Overlap Policies

Major and Minor Overlap

No more than three courses in a major or two courses in a minor can be used toward a separate major or minor. This means that no two majors can overlap by more than three courses, no major and minor can overlap by more than two courses, and no two minors can overlap by more than two courses. Prerequisite courses required for the major are not subject to this restriction.

However, some majors such as the public health-related majors (bioethics, epidemiology, environmental health, health, behavior, and society, and health policy), interdepartmental programs in arts and sciences, and in engineering restrict the number of overlapping courses to two. If in doubt, students should always speak directly with an advisor in the department who is authorized to approve majors and minors.

Courses Exempt from the Overlap Rule (for Majors and Minors)

Unless listed below, all courses are subject to the overlap rule outlined above (i.e., will count towards the maximum overlaps allowed between majors and minors).

The list of exempted courses below are the only courses not subject to this rule. The list was developed in consultation with the relevant departments and has received the approval of the College Curriculum Committee. The courses have been selected based on their widespread use as introductory sequences in various majors and minors, primarily but not exclusively in the natural sciences. These are courses that would commonly occupy all overlaps allowed between the relevant majors, prohibiting students from any other overlap even in circumstances in which the overlap would be deemed appropriate.

This list also codifies past practice in handling overlaps in some departments (e.g., chemistry, mathematics, physics) and past decisions by the College Curriculum Committee (e.g., around the introductory statistics courses).

Biology: BIOL 110L, BIOL 111L, BIOL 112L, BIOL 113L

Chemistry: CHEM 131/CHEM 137, CHEM 132, CHEM 173, CHEM 207, CHEM 208, CHEM 210*

Computer science: CSC 161, CSC 171, CSC 172

Mathematics: MATH 141, MATH 142, MATH 143, MATH 150, MATH 161, MATH 162, MATH 163, MATH 164, MATH 165, MATH 171, MATH 172, MATH 173, MATH 174

Physics: PHYS 113, PHYS 114, PHYS 121/121P, PHYS 122/122P, PHYS 123, PHYS 141, PHYS 142, PHYS 143

Statistics: STAT 211, STAT 212, STAT 213, STAT 214/BIOL 214, ECON 230, PSCI 200, DSCC 262/CSC 262/STAT 262

Writing: WRTG 273 (Hajim School)**

*CHEM 173, CHEM 207, CHEM 208, CHEM 210 are laboratory courses associated with the lecture courses in organic chemistry sequence. These laboratory courses are exempt from the overlap policy, but the organic chemistry lecture courses (CHEM 171/172, CHEM 203/4) continue to count towards the overall number of overlaps allowed between majors and minors.

**WRTG 273 is a required course for all engineering majors within the Hajim School of Engineering and Applied Science, and therefore has been determined as exempt from the overlap rule. WRTG 273 will not count towards the overlaps between Hajim School majors and minors. However, students double majoring in engineering may only use WRTG 273 to satisfy the upper-level writing (ULW) requirement for one of those majors. WRTG 273 may not be used to fulfill upper-level writing for more than one major (e.g., in the case of a student double majoring in electrical and computer engineering and data science).

Cluster Overlap

No more than one course in a cluster can be used toward a major or minor. Students are not permitted to use the same course to fulfill the requirements of two different clusters.


Courses completed for certificate programs are not subject to overlap rules with regard to majors, minors, and clusters.

Upper-Level Writing Overlap

Only one upper-level writing course is permitted to overlap between two majors. Each major must have at least one upper-level writing course unique to that major.