Declaration of Major

All sophomores officially declare their major(s) early in their spring semester. Before their official declaration of major and early in the second semester of their first year, engineering students also complete a Statement of Intention  in which they indicate their engineering focus to assure that they have an appropriate faculty advisor. The process is implemented by the Office of the Dean of the College in February and is scheduled to be completed by mid-April before pre-registration for the fall semester.  Normally, sophomores are instructed to make an appointment to meet with their intended department or program head(s) to complete the declaration process which includes a faculty advisor assignment. In some cases a major department will set certain conditions that the student must fulfill by the end of the first semester of the junior year.  These may be in the areas of cumulative average, total number of credits, or distribution of courses.

Individualized Major

Students may find that the usual options for majors or minors do not meet their special interests or needs. Recognizing this, the College provides a unique opportunity for students to develop an individualized major within the A.B. program based upon their special interests, talents, experiences, and life objectives. An individualized major combines courses in two or more departments/programs based upon a theme articulated by the student in consultation with one or more faculty members. Examples of individualized majors have included psychobiology, political philosophy, and scientific journalism.

Once the individualized major has been designed, the student petitions the Academic Progress Committee for final approval of the major no later than the end of the sophomore year. The petition must demonstrate a logical coherence of course selection, including a capstone experience, and must be approved by three faculty members who represent the departments involved. Students are invited to speak with the Registrar if they have questions concerning this opportunity.

The following guidelines should apply:

1. The proposal must state the specific goals to be achieved through the desired program and explain why these goals cannot be met with existing major options.  2. The proposal will include a list of courses (at least 10) and cover a range of introductory, intermediate, and advanced courses with at least two in each category.

3. The proposal will include a description of the capstone experience.  The capstone is expected to integrate the knowledge gained and gathered through the courses list and is normally completed during the senior year.

4. Modifications to the proposal must be reviewed and approved by the faculty sponsors and the Academic Progress Committee.

Double Major

Candidates for the Bachelor of Arts degree may elect two major programs.  Requirements common to both majors will count for both majors, with no more than 4 courses counted toward both majors.

Dual Degree

Students pursuing a two-degree, five-year program may select either two B.S. degrees or a B.S. and an A.B. degree.  Such a program of study normally requires a minimum number of eight to ten extra courses beyond the first degree and five years to complete.  It should be elected before the close of the sophomore year and the student should seek advice from the heads of the departments involved.  The specific two-degree programs along with a proposed course outline applicable toward both degrees must be submitted to the Academic Progress Committee.

Academic Minors

A minor consists of a coherent sequence of courses, usually five or six in number, approved by the student’s designated minor adviser.  Normally, a student must choose a minor program before the end of the second semester of the junior year.

No more than three courses required (a) for the major or, (b) to satisfy Common Course of Study requirements may be counted toward the minor.  Courses required for the major are defined as those specifically prescribed for the degree. Students electing a minor are encouraged to choose a minor in a different division from the division of their major.  No student may elect more than one minor.


Lafayette College reserves the right in its sole judgment to amend any policy or program described herein without prior notice to persons who might thereby be affected. At its sole option, the College may suspend or eliminate courses, academic departments, or degree programs; change curricular offerings, graduation requirements, and regulations on standing of students; alter its class schedule and academic calendar; or make changes of any nature whenever in its judgment such changes are desirable for any reason. The provisions of this publication are not to be regarded as an irrevocable contract between the College and the student. Payment of tuition or attendance at any classes shall constitute acceptance by the student of the College's rights as set forth in this paragraph.