Declaring a Major
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:
- Humanities (H)
- Social sciences (S)
- Natural sciences and engineering (N)
Students must use the Major/Minor Declaration Form to declare their major.
Students are expected to declare their major during the end of their sophomore year or the semester they are completing 64 credits toward their degree. Students typically begin the formal process for declaring their major by meeting with an advisor in the department they wish to major in. If students are not sure who they should meet with, they may consult the Authorized Approval List or the department. College advisors and advisors in the College Center for Advising Services (CCAS) can also provide guidance.
In the fall semester, an email reminder is sent to juniors who still have failed to be accepted to a department. Following this communication, a registration hold will be placed on the student’s account if the major is not declared. This hold will be lifted once the student meets with their College advisor to discuss their academic plan.
Detailed information about declaring the major, including useful FAQs, is available on the sophomore website.
Students are responsible for meeting all deadlines associated with declaring their major(s) and minor(s). All declared programs of study can be viewed in UR Student. During the senior year and prior to graduation, students are asked to verify this information. Once a degree is awarded, no further changes to the degree may be made.
Application for Major in Arts and Sciences
Once a student has a rough idea of the courses needed to complete a major, they should make an appointment with the departmental advisor to create a course plan and gain acceptance. The names of departmental advisors can be found on our Authorized Approval List.
Departments in the School of Arts and Sciences will accept students and assign faculty advisors when all specified prerequisites have been completed with a 2.0 or higher average. Any conditions of the acceptance will be noted on the form.
Courses taken at another institution 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 can be sent electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org or as a hard copy to:
Office of the University Registrar
University of Rochester
127 Lattimore Hall
P.O. Box 270038
Rochester, NY 14627
At the time that students declare their major, they 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.
Application for Major in Engineering and Applied Sciences
Engineering and computer science students who have met the first-year and sophomore requirements for their particular programs can apply for admission to a major in the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Students should talk to their Hajim advisor to help ensure 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 the Major/Minor declaration form which is available online . 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 are responsible for four semesters of equipment fees. Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the associate dean of education and new initiatives in the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Changing a Major
A change from one major to another is completed in the same way as the application. Once the online Major/Minor Declaration Form is submitted, it is routed first to the student’s intended department, and after approval, is sent to the Office of the University Registrar for processing. In order to change a cluster or drop a major or minor, a student may submit the Rochester Curriculum Change Form.
The Rochester Curriculum Registration is revised if necessary.
Students planning to pursue a major in two departments, both of which are bachelor of arts, should apply to both departments following the usual procedure. In addition, the student is asked to indicate on each Major/Minor declaration form that an additional major is being declared.
Students are not permitted to declare two majors in the same department with few exceptions: a double major in international relations and political science can be approved as well as a double major in art history and studio arts.
Students are expected to fulfill the upper-level writing requirement in each major. Specific rules exist concerning mathematics-statistics double majors; see the Undergraduate Bulletin for more information. Only one upper-level writing course can be shared between two majors.
Students who are double majoring still need to follow the College’s overlap policy.
A Petition to the Administrative Committee should be submitted if a student is seeking permission to pursue a third major. While students may petition to complete a triple major, such requests are rare. Students are not permitted to declare four majors.
Students wishing to pursue both a BA and a BS, or two bachelor of science programs, must submit a Major/Minor declaration form for each intended major (as noted above), along with a petition to the Administrative Committee seeking permission to pursue the double degree. All double degree students need to follow the policies above regarding double majors.
In addition to the overlap policy, all double degree students also need 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.
See the double degrees page for more information.
Students should be aware that financial aid is available for up to a total of eight semesters or until their first bachelor degree requirements are met. Additional aid will not be awarded if a second major is declared and a student needs more than eight semesters to complete their degree(s). Students considering a second major or second degree, should discuss their plans with their advisor and consult with their financial aid counselor, if applicable, to ensure that their academic plans allow for continued financial aid.
Use our academic search tool to view a list of majors either alphabetically or by division.
For more information watch this webinar on declaring a major.