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Requirements for an Academic Major in the College of Arts and Sciences


CONTENTS       Definition of a major
Admission requirements
Grade requirements
    2.00 minimum GPA
    Calculating the major GPA
    S/NS
    Repeated courses
Credit requirements
    Credit maximum for major requirements
    UW residence credits
    Credit minimum outside the major department
Options, concentrations, and certificates
    Options
    Concentrations
    Certificates
Cross-campus majors and minors
    Students are restricted to majors on one campus
    Minors
    Cross-campus enrollment
Overlaps with general education requirements
    English composition, additional writing, Q/SR, and foreign language
    Areas of Knowledge
    Double majors

Definition of a major

    An academic major is an in-depth study of one discipline or subject. In the College of Arts and Sciences, a major consists of a minimum of 50 credits in one department or a closely related group of departments.
  
  

Admission requirements

    Many majors at the University have admission requirements that must be completed before a student can declare the major. There are three types of admission:

  • Open admission-Open majors can be declared at any time. Some can be declared at the time the student applies to the University; others can be declared only after the student has enrolled. Some open majors allow students to declare the major only during certain times of the quarter.
  • Minimum admission requirements-Certain courses or a certain number of credits must be completed before the student can declare the major. The department can also require a minimum overall GPA or minimum grades in prerequisite courses. All students who meet the stated requirements are admitted to the major. There may be an application form, and there may be application deadlines.
  • Competitive admission-Completion of any stated prerequisites does not guarantee admission. There is always an application form and deadlines; some competitive majors admit students only once/year. Admission factors may include grades, test scores, portfolios, auditions, letters of recommendation, and/or interviews.

Admission requirements are determined by the department and must be approved by the Faculty Council on Academic Standards.

The admission requirements of all undergraduate majors are available in the General Catalog and in departments' home pages. For summaries of the admission requirements of majors, including identification of each major as open, minimum requirements, or competitive admission, see the charts of liberal arts, science/engineering, and professional majors.

All UW students are expected to declare a major by the time they have earned 105 credits. Students who are coded premajor (or prebusiness, etc.) and have completed 105 or more credits are not allowed to continue to register for courses. Such students must meet with an adviser to discuss their academic plans. If the adviser feels a student has a reasonable chance of admission to his/her intended major, the adviser will change the student's code to "extended premajor" for as long as the student needs to complete the admission requirements to the major. For more information, see the current edition of the Adviser's Guide.

  
  

Grade requirements

   

2.00 minimum GPA

In the College of Arts and Sciences, a grade-point average of at least 2.00 in the courses required for the major is required for graduation. "Required for the major" means all credits presented to fulfill major requirements, including any required courses from other departments. Note that this GPA need not include all courses in the major department, if some are not needed to fulfill the requirements of the major.

Some departments require a GPA higher than 2.00. Any policy requiring a GPA higher than 2.00 must be approved by the Faculty Council on Academic Standards.

A department may specify other GPA requirements for graduation. Any additional requirements must be approved by the Faculty Council on Academic Standards and must be clearly advertised by the department. Such additional requirements may include, for example:

  • a minimum grade in each course required by the major
  • a minimum grade or GPA for certain courses within the major
  • a minimum GPA for the required coursework in the major department itself (in cases where other supporting courses outside the department are also required)
  • a minimum GPA for all courses actually taken in the major department, when the student has presented more than the minimum number of departmental credits

Calculating the major GPA

In calculating the GPA in the major, the department has some flexibility in determining what grades to include. Most departments calculate the GPA using any combination of the minimum number of credits that would satisfy all categories of the major requirements, and exclude additional courses or grades (including 0.0 grades, whether or not the student has a later passing grade in the same course). That is, they use whatever calculation works to the advantage of the student. A department may establish a general policy of including all courses and/or grades. It may also consider petitions from students for variance from such a policy.

S/NS

As of autumn 1985 courses taken to satisfy any requirement, including the requirements of a major, may not be taken S/NS. A student who took a required course pass-fail at another school before first enrolling at the UW, however, may count the course toward major requirements.

If the requirements of a major in the College of Arts and Sciences exceed 50 credits, the department may allow courses taken S/NS to count toward requirements of the major, as long as at least 50 credits of major requirements are completed with numerical grades.

Repeated courses

Students are allowed to repeat a course only once. If a student repeats a course more than once, the grade for the additional repeat is not recorded on the transcript; it is shown as an "X" (or "CR" if it is the first passing grade in the course). If a student must repeat a course a second time to obtain a satisfactory grade in a major requirement, the grade will not be posted on the student's transcript but the department can view it at SRF100A. If the grade isn't visible there contact the Graduation and Academic Records Office, which can provide the grade.

