Major/Minor Declaration & Changes

Initial Declaration Process

Students should have ample time to be exposed to a broad range of courses and experiences before focusing their educational interests and so do not declare their majors until the fourth semester of their college enrollment. Students may choose from six basic patterns to satisfy the major requirement: 

Reference the Bowdoin College Catalogue and Academic Handbook for the list of major/minor options.

Normally, students are required to declare their majors before registering for courses for the junior year or applying to participate in junior- or senior-year off-campus study programs. Students are approved to declare their majors only after consultation with the major/minor department. Each department/program approaches this process differently and eligible students should contact the department/program directly with any questions about the approval process. Since some departments have courses that must be passed or criteria that must be met before a student will be accepted as a major, students are encouraged to think well in advance about possible majors and to speak with faculty about their educational interests.
  • Eligible students are sent an "Intended Major/Minor Declaration Form," via email and submit their desired major/minor by the posted deadline.
  • The list of intended majors/minors is then sent to departments/programs for approval and only those approved to declare are processed.
  • After all approved declarations are posted in Polaris, the academic department coordinators enter the major/minor assignments by the posted deadline.
  • Students are expected to reach out to their newly assigned major advisor to meet and discuss their plans for course registration and completing the degree as soon as possible since course registration begins the week following the advisor entry deadline. 

Changing a Declared Major/Minor

Students who want to add a new major/minor should email a faculty member in the department/program, discuss their goals, and request that the faculty member email with their approval.

  • The faculty member will not have access to the student's course information until declared, so the student will need to outline the courses they have already taken.
  • Students who only want to drop a major or minor with no additions, can email (no approval is required as long as the student still has one major).
  • The Registrar’s Office will processes major/minor change requests on a rolling basis and notifies the academic department coordinators when students make changes so that major/minor advisor assignments can be adjusted. 

Students may change their majors and minor as many times as necessary, after consultation with the relevant academic departments/programs, but they may not declare a new major or minor after the first semester of the senior year. 

Students hoping to adjust major/minor declarations in time for course registration should be aware that those approvals must be sent to the Registrar's Office as soon as possible but no later than two days before the end of Round 1 of course registration. Approvals received after that time will not take effect until the next round of registration. 

Coming soon: an electronic Major/Minor Change Form!