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The science-based majors listed below are each offered through the College of Science and Engineering (bachelor of science degree) and the College of Liberal Arts (bachelor of arts degree). 

In addition to the benefits of learning from world-class faculty and utilizing state-of-the-art facilities, students who are seeking a science-based career can also utilize the Career Center for Science and Engineering to work on their resumé, participate in mock interviews, learn about internship and co-op opportunities, and more.

To learn more about U of M major options, visit: http://admissions.tc.umn.edu/admissioninfo/fresh_acadprog.html.

Major: Chemistry

(College of Science and Engineering, College of Liberal Arts)

Description: Chemists interact with nature at a fundamental, molecular level. This field of science impacts medicine, materials science, genetics, biology, pharmacy, food science, and environmental science. The curriculum encompasses the major subfields of chemistry including theories, techniques, and tools. It also includes chemistry, physics, mathematics, and the liberal arts. Students select an emphasis area from the following:

  • Bioscience and bioproducts
  • Chemical physics
  • Chemistry education
  • Environmental chemistry
  • Materials chemistry 

Examples of Careers: Biochemist, microbiologist, industrial hygienist, analytic chemist, pharmaceutical chemist, crime lab analyst, researcher, or food technologist


Major: Computer Science

(College of Science and Engineering, College of Liberal Arts)

Examples of Careers: Researcher, Computer Communication Specialist, Computer Engineer, Robotics Engineer, Software or Hardware Developer, Systems and Security Administrator or Web Designer

Description: Computer scientists develop programming languages and operating systems, design computer software and hardware, apply computational techniques to other sciences, investigate social uses of computing, and advance new technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics. Students will learn to design and analyze computer systems, to use them to solve practical problems, and to assess their limitations. They use state-of-the-art computing platforms and instructional facilities and also have access to special research facilities like the Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Vision Laboratory, which includes a lab devoted to undergrads.

Major: Computer Engineering

(College of Science and Engineering)

Description: Computer engineers design, build, test, and install high-tech computing devices or everything from supercomputers to toys. This in-demand field includes hardware, software, and systems that contain microprocessors or microcontrollers. Students in this major learn to integrate hardware and software into systems that deliver power, performance, safety, security, and reliability. Seniors choose one of the following emphasis areas:

  • Computer Architecture
  • Computer Networks
  • Software Engineering
  • Microprocessor and Microcontroller Systems
  • Computer-Aided Circuit Design

Examples of Careers: custom computer designer, computer chip designer, software designer, computer network engineer, electronic systems designer, hardware engineer, development engineer, or systems engineer

Major: Physics

(College of Science and Engineering, College of Liberal Arts)

Description: Physics students study the basic principles that govern time, space, energy, and matter from the smallest subatomic particles to the entire Universe. Students learn how everything fits together while preparing for a career in industry, research, or teaching. Undergraduates in this major choose from five emphasis areas:

  • Professional physics
  • Engineering
  • Biology
  • Teaching
  • Computation

Examples of Careers:  Advanced research in industry, government laboratories, or universities, teaching in a high school or college, public policy, gateway to economics, engineering, journalism, law, or medicine, product development, technical sales, or investments management.

The College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources offers majors in environmental science; bioresources and bioenergy; engineering; food, animal and nutritional sciences; applied economics and business; education; agriculture; natural resources; and plant sciences. We've highlighted two CFANS majors below. To learn about more U of M major options, visit http://admissions.tc.umn.edu/admissioninfo/fresh_acadprog.html.

Major: Agricultural Education

Description: Majoring in agricultural education provides an understanding of how to work with people in business and education through courses including applied economics, physical and biological sciences, humanities, and communications. Students choose between two exciting specializations within the major:

  • Agricultural Education Teacher Licensure
  • Agricultural Leadership and Communication

Examples of Careers: Agriculture Education Teacher, Communications Specialist, Extension Educator, Corporate Agricultural Associate, Customer Service Representative, and Sales Representative


Major: Nutrition

Description: Nutrition explores how nutrients and the foods from which they are derived aid the body in growth and development and in maintaining health and wellness. With the national and international concern for the effects of food an nutrition on health and wellness as a disease, there are many career opportunities for graduates of this program. Students choose from three possible fields of study:

  • Nutrition Studies
  • Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD)
  • Nutritional Science

Examples of Careers: Community Health Worker, Nutrition Educator, Assistant Food Editor, Research Scientist, Sports Nutritionist, Nutrition Program Manager, or Dietetic Technician

If you would like to learn more about Agricultural Education or Nutrition, we encourage you to schedule a campus visit at http://admissions.tc.umn.edu/visit. CFANS visits are held every Monday and Friday.