Each department with admission requirements may determine its own policy on how it will treat repeated courses submitted as part of the admission requirements. Most departments follow the University policy, which is to count both the original grade and the grade in the first repeat. The department policy may be, however, to count only the most recent grade, or to average the two grades together.

  
  

Credit requirements

   

Credit maximum for major requirements

In the College of Arts and Sciences, no department may require in a major more than 70 credits from courses within the department. No more than 90 credits may be required from courses within and outside the department combined. Any exceptions to these restrictions must be granted by the Dean.

For language majors, the 70-credit maximum which the department may prescribe for courses within the major may exclude courses at the first-year level, or the first- and second-year levels, as determined by the department.

UW residence credits

A department may require (with the approval of the Faculty Council on Academic Standards) that a certain minimum number of credits required for the major must be taken at the UW.

Credit minimum outside the major department

In the College of Arts and Sciences, a student must complete at least 90 credits outside the major department. Supporting courses in other departments are included in the 90 credits outside the major department, even though they are required by the major.

A student may choose to take more than 90 credits in the major department, but to that extent will need more than the 180 credits to graduate so the credits outside the department will total 90.

MULTIPLE-MAJOR DEPARTMENTS
In multiple-major departments, where the several majors are for the most part mutually exclusive, courses in another major are acceptable as part of the required 90 credits outside the major. For example, FRENCH courses are outside of the Spanish major, JAPAN and ASIAN courses are outside the Chinese major, and so on. ART H courses are considered outside of ART, and vice versa.

INTERDISCIPLINARY MAJORS
In interdisciplinary majors, a student may not count toward the 180 credits more than 90 credits in one of the departments that make up the major. For example, an ACMS major may not count more than 90 credits of MATH-prefix courses toward the 180 credits.

  
  

Options, concentrations, and certificates

   

Options

Options are undergraduate academic programs that allow students to specialize within a major. An option must overlap with at least 50% of the credits of an existing major. If a department wishes to offer a program that overlaps less than 50% with an existing major, the department must submit a proposal for a new major.

An example of an option is the cinema studies option within the comparative literature major. A student majoring in comparative literature may complete either the comparative literature requirements or the cinema studies requirements.

Like majors, options are transcripted. For example, the cinema studies option is posted on the student's transcript at the time of graduation as "Comparative Literature: Cinema Studies."

Options must be approved by the department, the school or college, and the Faculty Council on Academic Standards.

Concentrations

Departments may create options that are not transcripted. Such untranscripted options can be referred to by the discipline's preferred term, such as concentration, track, or pathway, but should not be called options, either in the General Catalog or in handouts provided to students by the department. The term "option" is reserved for transcripted programs.

Untranscripted concentrations (etc.) must also be approved by the department, the school or college, and the Faculty Council on Academic Standards.

Certificates

Except for the Certificate of International Studies in Business, the UW does not officially recognize certificate programs for matriculated undergraduate students, which means that any such programs (except CISB) are not transcripted. A department may offer a certificate, but it should not be described in the General Catalog.

The UW offers a number of certificate programs through UW Extension, but these are not associated with a baccalaureate degree.

  
  

Cross-campus majors and minors

   

Students are restricted to majors on one campus

Students are allowed to declare a major (or majors) on only one UW campus. A student who wishes to complete majors on two campuses must first graduate with a major from one campus, then gain admission as a postbaccalaureate student to complete a major at the other campus.

Minors

A student may complete the requirements of a minor offered by another campus. A student may not actually declare a cross-campus minor, however, until the graduation application is filed. The student can declare the cross-campus minor at that time, and the minor will be awarded when the degree is granted.

Cross-campus enrollment

Students are allowed to enroll in courses at another UW campus only on a space-available basis, beginning the first day of each quarter. A number of restrictions apply; see Cross-Campus Enrollment.
  
  

Overlaps with general education requirements

   

English composition, additional writing, Q/SR, and foreign language

Courses required by a major may also be counted toward these requirements, if they appear on the appropriate lists.

Areas of Knowledge

Up to 15 credits in the major department may be counted toward the Areas of Knowledge requirement. Beyond this 15-credit restriction, courses outside the major department required by the major may be counted toward Areas of Knowledge to the extent that the major requirements exceed 50 credits. In multiple-major departments, courses outside the area of the student's major may count toward Areas of Knowledge without restriction. For example, a French major may count 15 credits of French and any number of credits of Spanish toward the Areas of Knowledge requirement.

Double majors

Students who complete two majors (or two degrees) are allowed to count credits in the second major toward the Areas of Knowledge requirement without restriction. The student chooses which major is the one with only 15 credits of overlap allowed. This policy applies to all doubles, including those in which the degrees are in two different colleges. For example, a student doubling in business administration and music may choose business as the major restricted to 15 credits of overlap with Areas of Knowledge, and then count any number of music credits toward Areas of Knowledge.