Majoring Off Campus

With more than 65 majors to choose from, Scripps offers an abundance of programs. Picking just one or two majors can feel overwhelming. Do you want to spend your time focusing on art history or literature? Chemistry or environmental analysis? In rare instances, Scripps may not offer a student’s desired major of choice, so some decide to major off-campus. However, students cannot choose to major off-campus if the major is offered at Scripps.

How do you know if majoring off-campus is the right choice for you? Here are some tips to help you decide.

What is involved in majoring off-campus?

Majoring off-campus isn’t all that different from majoring at Scripps. However, instead of a major advisor at Scripps (who is typically a Scripps professor in the field), you’ll pick a professor in the department at your off-campus major school to serve as one of your academic advisors. You’ll also maintain a Scripps advisor, who is a Scripps faculty member in any field. While your off-campus advisor guides your major requirements and thesis-writing process, your Scripps advisor guides you through your general education requirements and other Scripps-specific academic processes.

As an off-campus major, you’ll fulfill all of the requirements for your major at the school housing the department. You’ll also write a senior thesis in conjunction with that school’s department. Of course, you’ll still graduate from Scripps and receive a Scripps diploma at the end of your four years.

Why did I decide to major off-campus?

When I first arrived at Scripps, I was certain that I would find a major at Scripps that I loved. Psychology, Economics, and Anthropology all interested me, but when I took an Introduction to Sociology course at Pomona in the fall of my sophomore year, I felt at home. I instantly connected to my sociology professor, I was fascinated by the class discussions and student presentations, and I was already brainstorming potential thesis topics. I declared a major in sociology at Pomona shortly after and I’ve loved my experience majoring off-campus ever since! I’ve never felt different or separate from the Pomona students in my classes (most people don’t even know the home institutions of the other students in my classes) and I’m treated like any other sociology student.

Tips for Your Decision

Picking a major can be a stressful process. While you have until the end of your sophomore year at Scripps to declare your major, you may feel pressure to have it all figured out early on. I would recommend taking classes that sound interesting to you, and especially introductory-level classes, to figure out what you like and what you don’t like as much. I also recommend speaking to professors in different fields, attending office hours, and getting to know the departments that you’re interested in. A big part of your major will be working with professors and spending time in class, so it’s important to make sure you enjoy the people you’re working with! If you don’t have space in your schedule to take some introductory classes in potential major options, I suggest just meeting with the professor and explaining your interests. In my experience, they are dedicated to helping guide your major declaration process.

While I arrived at Scripps thinking that I wanted to major in art history, I ended up taking a twisty path to my sociology major. However, I enjoyed all the classes that I took along the way, and I still talk to my professors from those classes. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or confused right now, focus on taking interesting classes, trying new things, and maintain an open mind! In many cases, your undergraduate major may not matter as much as you think it does, so don’t take your major search too seriously. You can always pivot to different career paths and interests at any time in your life!