Choosing a Major

At the University of Illinois, you can apply for up to two majors. If you have a strong passion for working in the engineering industry, we highly encourage you to select two engineering majors. This will prompt the admission review staff to exhaust all options to admit you into one of our engineering majors. To determine which programs to select as a first and second choice, follow the tips provided below.

Think about where your interests are focused, and decide how you want to apply them within disciplines of engineering.

For example, a student that is interested in robotics could major in electrical engineering to focus on designing the circuitry structure of the robot, or they could major in materials science & engineering to focus on determining the best materials for the robot. Other majors like mechanical engineering, computer science, computer engineering, and engineering mechanics could easily be applied as well for a career in robotics.

Majors and Minors

Select two engineering majors that relate closely to your interest.

As a college, we’ve categorized our majors into four main areas: Nature, Motion, Information & Interdisciplinary. In the diagram below you can see how our majors fit and overlap within these categories. The three majors directly in the middle make up our most interdisciplinary majors; their curriculum spans across many of the engineering disciplines. Whether you have a singular or multidisciplinary interest, we offer majors to match.

Interdisciplinary Curriculum

Mechanical Engineering Aerospace Engineering Engineering Mechanics Industrial Engineering Systems Engineering & Design Agricultural & Biological Engineering Civil Engineering Computer Engineering Computer Science Electrical Engineering Bioengineering Chemical Engineering Material Science & Engineering Physics Nuclear, Plasma & Radiological Engineering

When making your first-choice selection, keep in mind that there are some majors that are first-choice-only majors due to their demand. 

Those majors for first-year engineering applicants include computer science (including CS+X), computer engineering, and mechanical engineering. For transfer engineering applicants, computer science (including CS+X), computer engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering are first-choice-only options.

If you are interested in a first-choice-only major, you must select it as your first major when you apply. If you find yourself struggling between which first-choice-only major to choose, then consider talking with some of our current students in those majors, checking out the curriculum, or take our Majors Quiz to see which major(s) are the best match for your interests.

When making your second-choice selection, consider a major that is closely related to your first choice. 

It is okay to select a second choice major that is not in engineering or not closely related to your first choice if you have a strong interest in that major as well. If you are struggling to decide on a second choice, here are some tips: 

  • Take our Majors Quiz to see how your interest relates to our majors.
  • Visit the Admission Office majors page to find related majors.  Click on your first choice major and scroll to the bottom to see the related majors.  

Make sure that your answer to the writing prompt about your second-choice major is not identical to your first-choice major. 

Provide the reviewer with new information about yourself so they have additional content to consider in your application review. It is okay for some information to overlap, just make sure that your answer is not identical. Write a separate essay that can stand alone. In addition, strive to write a 150 word answer for the short-answer writing prompt questions. We want to hear all about your interest in our majors.

Which major is right for you?

Take our majors quiz to discover which of our 15 top-ranked programs match best with your interests.

Take the Quiz!

Illustration of engineers and an android using laboratory equipment