Majors, Minors, and Certificates

Minors | Certificates

Declaring or changing a major

You must declare a major by the time you earn 72 semester hours. If you have not done so by the time you have earned 72 s.h., you will not be permitted to register for additional coursework until you have declared a major. 

The College makes very limited exceptions to this rule. Transfer students entering the College with 72 or more semester hours, students re-entering after dismissal, and students re-entering after more than a year since their last enrollment may be given individual exemptions by the College which are noted at the time of admission or reinstatement.

Keep in mind that advising codes such pre-business, a nursing interest, or pre-medicine, for example, are not majors but an indication of your interest in a professional field in order for you to receive advising about this area of interest. (For a list of these areas, see below.)

Students who have declared at least one major by the time they have earned 72 semester hours may still keep an "interest" or “pre-” designation in order to receive advising from an expert in this field of study.

Some majors are selective and have limited enrollment, requiring an application and acceptance by the program before you may declare the major. Be sure to talk to your advisor to find out more about the application process so that you have been accepted into a major or declared another major before you have earned 72 semester hours. (See below for a list of these selective programs.)

In many cases, it is simple to declare or change a major.

  • Students advised at the Academic Advising Center (C210 Pomerantz Center) may declare or change majors in that office.
  • Students with a declared major in a CLAS department may declare or change majors in Academic Programs & Student Development, 120 Schaeffer Hall. Students usually are assigned an advisor when the major is declared; in some cases, students visit with the departmental office of the major to ask for or change advisors.
  • Students with a declared major in CLAS seeking advice about declaring a second major, changing a major, or adding a "pre" or "interest" advising code are welcome to visit with the Academic Advising Center through the Advisor on Call service. Students also may visit with staff in 120 Schaeffer Hall.

If the requirements for your chosen major or academic program change after you have declared a major or program, you will not be required to complete the new requirements. Your degree audit will reflect the requirements that were in place when you declared your major or program. Students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who wish to change a degree audit to reflect new requirements should contact Academic Programs and Student Development, 120 Schaeffer Hall. Whenever a major or academic program is revised, the new requirements appear in the next edition of the General Catalog.

Declaring your intention to complete a certificate
Declaring or changing a minor
View rules about maximum credit hours from one department
View graduation requirements

Four-year graduation plan

Nearly all students who enter the University as first-year students are automatically eligible for the University’s Four-Year Graduation Plan. Students who fulfill the Student Responsibilities outlined in the plan have a commitment from the University of Iowa that they will be able to enroll in the courses they need to graduate in their primary major in four years.  

Undergraduate majors and minors offered by CLAS

View list of CLAS majors
View list of CLAS minors

Specific requirements for majors, minors, and certificates are listed in the General Catalog.

The “open” major

The open major is not an actual major. It is a designation that applies to all students until they declare a major and is used to facilitate discussions between advisors and students about potential majors. All open majors are advised in the Academic Advising Center until declaring a major. Students must declare a specific major by the time they have earned 72 semester hours. (For exceptions, see Declaring a major, above).

Declaring a “pre-” major

If you declare an interest in exploring a course of study in business, dentistry, law, medicine, physical therapy, or a professional program such as chiropractic, mortuary science, optometry, podiatry, or veterinary medicine, you will be given a “pre-” designation in order to help your advisor know your interest. Most advising for these areas occurs in the Academic Advising Center. A “pre-” major does not imply acceptance into a particular program. Consult the General Catalog or an advising in the Academic Advising Center for specific program requirements.

Declaring “interest” before you apply to a program

If you are interested in one of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences selective or limited admission majors or programs listed below, you may request to be designated as having an “interest” in such a program before actually being admitted to it.  The "interest" designation does not imply that you have been accepted into a particular program or major but merely signals to your academic advisor that you have an interest in it, so that he or she can better prepare to discuss its requirements with you.

In most cases, "interest" designations can no longer be used after a student has earned 72 semester hours. At that point, the student must choose an actual major. (See the exceptions for the “pre-” designation, above.)

Remember that admission to these majors or programs requires an additional application (or audition) with possible additional requirements. Advice from an advisor and timely application to the major or program of choice is essential, as these programs are competitive.

Specific requirements for each program may be found in the General Catalog. For more information, contact your advisor.

Selective or limited admission majors or programs

Students  admitted to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are not guaranteed admission to all programs or majors in the College nor are they guaranteed admission to other colleges at the University of Iowa or to those programs or majors.

The following are selective or limited admission programs within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, requiring a separate application or the fulfillment of admission requirements before acceptance. Students are encouraged to meet frequently with an advisor in order to understand the prerequisites and the admission process for these majors.

  • Actuarial Science
  • Athletic Training
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Dance
  • Interdepartmental Studies, Engaged Social Innovation Track
  • Music
  • Social Work
  • Therapeutic Recreation

The following are selective or limited admission programs in other colleges at the University of Iowa:

  • Business
  • Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Engineering
  • Medical Laboratory Sciences
  • Nuclear Medicine Technology
  • Nursing
  • Pharmacy
  • Public Health
  • Radiation Sciences

Please consult the General Catalog and Academic Advising Center for specific requirements for all majors and programs requiring an application.

If you want to declare a major or earn an undergraduate degree in another college at the University (such as the Tippie College of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, or the College of Public Health), you must be admitted to that college and to the major or program.

Likewise, those students who wish to earn a BA or BS in elementary education or to add a secondary education teaching license to their CLAS degree must be admitted to the teacher education program (TEP) in the College of Education. Interested students should visit with an advisor in the appropriate college or with an advisor at the Academic Advising Center.

