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Undergraduate Majors and Minors

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Majors

An undergraduate major allows you to explore an area of concentration — or a track within the area — in considerable depth. This complements the breadth of study promoted by the General Education Requirements and, in many cases, by your choice of elective courses.

Your major may be noted on your transcript as specified by the department. In certain instances, the major field is noted on your diploma.

Choosing a Major

As an entering student at Stanford, you have access to all undergraduate offerings in the Schools of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, Engineering, and Humanities & Sciences. The curriculum is not strictly divided into upper and lower divisions, so you may enroll in courses for which you are appropriately prepared. Course prerequisites are intended to serve as a guide rather than as a deterrent.

Because some technical majors, such as engineering, have a more structured curriculum, you should take some introductory courses in math and/or science during their first year when considering one of those majors.

Typically, you choose a major by the time you achieve junior status — usually when you complete 90 units, including units granted for transfer work or Advanced Placement. Even after choosing a major, you may change it if your interests shift.

  • Multiple Majors
    • Most students declare one major; however, you may formally declare more than one major within a single bachelor's degree (B.A., B.S., or B.A.S.) program. You can do that either at the time you initially declare your major or — as may be more advisable given the planning required to complete more than one major —by declaring the additional major at a later date.

    • Special Requirements for Students Pursuing Multiple Majors

    • You may not overlap (i.e., “double-count”) courses for completing multiple major and/or minor requirements, unless:

      • overlapping courses constitute introductory skill requirements (e.g., introductory math or a foreign language); or

      • overlapping courses enable you to meet school requirements (e.g., for a major and minor) within the School of Engineering. Currently, only the School of Engineering has school requirements for its undergraduate majors.

    • To declare multiple majors, complete the Multiple Major Minor Course Approval form found on the eForms portal in Axess. You must indicate which courses you plan to apply toward each major and any minors.

    • Departments must certify that your study plan meets all requirements for the majors and any minors without unallowable overlaps in coursework. If you cannot meet the requirements of majors and minors without overlaps, you may be required to change your majors and or minors to facilitate graduation. You should consult the Registrar’s Office for additional information. In addition, the Secondary Major information on this site may be relevant.

  • Secondary Major
    • A secondary major is an option used when you complete course requirements for more than one major, but may not have met the requirements outlined for the multiple major option. For example, you may develop a course plan in which courses required for one major overlap with requirements for another. In such cases, you may declare a secondary major, which results in the transcript bearing an annotation that you have also met course requirements for that major.

    • Secondary majors do not appear on your diploma. If you want to add or remove a secondary major, you should do so through Axess under the, “declare major/minor” option. You can complete all secondary major changes in Axess if you have not yet applied to graduate. If you have applied, you must submit a Service Request to have the change done manually.

  • Individually Designed Major in Engineering
    • The School of Engineering offers an Individually Designed Major (IDM), intended for students who want to pursue an area of scholarly inquiry outside of the university’s established departments or programs. Bachelor's degree requirements are the same. As a prospective IDM student in the School of Engineering, you must obtain approval from two faculty members, one of whom must be an Academic Council member in the School of Engineering. The IDMEN proposal is reviewed by a faculty committee led by the senior associate dean. Contact the Dean's Office in the School of Engineering for further information.

    • No other IDMs are offered.

Declaring a Major

If you are undeclared and ready to declare your major, you can do so using Axess. Submit a request to the department in which you want to pursue a major. The department informs you of their decision on whether to accept you into the major. You should contact the department directly to determine if you need to fulfill any other requirements to process your major declaration request.

Note that you must declare a major prior to requesting to add a minor. 

You may change your major at any time by declaring a new major in Axess.

Undergraduate Minors

Complement your primary undergraduate field of study with an undergraduate minor that allows you to more deeply explore another area beyond that of your major.

Choosing a Minor

You are asked to declare any minor no later than the deadline for your application to graduate, according to declaration procedures developed and monitored by the Registrar’s Office. Even after this point, you may change or drop your minor if your interests shift.

Special Requirements for Students Pursuing Minors

Students may not overlap (i.e., “double-count”) courses for completing multiple major and/or minor requirements, unless:

  • overlapping courses constitute introductory skill requirements (e.g., introductory math or a foreign language), such that the introductory course acts as a pre-requisite for further mastery in the subject, the introductory course is broadly accessible and does not require a prerequisite for enrollment; or
  • overlapping courses enable you to meet school requirements (e.g., for a major within the School of Engineering and a minor within or outside of the School of Engineering). Currently, only the School of Engineering has school requirements for its undergraduate majors.

To declare a minor, you must complete the Major Minor Course Approval Form and the Multiple Major Course Approval Form in Axess. You must indicate which courses you plan to apply toward each major and any minors. 

Departments must certify that your study plan meets all requirements for your majors and any minors without unallowable overlaps in coursework. If you cannot meet the requirements of majors and minors without overlaps, you may be required to change your majors and or minors to facilitate graduation. You should consult the Registrar’s Office for additional information. In addition, the Secondary Major information on this site may be relevant.

Note that you must submit the form to the Registrar’s Office by the application to graduate deadline for the term in which you intend to graduate.

Declaring a Minor

You can declare a minor in Axess. Submit your request to the department in which you want to pursue a minor. The department informs you of its decision on whether to accept you into the minor. You should contact the department directly to determine if you must fulfill any additional  requirements to process your minor declaration request.

The decision on a minor is important, but not irrevocable. You may change or drop your minor at any time in Axess.