Election of a Major
As indicated under the Requirements for the Degree (every student is entitled to file a choice of major after the beginning of the fourth term in residence and must do so by the end of his or her fifth term or, in some cases, immediately thereafter.)
Students in residence (R) during the winter term of their second year must file their major by the second Thursday of spring term, whether or not they will be in residence that term. As a practical matter, most students who will not be enrolled in the spring term must file the major before leaving at the end of the winter. Students not in residence in their second winter will be required to file their major by the last day of class in their next term of residence. Since no student is required to file a major before the end of the fifth term of enrollment (R, O, and X all being included) in a few cases the deadline for filing is delayed from that indicated above until the end of the fifth term of enrollment is reached. Any student who does not meet the deadline for filing the major will be ineligible to register for any subsequent residence term until a valid major is filed with the Office of the Registrar.
Early in the appropriate term, every student required to file a major completes three identical major cards, providing his or her name, the type and field of major, the specific courses chosen, and the approval (by signature) of the chair of the department or program (or other authorized faculty member designated by the chair). In filling out the card the student and faculty member must be careful to also list the courses that are prerequisite to the major. In the main section for the actual major courses, list exactly eight for a standard major (or nine or ten for one of the standard majors so requiring), or exactly ten for a modified major. One card is to be turned in at the Office of the Registrar; the others are for the student and the department/program. Note: Online major declaration planned for 2013; new information forthcoming.
Important Note: In working out your major with the department or program adviser you may find it necessary to modify your enrollment pattern (D-plan). If you do modify the pattern, be sure to alter your official enrollment pattern (D-plan) at the Office of the Registrar. It is the official enrollment pattern as filed with the Registrar and as displayed in BannerStudent, not what is listed on a major card or any other document, that certifies your actual enrollment pattern (D-plan).
Clearly, it takes a great deal of time and effort to work out a desirable major program, and the more individualized it is, the more thought, consultation, and possible committee action will be required. Be sure to become familiar with the descriptions in this Catalog. Highly structured standard majors, such as Engineering Sciences, and worthwhile individualized ones, although quite opposite in nature, are likely to require the earliest starts and most careful planning. Bear in mind that most advanced and many elementary courses are offered only once a year, and that quite a few are offered only every other year. As indicated earlier, it is to allow the careful planning especially needed for the Dartmouth Plan that this Catalog covers a two-year period.
Frequently students are reluctant to sign up for a major because they do not feel sure enough that they are ready to make a suitable choice. They should not worry unduly in this respect: what is necessary is to make a start. Many students change to another major; there is no penalty of any sort for making a change, but note that students may not change major (or type of major, including the addition of a second major) later than the first week of their last term in residence.
As indicated earlier in this Catalog, there are three main possibilities for majoring, namely, the Standard Major, the Modified Major, and the Special Major. You should be sure to review these descriptions. As suggested by the name, most students pursue a Standard Major as offered by most departments and programs.