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Declaring a Major

Students who have not declared a major are considered to be in a University-wide “pre-major” status. They receive administrative and advising services from Pre-Major Advising Services.

How to Declare Your Major

Changing your major is very simple. To do so:

1. Obtain a “Change of Major Form” from the Registrar’s Office or from Pre-Major Advising Services.

2. Get an acceptance signature from the departmental undergraduate adviser of your new major.

3. Obtain a release signature and your academic folder from your old department.

4. Bring your folder and page 3 (pink copy) of the form to your new major department.

5. Bring the top page (white form) to the Registrar’s Office.

Restrictions: Because of increased popularity and enrollment, several majors in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences have found it necessary to restrict entry into the major. The admission processes and criteria are described for each of these in the department’s section in this Catalog. Three of these majors have established pre-major categories: Computer Science (ARTS&SCI/C), English (ARTS&SCI/L), and Journalism (ARTS&SCI/J). The majors in Communication, Economics, and Psychology are also restricted, but do not have pre-major designations.

For the same reasons, the Isenberg School of Management, the College of Engineering, and the School of Nursing, and several other majors, have devised similar restrictions but do not have a pre-major designation

When to Declare Your Major

There is no University policy about when a student must declare a major. Some majors (e.g., Sociology, English, Classics, Judaic Studies, and many others in the Humanities and Social Sciences) have relatively few requirements and allow much room for taking electives or building up minor areas of concentration in related fields. Other majors (such as Music, Biochemistry, or Physics) have many required courses with specific sequences, and prerequisites which should be started in the freshman year. Students may make up for changing majors late by staying at the University for up to ten semesters, or by taking required courses during intersession or summer sessions.

When students are not certain about a major, they are well advised to try courses in different departments to find out what they are interested in. They should familiarize themselves with various departments, the faculty, the specialties, and the course offerings, before making a decision. Many courses are available which would be applicable to several majors or to General Education requirements. For example, a student who is inclined toward the sciences but is not sure about which field should take introductory chemistry and calculus courses. Not only are these required for about twenty different majors in the sciences and engineering, but a student’s level of achievement and enjoyment in these courses might help him or her decide on an academic direction. Even if some of the courses the student takes turn out to be irrelevant to the eventual major, they will still count toward the 120 credits needed for graduation.

Career Considerations

In view of the present job situation, enriching a regular bachelor’s degree with carefully chosen electives from other areas might be necessary in order to become competent in a competitive occupation. For example, if a student wants to be a social worker, a B.A. in Sociology may not be marketable. Supplementing the major with courses in public health, nutrition, and community services, or maybe with a minor in Spanish, would give the student a broad-er range of skills and make him or her more qualified for a position as, for example, a social worker in an urban area.