• Majors and Minors
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Policies


 

I'm still undecided. When do I need to declare a major? +

We strongly recommend that you declare a major by the end of your sophomore year or early in your junior year. Once you have earned 55+ credits, you will likely receive a message from the Newnan LSA Academic Advising Center if you have not declared. We want you to think ahead, pace yourself, and plan intelligently so you can graduate in a reasonable amount of time. Though students are allowed to change majors or add a major as late as they wish, these late declarations may delay graduation. Work with a general advisor and department advisor to ensure healthy progress towards your degree!

Can I talk with a departmental advisor even if I'm not ready to declare yet? +

Certainly. You may make an appointment at any time to discuss the major or the coursework required. This is a great idea if you are still undecided about a major, or trying to choose between two or three majors. A major advisor is often the best person to tell you about further opportunities for majors in that field, or about what types of jobs and careers recent graduates of that program have gone into.

Do I need to finish the prereq's to a major or minor before declaring? +

Some departments require that you complete all prerequisites (sometimes with certain minimum grades) before you can declare, while others do not require completion of prerequisites before declaration. Check with the  department that interests you. Also, a few departments/programs require that you go through an application process; they do not simply declare you after you finish prerequisite work. The Academics and Requirements section on the LSA student website lists all majors and minors, their requirements, and whether you need to submit an application.

Can I use transfer credits to count towards my major or minor? +

In general it is possible to take prerequisites and some major or minor course work at another campus. You will need to check, however, with your department advisor about what is acceptable. If you are transferring credits from another institution, and you want any of those credits to count towards your major requirements, they must be approved by a major advisor. The Office of Undergraduate Admissions can evaluate whether credit will transfer to U-M and how it will be posted on your record, but neither Admissions nor a general advisor can approve courses towards a major. Each department sets its own standards for the acceptance of transfer credits; there are no general rules that govern the process. Transferable courses that you have taken at another school that are in the department of your major but are not accepted by your major advisor may only be used as elective credit.

Can I use major or minor courses to meet LSA general requirements? +

Your major or minor can overlap with upper level writing, race and ethnicity, and quantitative reasoning, and a minor can overlap with distribution, but you cannot overlap major (courses in the department, cognates, electives) and distribution. The distribution requirement is about breadth, or broad exposure to a range of fields and methods of inquiry. It ensures that you explore disciplines outside your major.

What is a cognate? +

A cognate is a required major course taken in a department outside your department of the major but whose subject relates closely to your major. Consult with a department advisor to determine which courses of interest to you can be used as cognates.

May I use a cognate course for distribution? +

No. It is part of the major, and therefore you cannot use it for distribution.

May I take major or minor courses Pass/Fail? +

No, you cannot take any courses which are used for your major (including cognates and major electives) Pass/Fail. If you take a course Pass/Fail and then later wish to major in that department and the course is required for the major, talk with a department advisor about it. If you haven't yet declared, the department advisor can contact Carolyn McCullum (cmpurple@umich.edu), say you intend to concentrate in that department, and request that the P/F be changed to a grade. If you have already declared and the course you took P/F is required for the major, you can contact Carolyn McCullum yourself to request the change.

Can I do a double major? +

Yes, you may declare several majors. Make sure that both majors are listed on the same Declaration Form.

You must complete all the requirements of each major. Some of these may overlap, especially in the cases of prerequisites and cognates, in which case you would only have to complete those courses once. It is also possible to have courses in one major double-count as cognate requirements in another, and vice-versa. If you successfully complete two majors, only one of them is excluded from your distribution plan, at your option. Thus you may choose one major to double-count with your distribution requirements.

To declare a double major, simply fill out a single major Declaration Form,with both majors listed on it. It must be signed by both major advisors. If you have already declared one major and are adding a second, you needn't get a new signature from the first advisor. Simply write "signature on file" in that space on the form.

Can I count courses from my major towards a minor? +

Only ONE course from a major (prerequisite or requirement) can overlap with the requirements of an academic minor.  If the minor has prerequisites, major prerequisites may overlap with them.  Two minors cannot have any overlapping courses.

Procedures


 

If I listed a major on my U-M app does that mean I've already delcared? +

No, the areas of interest you listed on your application are simply that, possible interests. You are not actually an official major until you meet with the departmental  advisor from the department and sign the Declaration Form.

How do I declare a major or minor? +

To declare a major or minor you simply make an appointment with a department advisor in that department, and the two of you fill out and sign a Declaration Form. Department staff will enter the declaration onto your record.

When you meet with a department advisor to declare, remember to come to your appointment with any questions you have about the major or minor, and use this as an opportunity for a conversation. Many majors and minors have helpful checklists of requirements, but the most meaningful interactions with advisors go beyond checklists.  Here are some examples of questions you might ask: What resources and opportunities does the department offer its majors? Do many majors study abroad and use some of those credits towards the major? What initiatives are going on in the department that are of particular interest to undergraduates?

How do I change my major or minor? +

Many students change their minds about their major or minor during their first couple of years, so don't feel constrained to stick with your original decision if you discover that a different option will better meet your needs. Changing your major or minor is as easy as declaring. You can change a major or minor simply by officially declaring a different one with the Declaration Form. Whether or not you're using the form to declare a new major, you will see a section on the form to delete an existing major. Either the department staff or the Academic Auditors in G255 Angell Hall will process this "delete" for you, and you do not need a department advisor's signature to complete this action.

How do I make an appointment with a major/minor advisor? +

Each department or program decides how it wants students to make appointments with departmentmajor advisors.

Note that to make an appointment to discuss the Individual Program of study in a major or the Bachelor in General Studies degree, you should call the Newnan LSA Academic Advising Center at 764-0332.  

IMP and BGS


 

What is the Individual Major Program (IMP)? +

The Individual Major Program (IMP) is an option for innovative students who wish to undertake a rigorous program of study within the College of LS&A that is not available either in an existing departmental major or interdepartmental program. IMPs are interdisciplinary and reflect the liberal arts perspective of LS&A. The IMP encourages diversity and flexibility, but all IMPs must have an identifiable academic focus and unifying theme. As with other majors, IMPs must stress development of skills to think critically, to understand and evaluate knowledge, and to develop ideas. 

What is the Bachelor in General Studies (BGS) degree? +

The Bachelor in General Studies (BGS) degree allows students to pursue their interests in an individually designed degree program independent of departmental requirements. The BGS is not designed for students who lack a specific educational purpose or direction. Such students ultimately flounder in the freedom of the BGS program for lack of clarity of purpose. The BGS is ideally suited for students who have specific areas of interest, who see in the flexibility of its degree structure a chance to explore new areas of learning, and who welcome the responsibility of planning their own undergraduate programs. Students may, with the BGS, combine skills, knowledge and experience across departments and academic disciplines.