Becoming a Major

There are many reasons for choosing a major discipline.  One, since we live in the 'real world', is earnings or income.  Check out this article for a take on this subject -- its conclusion points to liberal arts majors making as good a living -- or better -- than students with professional degrees.  Most students choose a major during the second semester of their sophomore year. Once you have completed 39 credits you may declare a major; declaration of a major becomes mandatory once 54 credits have been completed. If you arrive with transfer or AP credits check the undergraduate course catalog for more information. In any case, you should read through the information contained in the course catalog regarding "The Major" before you choose any major or contemplate adding a second major. Students must earn a minimum of 72 credits outside their major, so only 48 semester credits in anthropology may be applied toward the 120 credits required for a degree.

In order to become a major, anthropology students must submit a "Declaration of Major" form to the Office of the University Registrar located in Blow Hall. You can download this form here. The form must be signed by a departmental advisor. Ideally, this faculty member should be someone who can give you both general advice about navigating through the undergraduate curriculum and more specific advice about research, internships, and courses relating to your areas of interest.

When choosing an advisor:

  • Evaluate your own interests and goals. Are you drawn to certain kinds of topics? What kinds of things do you like to study? What would you like to learn more about? Do you have any doubts you'd like to clear up? The more you know about yourself, the more help your advisor will be able to offer.
  • Review the geographical, research and teaching interests of the different faculty. Don't discard the idea of choosing someone you've never studied with.
  • Pick up the Declaration of Major form from the office of Academic Advising in Ewell Hall. After your meeting with your advisor you will submit this to the registrar. Draft an ideal plan of coursework you would like to take during the remainder of your undergraduate career. You will need this to fill out the Declaration of Major form. Don't forget to think about study abroad and research and internship possibilities. Other relevant courses may include language courses.
  • Find out when a faculty member holds office hours and make an appointment. In addition, talk to as many other people as necessary, including faculty who may be able to act as "unofficial" advisors, graduate students in the department, and other undergraduates.

Sometimes the person you'd like to approach will be on research leave or absent for the semester. This shouldn't prevent you from signing on with another person as an advisor. You may change advisors without difficulty further down the road should you so choose. When a new advisor signs on, the old advisor is dropped automatically.