Majors & Minors

Visit the Academic Advising Center for information regarding:

Changing Your Major

Students must complete a Declaration of Major Form, which is available at the Academic Advising Center. An appointment is not required, but we strongly encourage students to discuss their plans with an academic advisor. All major changes require approval by the chair of the respective academic department. Additional requirements may exist depending on the desired major. For more information, please contact the Academic Advising Center.

Double Majoring

Students may choose to complete a double major by fulfilling all of the requirements for two majors in two separate departments. No single course is allowed to fulfill a requirement in both majors. Students with a major in the Visual and Media Arts Department may not pursue a double major.

Taking on a second major requires a serious commitment on the part of the student. Most, if not all, of a student's free electives may be needed to complete the second major. In fact, many students who double major must earn beyond the minimum 128 credits by taking summer classes, overloading, or staying an extra semester in order to finish the requirements of two majors. With careful planning, however, double majors may be accomplished. We encourage any student considering a double major to meet with an advisor.

Designing Your Own Major

Emerson offers eligible students the opportunity to create an individually designed interdisciplinary program (IDIP). An IDIP is a major program consisting of courses from two or more departments taken in a well-defined area of interest. Students design the program in consultation with faculty members from the departments in which the majority of the coursework will be based and then submit the proposal to the IDIP faculty committee for approval.

To be eligible, students must have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0. They must complete the proposal and have it approved before the beginning of their junior year. It is important to understand that the IDIP is for focused and committed students who have a clear vision of their academic goals.

It is not for students who can't decide between majors or who hope to avoid required classes that they find less interesting in an existing major. More information about rules, submission dates, and instructions is available from the Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies.

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Minors give students the opportunity to explore an area outside of their major field of study. All minors consist of at least 16 credits of related coursework previously approved by the School in which the minor is offered. No course may fulfill a requirement in both the major and the minor, but in most cases up to 8 credits of the Liberal Arts curriculum may apply to a minor.

To declare a minor, fill out a Minor Change Request Form, which is available at the Academic Advising Center. Students can learn what minors are offered at Emerson by consulting the Undergraduate Catalogue (minor requirements are included at the beginning of each department chapter) or by stopping by the Academic Advising Center to pick up our list of minors. This list includes the specific requirements for each minor offered at Emerson.

A minor is not required in order to graduate from Emerson. However, many students find that pursuing a minor is an effective and interesting way to give focus to elective credits.

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Credit Breakdown

While each student has a slightly different case due to many different factors (what your major is, if you had Math or World Language waivers, if you brought in AP credit, etc.), some overall generalizations can be made:

All students must earn at least 128 credits to graduate.

Students entering Emerson as first-year students will automatically reach this goal by taking a full, normal load each semester (16 credits) and staying a full four years (8 semesters). 8 semesters x 16 credits a semester = 128 credits.

Of the courses taken to reach 128 credits, some will be required for the Liberal Arts curriculum, some will be required for major requirements, and the remaining credits will be free elective credits. A "free elective" means you are free to elect to take any course you want (and are eligible for) to fulfill the remaining credits.

The number of free elective credits a student has varies widely according to such factors as the number of credits required to fulfill the major, if any waivers or AP scores fulfilled Liberal Arts requirements, etc. For the average student seeking a BA or BS degree, a safe generalization is that 1/3 of the credits will go toward Liberal Arts credits, 1/3 toward the major, and 1/3 toward free electives.

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All baccalaureate degree candidates must satisfactorily complete a minimum of 128 semester credit hours with a minimum GPA of 2.0. BA and BS degree candidates complete between 9 to 11 courses in the major; BFA students complete between 14 and 16 courses in the major. Students must satisfactorily complete one full year at Emerson (32 credits) and they must complete their final 16 credits at Emerson or at an Emerson external program, such as the Los Angeles Program. Students submit a Graduation Application with the Registrar and must make an appointment for a senior credit evaluation before the last semester of attendance in order to be cleared for graduation.

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Recent Emerson College graduates