The College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources (CFANS) offers majors in environmental science; bioresources and bioenergy; engineering; food, animal and nutritional sciences; applied economics and business; education; agriculture; natural resources; and plant sciences. Below are descriptions of just three of the 14 majors to choose from within CFANS.

Major: Horticulture

Description: This major prepares students for a variety of career opportunities including research (plant breeding/genetics); food and plant production (sustainable/organic); plant use and function (design/restoration); or recreation (golf courses/parks). Students gain experience in the use of plants to alter environments, restore damaged landscapes, improve health and well-being of individuals, educate people about science, improve community environments, and provide recreational and practical benefits to the public. Areas of study include Nursery and Floriculture Production, Organic Horticulture and Local Foods, Plant Breeding & Genetics, Restoration Ecology, and Turfgrass Science. 

Examples of Careers: Crew Supervisor, Design Assistant, Environmental Scientist, Farm Apprentice, Assistant Golf Course Superintendent, Horticulturalist, Nursery/Greenhouse Manager, Production Coordinator, or  Project Manager

Major: Fisheries and Wildlife

Description: This major provides students with a broad science background emphasizing biological and environmental sciences along with other course work needed for careers in fisheries, wildlife, conservation biology, and other natural resource and environmental fields. The program also provides students with a fundamental science background needed to enter a wide variety of graduate programs in biological and natural resource sciences as well as professional programs in veterinary medicine, environmental  law, and environmental education. Areas of specialization include:

  • Conservation Biology
  • Fisheries
  • Wildlife 

Examples of Careers: Biological Science Technician, Conservationist, Conservation Officer, Ecological Restoration Specialist, Environmental Biologist, Environmental Consultant, Environmental Educator, Fish Hatchery Manager Naturalist, Wildlife Biologist, or Zoo Biologist

Major: Forest Resources

Description: This major prepares student to plan, implement, and research the management, protection, and sustainable use of forest and related resources and environments, including timber, water, wildlife, recreation, and aesthetic resources. Coursework includes the physical, biological, and social sciences with managerial sciences and policy, field skill development, and technologies for measuring and monitoring natural resources. There are two possible tracks of specialization:

  • Forest Ecosystem Management and Conservation Track
  • Urban and Community Forestry Track

Examples of Careers: Biological Science Technician, Conservationist, Ecological Restoration Specialist, Environmental Biologist, Environmental Consultant, Fish Hatcery Manager Naturalist, Wildlife Biologist, or Zoo Biologist

If you would like to learn more about Horticulture, Fisheries & Wildlife, or Forest Resources, join us at the CFANS Sneak Preview on Monday, July 16! Click here to register today!

When I chose to attend the University of Minnesota, the biggest reason I was excited was that there were so many majors I could choose from. There are currently more than 130 majors at the U of M.  Whether you know exactly what you want to do, or you're still deciding, the many major options along with the resources such as the career centers and academic advising, can help you find the right path for you.

I will be highlighting the many major options at the U of M through a Major Spotlight Series, which will include majors from our seven freshman-admitting colleges: College of Biological Science; College of Design; College of Education and Human Development; College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences; College of Liberal Arts, College of Science and Engineering, and Carlson School of Management. Each blog post will have a grouping of different majors, descriptions of the majors, and a sampling of the types of careers our graduates have pursued with their U of M degree. 

If you have more questions about any of the majors you read about in the upcoming posts, the best way to learn more is by scheduling a campus visit! You can schedule a visit by calling our VISITLINE at 612-625-0000 or by visiting http://admissions.tc.umn.edu/visit. 

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