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Majors, Minors, Five College Certificates & Concentrations

As a requirement for graduation, you must complete at least one major. The list of departments and programs offering major programs of study is available at on the Courses of Study page. You may add a second major, minor or Five College certificate, or concentration at any time after you declare your first major. Smith College recognizes only two purely academic programs (major, minor or certificate) on the student’s record, in the following combinations:

  • One major
  • One major and one minor
  • One major and one Five College Certificate
  • Two majors (i.e., double major)

Concentrations

A concentration may be declared as an additional program in conjunction with any of the academic program combinations above. A concentration gives students a way to organize a combination of intellectual and practical experiences, such as internships and service learning, around an area of interest.

Declaring a Major

You must declare a major by the end of the registration period for the second semester of your sophomore year; however, you may declare earlier. If you plan to study abroad, you must declare a major before you submit your study abroad application in early February of your sophomore year. You must apply and be accepted into a concentration before you can declare it. If you are declaring a Five College Certificate, there are additional steps with the Five College Consortium, and more information can be found on the Five College website.

Junior transfer students must declare a major before registration for their second Smith semester. Ada Comstock Scholars must declare within a semester of earning 64 credits.

To declare a major, fill out the declaration form below and return it to the Office of the Registrar (College Hall 102). When declaring your first major, you need the approval of your liberal arts adviser (LAA) and your new adviser. If you are declaring a second major, minor or Five College Certificate, or a concentration, you will only need the signature of your adviser for that specific field of study. No major or minor can be in the same department or program as the first major.

Courses Outside the Major/64-Credit Rule (Bachelor of Arts)

A student’s program requires a minimum of 36 credits in a department or interdepartmental major. For the bachelor of arts degree, one-half of a student’s total program, or at least 64 credits, must be taken outside the department or program of the major. Any course (including prerequisites) which is explicitly listed in the catalog as required for, or counting toward, fulfilling the requirements of the major shall be considered to be inside the major for the purposes of this rule. Normally cross-listed and dual-prefix courses are also considered to be inside the major.

The sole exception to the 64–credit rule is that in the case of a major requiring study of two foreign languages taught within a single department or program, no fewer than 56 credits shall be taken outside the department or program of the major.

Practical Advice

  • Courses inside a department or program’s major count as such even if they are not required to satisfy major requirements. Pay particular attention to dual-prefixed and cross-listed courses, as well as departments and programs offering courses under multiple subject codes (e.g., ARS and ARH courses are counted as in the same department).
  • You may have to check catalogs from multiple academic years for complete course information as course offerings and curricula change.
  • Any course that is (1) a prerequisite for a course in the major or (2) can reasonably be counted toward the major, is counted in the major (e.g., a Five College course that carries a non-Smith subject code but whose content clearly falls within the major department or program).

Rules for Double Counting Courses and Double Majors

Only two courses may be counted for both a major and a minor. Only three courses from your major may count toward your concentration.

If you are a double major, you need 64 credits outside each major, not both.