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Majors, Minors, Five College Certificates & Concentrations

How to Declare a Major or Change Your Adviser

Submit a completed declaration form or change of adviser form (as a PDF or JPG) via email to registrar@smith.edu

Completed forms must include your adviser's permission in one of the two following ways:

  • Your adviser can sign the form itself; or
  • You can forward an email from your adviser granting permission, with the completed form attached.

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)

A concentration is the only option to add a third program of study to your record. You must apply and be accepted into a concentration before you can declare it.

Declarations

You must declare a major by the end of the registration period during the second semester of your sophomore year; however, you may declare early as the second semester of your first year. 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. 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.

Smith College recognizes only two purely academic programs of study (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)

A concentration is the only option to add a third program of study to your record. You must apply and be accepted into a concentration before you can declare it.

You must declare a Five College Certificate by submitting the declaration form with the registrar's office and completing the steps on the Five College website. The student record sheet that is submitted to the Five College Consortium must also be submitted to the registrar's office in order for the certificate to be eligible to appear on your Smith transcript.

To declare a major, fill out the declaration form below and return it to the Office of the Registrar (College Hall 102 or registrar@smith.edu). 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 program of study. No major or minor can be in the same department or program as the first 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.


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 requirement. Only three courses from your major requirements may count toward your concentration requirements.

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