Declaring a Major
Each school within Northwestern University has its own procedures that direct students how to declare a major. To understand how you should declare a major, read the information that pertains to the school in which you are enrolled. If you are declaring a second major outside of the school in which you are enrolled, follow the procedures that pertain to the school that oversees the major's department or program.
- Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences (WCAS)
- School of Education and Social Policy (SESP)
- McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science (MEAS)
- Medill School of Journalism
- Henry and Leigh Bienen School of Music
- School of Communication
As a student within the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, you must declare your major by the end of your sophomore year. You should meet with the director of undergraduate studies or a designated adviser in your chosen academic discipline and discuss a plan of study for the major. At your initial meeting with a departmental adviser, a course plan is developed and a Declaration of Major form is completed and submitted to your departmental adviser. Thereafter, you should arrange to meet quarterly with an adviser in your major department to review your progress.
For more information about how to declare a major, please contact:
WCAS Office of Undergraduate Studies and Advising
- 1922 Sheridan Road
- email: email@example.com
- phone: (847) 491-7560
WCAS Advising Office
- 1908 Sheridan Road
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- phone: (847) 491-8916
As a student within the School of Education and Social Policy, you are assigned a staff adviser within your chosen concentration. You will meet with your adviser during New Student Week and at least once each quarter throughout your Northwestern academic career to determine your concentration requirements and register for courses in the school. The majority of students currently enrolled in the School of Education and Social Policy have transferred from other schools within the University. The interschool transfer process, in part, consists of meeting with an academic adviser from the School of Education and Social Policy to evaluate the fit between your interests and the four concentrations offered by the school.
For more information about how to choose and declare a concentration, please contact:
SESP Office of Student Affairs
- Annenberg Hall 123
- email: email@example.com
- phone: (847) 491-3790
Entering McCormick freshmen are assigned faculty advisers before arriving on campus and are required to meet with them during New Student Week. Freshmen are also assigned peer student advisers. An initial selection of a field of engineering study, or major, normally should be made by the end of your freshman year. Some students designate a major field of study when they enter school. Others will take advantage of the freshman year of common studies to gather information and experience on which to base a selection. Freshmen who haven't already declared their major, or who wish to change it, should use the Freshman Declaration of Major form available in Tech L269. To declare a major after your freshman year, you should use the Memo of Inter-departmental Transfer that is available in Tech L269. Students will meet with their adviser at least once each quarter to develop a plan of course work for the ensuing quarter. Further meetings may be necessary to explain curricular objectives and to confirm or change decisions regarding course selection.
For more information about how to select a field of engineering study, please contact:
Office of Undergraduate Engineering
- Technological Institute L268
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- phone: (847) 491-7379
During New Student Week, Medill freshmen are assigned faculty advisers. You and your faculty adviser meet during the week in groups and individually to discuss the curriculum, Medill's academic philosophy, and how to register for courses. Your faculty adviser also reviews fall-quarter course choices and programs with you individually. You also meet with your adviser before registering for winter and spring quarter freshmen-year classes. Also, each Medill student has a mail slot in Fisk Hall, where registration instructions are placed each quarter. Your adviser and other Medill faculty can offer valuable counsel throughout your undergraduate years. Other sources available to you at Medill for advice and information include the offices of the dean, director of undergraduate studies, student records/services, and the placement center.
For more information about Medill's undergraduate degree in journalism, contact:
Medill School of Journalism
- Fisk Hall
- email: email@example.com
- Phone: (847) 491-3586
Freshmen entering the School of Music are assigned a faculty adviser to help you develop a plan of study. Your adviser will meet with you during New Student Week and throughout the year. You should meet with your adviser at least quarterly to discuss your academic progress. Your adviser must sign your registration form before you will be allowed to register for courses each quarter.
During the Fall or Winter quarter of your sophomore year you must indicate your choice of major by completing an Intent to Major form, available from the Undergraduate Studies Office, room 110, in the Music Administration Building. Majors include music composition, music education, musicology, music technology, music theory, general academic studies, and performance. After you turn in your Intent to Major form, the Undergraduate Studies Office completes a Petition for Declaration of Major form. Thereafter, you will have an interview or jury audition for your desired major. If you wish to pursue a performance major, you must perform successfully before a faculty jury by the spring quarter of your sophomore year. Incoming students, including transfer students, should discuss the performance expectations for their major with their performance instructor during the first year of study.
The decision to accept or reject your Petition for Declaration of Major is based on the program or department's recommendation. Rejected students explore other options in consultation with the Assistant Dean and/or the department chair or program coordinator. Accepted students receive written approval of their acceptance from the Assistant Dean. This process must be completed before advance registration for Fall quarter of your junior year. Students are admitted to the bachelor of arts/bachelor of music program by application before they enter as freshmen. Occasionally, places become available to upper-class students; interested students should contact the undergraduate office. Copies of the School of Music Undergraduate Student Handbook are available in the undergraduate office.
Music Undergraduate Office
- Music Administration Building 110
- e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- phone: (847) 491-7575
Students in the School of Communication are assigned a faculty adviser in their chosen major field in the school. This adviser is available for consultation, especially to plan for course registration. Freshmen are assigned advisers during New Student Week. Your faculty adviser will help you plan a program to integrate major and non-major courses. Distribution requirements are structured to allow you to plan a program that is unique to your needs. While School of Communication students must take a minimum number of distribution requirement courses in three areas, there are no specific course requirements. Together with your adviser, you may choose the courses for distribution that best complement your major.
Communications majors may request a change of adviser at any time and are always welcome to come to the office of the associate dean for undergraduate affairs for counseling about academic programs.
School of Communication
Office of the Director for Undergraduate Advising
- Frances Searle #1-106
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Phone: (847) 491-7214