How to design your academic path

Students working at easels

At CSU, your academic path doesn’t have to be a traditional, one-size-fits-all approach. There are many ways to customize your education — leading you to the career of your dreams, or helping you create a career path that’s completely new. Here are a few ways you can choose your own academic adventure at CSU.

Majors and concentrations

Your major will be the main focus of your academic studies, and will be on your degree when you graduate. Each major requires a specific set of coursework to be completed, and some even require you to participate in an internship or field study.

Many of CSU’s majors offer concentration areas within the major. Concentrations help you narrow down your academic focus from a broad category (like Art) to a focused specialization within that category (like painting). If you know exactly what you want to do within a broad major, your concentration will help maximize your time in that area, allow you to gain more experience within that particular field, and can help boost your job possibilities within that field later on.


Simply put, a minor is a secondary (but smaller) academic focus. Your minor can be related or unrelated to your major. Oftentimes you won’t even be required to choose a minor at all. And, once you’ve chosen a major, your academic advisor will help you decide if a minor is needed, or if it’s totally optional. However, your minor can give you additional skill sets that can set you apart when you’re interviewing for internships or jobs.

Double majors

A double major is exactly what it sounds like: you choose a two primary academic focus areas, and leave with one degree. Declaring two majors can be ambitious, but it’s not uncommon. Students who choose two majors can obtain a degree that displays both majors and come out with some big benefits. Double majors do intensive work in two separate areas, giving them a broader scope and more career options. Some double majors simply want to pursue an interest and be immersed in it without making it a career path. Learn more about double majors from these students.

Interdisciplinary studies

Being an interdisciplinary student means you’ll take a series of courses from different areas of academic study that provide insight from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. You may take the Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts approach to achieve a wide scope within the Liberal Arts field itself. There are also 30 interdisciplinary minors to choose from, too, offering you unique opportunities to complement your major of choice with a broad secondary field of study. Whichever route you choose, you’ll come out with knowledge in multiple areas and an ability to see the interconnectedness between a variety of academic areas.

Dual-degree programs

When you study in a dual-degree program, you leave CSU with two bachelor degrees. Some dual-degree programs are highly specialized and housed within the same college (Engineering has five varieties of dual-degree programs alone). However, some dual-degree programs require an extra year of study to complete both degrees.

No matter how you decide to shape your studies at CSU, we’re here to help you create the academic path that suits you and your goals best.

Ready to learn more about customizing your education?

We can’t wait to help.


Prairie Smallwood

Prairie Smallwood is a writer and content creator for the Office of Admissions at Colorado State University. She is passionate about education and exploration, and knows that going to college can be both an adventure and an overwhelming experience. She aims to create content that helps students through that journey — the wonderful, the scary, and everything in between.