Earning two or more majors

You may earn a single bachelor's degree with two or more majors as long as you meet the requirements for each major. For example, you may earn a BA with a double major in history and English. Similarly, you could earn a BS with a double major in psychology and sociology. (Students wishing to earn two different degrees such as a BS and a BA should read Earning multiple undergraduate degrees.)

When a single department offers more than one major (such as the Department of Physics and Astronomy, which offers majors in applied physics, astronomy, and physics), a student may earn more than one major from the department.

Returning to earn additional majors

If you have already earned a BA or BS degree from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and are not currently enrolled in a graduate or professional program, you are permitted to complete the requirements for another major that offers the same degree or to complete the requirements for a second major developed from a previously earned minor. To do this, apply for admission to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, declare the appropriate major on your application, and register as a senior.

If you would like to earn a new major in a field that offers a degree different from the one you have already earned (e.g., a BS if you already have a BA), you may return for a second degree (see Earning multiple undergraduate degrees).

Students who return to the College to complete another major must meet only the requirements of that major; they do not need to satisfy the residence requirements or the General Education requirements for a second time.

It is your responsibility to apply to Graduation Analysis upon completion of the requirements for an additional major so that the completion of that major may be placed on the permanent record.

Returning students may not use graduate credit earned at another institution towards a University of Iowa bachelor's degree.

Students who hold a bachelor's degree from another college or university may not complete a second major at The University of Iowa. Instead, they may apply to earn a second degree (see Earning multiple undergraduate degrees).

Certificates

Many CLAS students choose to add one or more certificate programs to their plan of study in order to enrich their academic program and broaden their opportunities for post-graduation employment or graduate study. CLAS students may complete certificate programs within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences or within other UI colleges, just as students within other UI colleges may complete CLAS certificates. All certificates are interdisciplinary and draw on courses offered by at least three different departments or programs.

When considering a certificate, please note:

  • You cannot complete a certificate program in the same area as your major, but you can use the same courses to complete majors, minors, and certificates, and to complete the General Education Program. However, departments and programs may limit “multiple counting” for their own majors, minors, and certificates. Check with your advisor and with the department or program offering the certificate before planning a course of study.
  • You must earn a grade point average of at least 2.00 in all work attempted as part of the certificate. No course taken pass/non-pass may be used as part of a certificate. Courses graded S/F may be used at the discretion of the offering department or program.
  • Undergraduate students may earn a CLAS certificate without earning a degree; this applies to both on-campus students and to distant learners. Students who have earned a certificate and want that notation to appear on the transcript without the degree completed must ask the Registrar to review the completion of the certificate's requirements so that it may be added to the transcript.

To declare your intention to complete a certificate, you may visit the Office of Academic Programs & Student Development. This office also will direct you to an appropriate advisor. Most certificates also may be declared on MyUI under Student Information, Programs of Study. Declaring a certificate will allow you to request a degree audit for the certificate on MyUI.

If you have already earned a bachelor’s degree, are not enrolled in a graduate or professional program, and wish to complete a CLAS undergraduate certificate, you must enroll as a post-baccalaureate student.

Certificates offered

View list of certificates offered by CLAS and other colleges

Each academic unit offering a minor or certificate determines the specific requirements for that certificate. For these requirements, contact the department or program, click the links above, or visit the General Catalog. To inquire about transfer coursework or credit by examination, contact the department or program offering the certificate. 

If the requirements for a certificate change after you have declared it, you will not be held to the new requirements (as long as you complete the certificate by the deadline).

Minors

Minors are another optional addition to a degree. A minor may relate directly to your major(s) or may reflect your interest in an area entirely different and separate from your major(s). Minors require fewer hours and have fewer requirements than majors or certificates. Some minors are interdisciplinary, drawing on courses from a number of different departments and programs, while others are offered by a single department or program. When a single department offers more than one minor, you may earn more than one minor from that department.

To declare or change a minor, go to the Programs of Study page under Student Information on MyUI or visit the Office of Academic Programs & Student Development, 120 Schaeffer Hall. Declaring a minor will allow you to request a degree audit for the minor on MyUI.

If you have already earned a CLAS degree but are not currently enrolled in a graduate or professional program, you may return to earn a minor (consult Admissions).

For a list of CLAS minors offered, see Undergraduate Minors Awarded by CLAS. In addition to the minors listed above, students may also earn

For the curricular requirements of a minor, contact the department or program or visit the General Catalog. To inquire about transfer coursework or credit by examination, contact the department or program offering the minor. 

When considering a minor, please note these important policies:

  • A degree may not include a major and a minor in the same area (e.g., you cannot earn a BS in psychology with a minor in psychology).
  • A degree may not include two minors in the same area.
  • A degree may not include a minor and a certificate in the same area.
  • The fact that MyUI allows you to declare a particular minor does not mean that it is valid with your major (see rules above).
  • If you declare a minor, and then declare or change your major, it is possible for your minor to become invalid if it violates one of the rules above. (For example, if you declare a minor in English and later declare English as a major, your minor in English will become invalid.)
  • If the requirements for a minor change after you have declared it, you will not be held to the new requirements. The degree audit is based on the requirements in place when a student declares any given academic program.
  • You may use the same courses to complete majors, minors, and certificates, and to complete the General Education Program. However, departments and programs may limit “multiple counting” for their own majors, minors, and certificates. Students should check with an advisor and with the department or program offering the minor before planning a course of study.
  • You must earn a grade point average of at least 2.00 in all work attempted as part of the minor.
  • No course taken pass/nonpass may be used as part of a minor. Courses graded S/F may be used at the discretion of the offering department or program.

In order for your minor to be officially included on your official record (transcript), you must

  1. Review your degree audit with your advisor or with the department or program offering the minor to make sure that you have completed all the requirements
  2. File a degree application on MyUI, indicating that you have completed a minor.