Major maps: Your pathway to career and professional success

Major maps and Transfer maps

It’s important for students to understand that the goal of education is not simply to graduate but do so at minimal cost with the greatest degree of success. That kind of academic success requires strategic planning and VCU's major maps are a key to this success.

What are major maps?

Major maps are not simply academic checklists that outline which courses to take and when, but also strategic career-planning maps. These maps allow academic advisors, faculty, career advisors, family members, and employers to create individualized plans with each student, geared toward their professional goals, upon graduation.

We focus on the student's end goal and work backwards - determining what experiences, connections and skills best position the student as a competitive, working professional after graduation.

How do major maps help?

The maps encourage major exploration, inspire professional networking, and engage students in real-world experiences, culminating in a VCU graduate who not only excelled in their area of study, but will also excel in their next professional goal, whether it be a career opportunity, graduate school or entrepreneurial endeavor.

Major maps combine academic-planning with strategic career-planning, while developing skills and social networks that will lead to the greatest success in a student’s career or professional goals, following graduation.

By using major maps, students are able to engage in academic and career exploration while gaining experience in their field of study, ultimately graduating on time, with minimal debt, and the greatest professional success!

What are transfer maps?

Transfer maps are major maps for Virginia community college students who plan on transferring to VCU.  We have partnered with community colleges to provide similar academic and career-planning guidance to prospective transfer students as we provide to incoming first year students at VCU.  This guidance includes a four-year degree plan that outlines courses and requirements to be taken at the community college in the first two years as well as courses that remain to be taken at VCU for the final two years.  By following the recommendations of the transfer maps, community college students will: prepare for the academic challenges at VCU; graduate on time, with minimal debt and loss of transfer credit; and plan for a future after graduation.

Major map key pillars

Maximize course and degree planning
Take the right courses in the right sequence to meet your graduation and career goals.
Get connected with your community
Explore and make an impact on VCU's local and regional area through membership and leadership in community organizations.
Build cultural competence
Globalize your skills and highlight your ability to work with others who are from different backgrounds and cultures.
Get REAL experience
Make it “REAL” through internships, research and other relevant experiences that prove your skills and expand your network.
Prepare for life after college
It’s never too early to take your first post-graduate steps forward.

Watch this video as Dr. Maggie Tolan, Senior Associate Vice Provost for Student Success, introduces new VCU students to Major Maps.

Start a conversation about your future

Major maps are great conversation starters with all those who support you in your success — family, faculty, advisors, counselors, coaches, etc. Here are a just a few ideas to get you started:

  • Make an appointment with your academic advisor to review the key curricular steps you’ll need to complete for an on-time graduation.
  • Attend the office hours of a faculty member and ask how you can incorporate what you're learning in class with real-world experiences and major map suggestions.
  • Join relevant student and professional organizations to start making an impact and build a network of support in your field.
  • Show your major map to family and friends and start discussing plans for summer internships, jobs, research, volunteer work or classes that will help you get ahead.
  • Ask a career advisor to help you conduct a gap analysis and prepare for informational interviews.


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