Undecided vs Undeclared

Students will have many decisions to make at UNC Charlotte – which classes to take? Which clubs and organizations to join? Should you study abroad? For many students, choosing a major is one of the most daunting yet exciting decisions. The path to choosing a major will differ for different people; some students already know what they want to major in, while others need time to discover and explore their interests before finding a major.

It is important to remember that discovering a major is a process and may take a few semesters of work on the student’s part. For some students, just taking an introductory course will tell them what they need to know, while others will only know once they have experience as an intern or research assistant. Whatever the process, advisors are available to help all along the way.


The term “undecided” most often describes students who are “unwilling, unable, or unready to make educational decisions.” A negative connotation is usually associated with being “undecided,” especially when everyone else at UNC Charlotte has declared a major or knows what “they want to do.” Right? Wrong!

Contrary to popular belief, only some people at UNC Charlotte have a declared major. There are about 800 Undecided students at UNC Charlotte at any given time. Furthermore, students will change their major 3-5 times on average during their undergraduate careers. Being Undecided is not a negative disposition. Instead, being Undecided allows you to explore your interests, research majors and minors, and consider your career objectives.


There is a difference between an Undecided and an Undeclared student. Whereas an Undecided student has not decided on an academic discipline for their major, an Undeclared student knows their major but has yet to declare it for several reasons. Undeclared students typically register for courses related to the major they want to declare or may even have an application to a professional school for admission review.

Choosing a Major

  • Treat the process like one of your jobs or one of your classes (i.e., “This semester, I’m taking Foreign Language, Earthquakes, Art History, and Choosing a Major.”)
  • Set specific goals. For example, “By the end of this semester, I will attend information sessions, meet with department advisors or speak with faculty for my top majors, and try to narrow my options.”
  • Work with advisors throughout the process. Advisors are a good resource during the process. They can help you discover your interests, help you set goals, and provide a wealth of information.


Academic and career exploration are hallmarks of the college experience. The University Career Center provides resources and opportunities to explore educational and career options.

Click here to learn more about:

  • Your interests, personality, and skills,
  • Your career options for your major,
  • Research occupation/industry knowledge needed for success, and
  • Education/training requirements