Degree Progress: Major/Minor Tracking

Tracking Progress to the Degree:

  • Completion of majors and minors is tracked in Degree Progress (part of Polaris) to assist you and your advisors in creating course selection plans that will assure you stay on target to finish the degree. Please note, this is a tool that is available to help with course selection and advising. It does not replace the official transcript, nor should it be viewed as a certification of a major or minor.
  • Each department or program specifies the requirements for its majors and minors, and determines when those requirements have been met. Students with questions about how courses will count towards a major or minor, or if courses may count for more than one major or minor, should consult with the particular department(s).
  • Students are responsible for tracking their own degree progress at Bowdoin.The Office of the Registrar reviews degree progress after course registration for a student’s last semester is finalized. No student should wait until the last minute to review his/her degree progress with an academic advisor because additional coursework may be required. Students will generally receive written notice by May 1 in their last spring semester that they have been given preliminary clearance to graduate. Final clearance is determined after final grades for the spring semester have been received and all academic work has been completed.
  • Students may take part in only one Commencement, and they are normally expected to complete all degree requirements before they participate in graduation exercises. Students with two or fewer credits remaining and who can expect to complete all requirements by the end of the following August may be allowed to participate in Commencement but will not receive a diploma. In such cases, the degree will actually be conferred at the May Commencement following the completion of all requirements, and the diploma will be mailed to the student at that time. Speakers at Commencement and other students playing visible leadership roles in the ceremony must have completed all requirements for graduation.

Some tips to help you as you navigate Degree Progress:

  • To access this tool, click on the “Degree Progress” link in the Academic Profile portal on your page in Polaris. You can also access Degree Progress directly.
  • The tracking of major and/or minor requirements will appear at the top of the degree record, along with the division and distribution requirements. Any courses that are being used to fulfill general requirements will be listed at the bottom of the page under “Additional Courses”;
  • Any requirement fulfilled by a course other than the standard list (for example, a course taken during a study away experience that will count as an elective towards a major or minor) will need to be entered into the system by the Office of the Registrar as an exception. Chairs can provide exceptions to us via a web form; please confer with the department or program to have this done. If a course taken away is being counted to the major or minor, please wait until it appears as general credit on your Polaris record before the department or program chair or director submits the exception form;
  • There is a “What If” function on the left hand navigation bar. This allows you or your advisor to see what kind of a progress you have made towards an undeclared major, minor or concentration. To use this, click “What if”, choose the new major, minor or concentration, and then click “Process What-If” at the top of the page. This will match up your record to the requirements of the major or minor you chose, but doesn’t stand in for an official declaration.  For this, you will still need to use a Major/Minor Change form;
  • If you find something that looks inaccurate, please call (207-725-3521) or email us ( so we can look into the issue.
  • Students are responsible for tracking their own degree progress.