Majors and Minors

A major program, required of degree candidates, is planned to provide significant understanding and skills in an area of the student’s choice. This requirement is normally fulfilled through one of the existing departmental or interdepartmental major programs. In certain cases, it may be met by an independent major planned in consultation with two advisors and approved by the independent major and minor advisor in CAS Academic Advising.

Departmental and interdepartmental majors may be elected as early as the first semester of freshman year or as late as registration for junior year. Early election of a major permits maximum coherence between a major and those courses related to it, and ordinarily does not seriously restrict a student who wishes to change his or her major within the first two years. Later election of a major permits a broader base in the various fields of knowledge from among which a major may be chosen. A student must complete at least four principal courses in his or her major in the College of Arts & Sciences; some departments may require more.

Students should study carefully the programs and requirements of the majors in which they are interested and consult with their advisor in planning their overall program. Students expecting to major in a foreign language, mathematics, or a science are advised to elect a major as early as possible. To declare a major, the student must file a Major/Minor Declaration/Change form.

To qualify for a double major, a student may use no more than five principal or required related courses from a given major toward another major. A student wishing to take a minor may use no more than two courses from a major to fulfill the requirements for a minor. Also, no more than two courses from one minor may count toward the fulfillment of a second minor. A minimum of 12 credits must be unique to any minor and may not count toward the fulfillment of majors or other minors. These restrictions on the number of courses that may be counted toward two majors or minors do not apply to prerequisite courses.

Departmental and Interdepartmental Majors

Majors available in the College of Arts & Sciences are listed below, along with the divisions to which each major corresponds: HU, humanities; MCS, mathematics and computer science; NS, natural sciences; SS, social sciences. Requirements are given in the Programs sections of this Bulletin. Students expecting to teach in elementary or secondary schools should refer to the School of Education.

Available Majors

  • American Studies (SS)
  • Ancient Greek (HU)
  • Ancient Greek & Latin (HU)
  • Anthropology (SS)
  • Anthropology & Religion (SS or HU)
  • Archaeology (SS)
  • Architectural Studies (HU)
  • Asian Studies (usually SS)
  • Astronomy (NS)
  • Astronomy & Physics (NS)
  • Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (NS)
  • Biology (NS)
  • Biology with Specialization in Behavioral Biology (NS)
  • Biology with Specialization in Cell Biology, Molecular Biology & Genetics (NS)
  • Biology with Specialization in Ecology & Conservation Biology (NS)
  • Biology with Specialization in Neurobiology (NS)
  • Chemistry A (intensive) (NS)
  • Chemistry B (NS)
  • Chemistry: Biochemistry (NS)
  • Chemistry, Teaching of (NS)
  • Chinese Language & Literature (HU)
  • Cinema & Media Studies (HU)
  • Classical Civilization (HU)
  • Classics & Philosophy (HU)
  • Classics & Religion (HU)
  • Comparative Literature (HU)
  • Computer Science (MCS)
  • Earth & Environmental Sciences (NS)
  • Economics (SS)
  • Economics & Mathematics (SS or MCS)
  • English (HU)
  • Environmental Analysis & Policy (SS)
  • European Studies (usually SS)
  • French Studies (HU)
  • French & Linguistics (HU)
  • Geophysics & Planetary Sciences (NS)
  • German Language & Literature (HU)
  • History (SS)
  • History of Art & Architecture (HU)
  • Independent Major
  • International Relations (SS)
  • Italian Studies (HU)
  • Italian & Linguistics (HU)
  • Japanese Language & Literature (HU)
  • Japanese & Linguistics (HU)
  • Latin (HU)
  • Latin American Studies (usually SS)
  • Linguistics (HU)
  • Linguistics & Philosophy (HU)
  • Linguistics & Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences (HU)
  • Marine Science (NS)
  • Mathematics (including Statistics) (MCS)
  • Mathematics & Computer Science (MCS)
  • Mathematics & Mathematics Education (MCS)
  • Mathematics & Philosophy (MCS or HU)
  • Medical Science (Seven-Year Liberal Arts/Medical Education Program) (NS)
  • Middle East & North Africa Studies (usually HU)
  • Music (nonperformance) (HU)
  • Neuroscience (NS)
  • Philosophy (HU)
  • Philosophy & Neuroscience (HU or NS)
  • Philosophy & Physics (HU or NS)
  • Philosophy & Political Science (HU or SS)
  • Philosophy & Psychology (HU or SS)
  • Philosophy & Religion (HU)
  • Physics (NS)
  • Political Science (SS)
  • Psychology (SS)
  • Religion (HU)
  • Russian Language & Literature (HU)
  • Sociology (SS)
  • Spanish (HU)
  • Spanish & Linguistics (HU)


The Independent Major

The independent major allows the student to design a course of study more suited to his or her interests and goals than those regularly offered. The student plans, with the consultation and approval of two faculty members of the student’s choice, a program of related courses focusing on a central theme or area of concern. If the proposal is approved, the independent program of study becomes the student’s major and appears as such on his or her diploma. Students may not apply for this program before the end of the first semester of their freshman year. They should apply before registration for the junior year, although transfer students entering at that time may also apply. In no case may a student pursue an independent major without approval from the independent major advisor. Information and applications are available in CAS Academic Advising.


A minor is not required for the BA but is available for students desiring a systematic introduction to a field in addition to the major. A minimum of two courses toward any minor offered by a CAS department or program must be taken in the College; some departments may require more. All minor programs offered in BU’s undergraduate schools and colleges, including the undergraduate professional schools at BU, are available to CAS students. Links to requirements for minors are found in the Programs section of this Bulletin. Students should consult the department’s or school’s minor advisor or, for an independent minor, the independent minor advisor in CAS Academic Advising. To declare a minor, a student must file a Major/Minor Declaration/Change form.

Available Minors

For an up-to-date list of minors open to all CAS students, visit the University’s Degree Programs website and click the “Undergraduate Minors” button.