Past research suggests that students in social science often become more egalitarian while students in business and economics show a trend in the opposite direction. Using a cross‐sectional study in which we compared first and third year students from different academic environments, we wanted to explore these issues and to test whether life goals may account for potential ideological differences among them. Psychology and economics students at first and third year of their respective academic group completed both the Aspiration index and social dominance orientation scale. Consistent with the socialization hypothesis, economics students reported higher levels of SDO than psychology students but only at the third year of study. A similar pattern of results was observed for extrinsic life goals (but no differences were found for intrinsic life goals). Importantly, the interaction between academic year and academic major on SDO was mediated by the measure of extrinsic life goals.