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Advising Handbook


All undergraduates, in order to be recommended for a degree, must be accepted into a major. Each major falls within one of the three general academic divisions, as noted in the table that follows this section. The “Approval Form for Majors and Minors” (which includes instructions) must be used when applying for acceptance. This form is available in Lattimore 312.

Students are expected to apply for a major during the semester they are completing 64 credits or more toward their degree. In February of each year, sophomores are informed that they need to meet with an advisor in the department they wish to major in. Students are sent a reminder in the summer if they fail to respond to the first notice.  In November notification is sent to juniors who still have failed to be accepted to a department. If students remain unclassified by mid-March of their junior year, they are reclassified to sophomore standing.

Detailed information about declaring the major, including useful FAQs, is available on the website maintained by the Sophomore Committee.

Note: Students are responsible for meeting all deadlines associated with declaring their major(s) and minor(s). Once a degree is awarded, no further changes to the degree may be made

1a. Application for Major in Arts and Sciences

Students may gain easy access to every department’s major and minor websites by going to the College academics web page. Students may also consult the Undergraduate Bulletin. Once there is a rough idea of the courses needed to complete a major the student should then make an appointment with the departmental advisor to complete plans and gain acceptance. The names of departmental advisors may be obtained online. Departments in Arts and Sciences will accept students and assign faculty advisors if any specified prerequisites have been completed with a 2.0 or higher average. Any conditions of the acceptance will be noted on the form. In making its decision, the department may ask the Office of Academic Records for a copy of the student’s advising record.

Courses taken at another college that students want to use to satisfy major requirements must be approved by the appropriate person in the department and by filling out a Course Approval Form. Transcripts may be sent electronically to: or by hardcopy to:

Center for Advising Services
University of Rochester
312 Lattimore Hall
P.O. Box 270402
Rochester, NY 14627-0402

Students simultaneously register their plans for the balance of their Rochester Curriculum. The dual-purpose form permits students to indicate the set of formal coursework (i.e., cluster, minor, major) that they will complete for each academic division.

1b. Application for Major in Engineering and Applied Sciences

Engineering and computer science students who have met the freshman and sophomore requirements for their particular programs may apply for admission to a major in the Hajim School. Students should seek assistance from Hajim School faculty members (particularly their faculty advisors) and Dean’s Office personnel to help insure that introductory courses both explore potential areas of the major and prepare the student for the major that might be chosen.

To be admitted formally to a major, the student and advisor must complete (usually during the spring of the sophomore year) the “Approval Form for Majors and Minors.”  advisors should check with the chair of their undergraduate curriculum committee regarding the process.  It is the responsibility of each department to notify the Hajim School’s Dean’s Office of a student’s acceptance into a major. The Dean’s Office reviews the application for the major, and, if approved, processes the formal acceptance.

All students admitted into the Hajim School of Engineering are responsible for four semesters of equipment fees. Students should be advised that questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Associate Dean in the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

2. Changing a Major

A change from one major to another is completed in the same way as the application. After acceptance by the new department the student returns the “Approval Form for Majors and Minors” to the Center for Advising Services (Hajim School’s Dean’s Office for engineering and computer science students’ changes) and informs that office of the change. The “Rochester Curriculum Registration” is revised if necessary. 

3. Double Major

Students wishing to pursue a major in two Arts and Sciences departments for their Bachelor of Arts degree apply to both departments following the usual procedure. They also revise the “Rochester Curriculum Registration” if necessary. In addition, both areas acknowledge in writing that they are aware of and approve the student’s pursuit of a double major. This approval should be written on the “Approval Form” or in a separate memo, signed, and sent to the Office of Academic Records.  Students are expected to fulfill the upper-level writing requirement in each major. Specific rules exist concerning mathematics-statistics double majors (see Bulletin).

No two majors may overlap by more than three courses. (Some majors such as BET, EPD, HBS, HLP (Public Health) and IPA restrict the number of overlapping courses to two.) Allied field courses taken outside the department of the major that are part of the core program are subject to this overlap policy, as are foundational courses that are prerequisite requirements and from the department of the major. Non-departmental ancillary course requirements (such as chemistry for biology majors) are not subject to this restriction. Students submit the “Overlap Declaration Form for Majors and Minors” when they submit their second major form.

A list of the double majors in any one department is maintained by the Office of Academic Records. Students may obtain a major, or a double major, along with one or more minors (see Minors).

A statement will be placed on the official record concerning a third approved major, although the third major will not be (cannot be) entered into the computerized record. A petition to the Administrative Committee should be submitted seeking permission to pursue the third major.

4. Double Degrees

Students wishing to pursue both a B.A. and a B.S. degree program, or two B.S. programs, within the College submit signed “Approval Forms for Majors and Minors” to the Center for Advising Services, along with a petition to the Administrative Committee seeking permission to pursue the double degree. All double degree students need to conform to the policies noted above under “Double Majors.” A list of Double Degree students is maintained by the Office of Academic Records.

In addition to the overlap policy noted above, double degree students also need to know that the Administrative Committee will expect them to earn at least 136, rather than 128, credits in order to graduate.

Students following a double degree program must fulfill all graduation requirements of both degrees.

Majors by Division

View majors alphabetically >

Humanities (H):

Social Sciences (S):

Natural Sciences and Engineering (N):

Variable (Determined at time of entrance into major):