Thursday, February 21, 2013

Restricted major? Open Major? HUH?

Over the next few weeks you'll be noticing lots of posts about majors holding information sessions and reminders about declaration deadlines.  Some majors at UMass are restricted, which means they may require an application, specific courses, and/or minimum grade point averages before you can be accepted to them.  For example, the BBA programs and Public Health are both departments that require an application and minimum GPA.  Another example is Economics, which requires minimum grades in specific courses before students can sign in.  Admissions into restricted majors is not guaranteed if you do not meet the specified requirements.

Some majors, while not restricted in terms of who can declare, are restricted in terms of when students can declare   In other words, they only allow you to to sign into the major during certain times--this could mean certain date ranges in the semester or certain days/times each week.  So, for example, if you want to major in Sociology, you must declare by March 15th, otherwise you'll have to wait until next semester.

Other majors are completely open, meaning you can declare at any point in the semester or your academic career, without having to complete specific courses, applications.

Why does this matter?  Well, in many cases, departments restrict several upper-level classes to majors only, so even though the major might not be restricted, many of the classes will be.  It's important to know this before you begin registering for fall classes so you can plan accordingly and, if possible, declare or apply to a major you want to explore further prior to your Enrollment Appointment.  Also, if you are looking at a restricted major, it is important to work on a back-up plan now, in case you are not accepted.  Pursuing a back-up plan early will ensure you can still graduate on time.  If you get accepted to your first-choice restricted major, you can always make your back-up plan a minor (or even secondary major) instead.

The bottom line is not every major can be declared in the same way,  Make sure you know the process for declaring any major you have on your radar.  If you're not sure, now is a great time to come see an advisor before the registration rush gets underway!

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