Office of the Registrar
Campus Address
Hanover, NH
Phone: (603) 646-xxxx
Fax: (603) 646-xxxx
Email: reg@Dartmouth.EDU

Organization, Regulations, and Courses 2022-23

Modified Major

Departments and Programs may offer modified majors, intended to fit the needs of students who have a definite interest in the major department/program but are also interested in some specific problem or topic, the study of which depends on courses in related fields.

A modified major contains ten courses, six in one field and four in a second field or perhaps in more than one area. It should be planned as a unified, coherent whole, and not consist of a series of unrelated courses. Students must submit a statement to the primary department or program and to the Registrar, explaining their rationale for the courses selected for the modified major. (For those modified majors where the department/program has listed all of the required courses, no rationale need be submitted to the Registrar.) Each department or program sets its own prerequisite and prescribed courses for a Modified Major, within the limit described above, and in greater detail in the following paragraphs. Courses which form part of a modified major are subject to the same requirements described in the section ‘Standard Department Major’ described previously; they must serve in satisfaction of a major in the department or program offering the course unless specifically listed in this Catalog as suitable for a modified major. The Registrar may refuse to accept a modified major that does not meet the ‘unified and coherent’ requirement. If the issue cannot be resolved between the Registrar and the department(s) or programs(s) concerned, it will go to the Committee on Instruction for decision.

The primary part of the major must consist of six courses in a single major-offering department/program (e.g., English, Biology, History, Comparative Literature). The secondary part must consist of four courses, none of which may bear the same department/program title as that of the primary part. (Exception: when a department or program offers officially distinct subjects, as indicated by differing names, an internal modified major may be constructed, e.g., six French and four Italian courses [or the converse].) Furthermore, there will always be at least one course prerequisite to the primary part and normally one or two prerequisites to the secondary part. In case the primary department/program has no prerequisites for its standard major, seven courses are required in the primary part of a modified major.

If a student desires a modified major consisting of the necessary primary part with six courses from one department or program and four courses that are not from a single department or program as the second part, the major requires the approval of the chair (or approved faculty delegate) of the primary department/program only. There is no direct advantage to securing a second approval. When a student completes the major, it will be entered in the permanent record as, for instance, ‘Psychology Modified,’ with no indication of the second part appearing. This is Modified Major "type B."

It is also possible for a student to arrange a Modified Major that will receive full recognition. The student works with one major-offering department/program as the primary and another as the secondary.  A non-major-offering department/program may also serve as the secondary field. The major plan must show six courses (plus prerequisites) in the primary field (standing for department or program) and four courses (plus prerequisites) in the secondary field. The various prerequisite courses should be identified. The primary field, as noted, must be a department or program authorized to offer a major; the plan will require the approval of the chair (or faculty delegate) of this department or program indicating specific and overall approval. The plan will also require the approval of the chair (or faculty delegate) for the secondary department or program, again indicating specific and overall approval. Both faculty members, in approving the plan, indicate that the resulting major is an intellectually integrated package; it must not be a ‘major’ and a ‘minor’ with little or no relationship between the two fields. When such a major has been completed, the final records will show a major for, say, ‘History Modified with Economics,’ or ‘English Modified with Women’s Studies.’  This is Modified Major "type A." Please note that a student might take exactly the same courses, but not have the approval by the secondary department or program; if so, the major would be recorded as ‘History Modified’ or ‘English Modified.’

In other respects a modified major is like a standard one. A student may or may not carry out an Honors Program, the potential results being wholly similar. Please be sure to consult the last paragraph of the previous ‘Standard Departmental Major’ section and the Registrar's website for directions on declaring a major.