Majors, Minors, Certificates

Choosing a major (and minor, certificate if you wish) is a watershed moment in your academic career at Duke, for it marks the end of your premajor experience and begins a focus in an area in which you are keenly interested.  Information on majors, minors and certificates is below.  Note that if you are interested in designing your own academic program (Program II) or combining majors (Interdepartmental Major), see the links below.  

Major

A major requires a minimum of ten courses, although some majors require more.  The requirements for a major are those stated in the undergraduate bulletin for the year in which you matriculated in Trinity College, or you may choose to meet requirements in effect for your graduation term.  If you declare and complete requirements for two majors, both will be listed on your official record.  You will specify a primary or first major and a second major.  The advisor/department in your first major will be responsible for opening registration for you each semester.  Whether or not you receive an advisor in your second major is up to the department.

If you have strong interests in two different majors, you may combine them into a single Interdepartmental Major (IDM).  This requires a minimum of fourteen courses, split evently between the two departments.  Directors of undergraduate studies in both departments specify and approve requirements for this major. For more information see, Interdepartmental Major

Minor

A minor requires a minimum of five courses.  You may not major and minor in the same department/program with the exception of four departments in which multiple majors or concentrations are possible: (1) Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, (2) Art, Art History, and Visual Studies, (3) Classical Studies, and (4) Romance Studies.

Certificate

A certificate program is a course of study that lies outside a single major.  It is often interdisciplinary in nature and can parallel the research interests of faculty.  All certificate programs have a required introductory course and a culminating capstone course. There are two versions of certificate programs.   The traditional certificate is primarily academic and consists of six courses.  The experiential certificate (sometimes referred to as a 2.0 certificate) consists of a minimum of four courses and two immersive co-curricular experiences.

Restrictions on Majors, Minors, Certificates

  • You must declare one major to graduate.  You may declare a second (although not a third) major.
  • The combined number of majors, minors, and certificates may not exceed three. Thus, you could declare as a maximum: two majors and either a minor or a certificate; a major and two minors; a major and two certificates; or a major, a minor, and a certificate.
  • You may use a course to fulfill the requirements of both a major and minor; there are no university restrictions on "double counting" courses across majors and minors, though a department/program may impose restrictions.  However, for a traditional certificate, you can use no more than two course credits to fulfill the requirements of a certificate with another major, minor or certificate.  For an experiential certificate, you can use no more than one course credit to fulfill the requirements of that certificate with another major, minor or certificate.
  • At least half the courses taken to satisfy a major, minor or certificate must be Duke course credits, although individual departments and programs may require a greater proportion.  Transfer students should consult with the department.

Declaring a Major

You must declare a major during your sophomore year.  You may do so as soon as you have completed your first year.  The final deadline is the Friday before fall or spring break of your fourth semester of enrollment.  (Note that semesters in which you took a leave of absence and did not complete the semester or semesters in which you did not meet semester continuation requirements and were dismissed are not considered completed semesters and are not counted toward the major declaration deadline).   If you fail to declare a major by the appropriate deadline, the Academic Advising Center (AAC) will place a block on your record, preventing you from any course registration until you do declare.  

To declare a major, you will need to:

  • Add the courses you intend to take in future semesters to your "Planner" and rearrange them by semester.
  • Run an Advisement What-If report to ensure that your proposed future courses will allow you to fulfill curriculum and major requirements.
  • Under "Long-Range Plan", complete the questions and write an essay on why you are choosing your major.
  • Meet with your college advisor who will review and approve the What-If report and sign the essay page. 
  • Then you turn in your What-If report and the signed essay page to the Academic Advising Center.

More detailed instructions on how to declare can be found on the Academic Advising Center website.  After you turn in your What-If report and essay to the Academic Advising Center, the Academic Advising center will add your major (minor, certificate) to your academic record.  You will see your new major (minor, certificate) listed on Dukehub and you will be given a new advisor by your major department.   Note that registration (the period of time from the beginning of bookbagging to the final registration window) is a blackout period; the Academic Advising Center will accept your declaration of a major during this time but can not process it until drop/add begins.

Changing/Adding/Deleting a Major, Minor or Certificate

Once you have declared your major, you may change, add, or delete a major, minor or certificate through the Office of the University Registrar.  A form is available online

There is one important exception.  If you are a senior and have completed the Intention to Graduate Form that is emailed to you during the fall of your senior year, you can make the change in a major, minor, or certificate yourself at https://intention.trinity.duke.edu. If you are a senior and have not received or completed the Intention to Graduate Form, then you can change a major, minor or certificate by emailing trinity_graduation@duke.edu (note that the trinity_graduation@duke.edu account will only accept emails that are sent from duke.edu email addresses).  

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