What is the Difference Between a Major and a Degree?

A major is a specific area of study in which a student chooses to specialize. The importance of your major depends on the industry you want to work in. A degree indicates the level of education that you have completed or are pursuing. It’s important to research the level of education you will need to obtain to meet the educational qualifications for the job you would like to acquire. If the educational qualifications for your future career require a Bachelor’s degree or higher you will need to transfer from Porterville College to a 4-year university.

The Levels of Degrees

There are four basic types or levels of degree programs that are offered at Community Colleges and Universities:

  1. Associate’s Degrees
  2. Bachelor’s Degrees
  3. Master’s Degrees
  4. Doctorate Degrees

Choosing a College Major

At Porterville College, you can prepare to transfer into virtually any major at any university – there are literally thousands to choose from. To narrow down the options, students often begin to select their major by one of the following techniques.

  • If you have an idea of a career field you want to enter, you can find majors that are related to, or prepare for that career field. Majors and career fields are not always “perfectly matched”. However, knowing an intended career field can help narrow down your options.
  • Visit the PC Pathways Mapper Page, to learn more in depth information about certain majors and careers, along with potential salary information to help you decide.
  • To research possible career pathways, you can take either Student Success Course P106 (Personal and Career Exploration) or Student Success Course P152 (College and Career Readiness) or visit the Porterville College Career Services Page.
  • If you know what university you want to attend, you can select from the list of majors at the university. Lists of majors at California State Universities are available at ASSIST (click on “Exploring Majors”).
  • If you are unsure of your interest in a particular major, try taking a general education class in the major. Student often select their major based simply on the courses that are the most interesting to them.
  • For more help with exploring college majors visit the California Career Center Page.