods develop their own identities? How do the buildings and the layout of a city affect its people? What happens when the need for growth clashes with the need to preserve history? How does living close together affect the way city dwellers interact?