Majors and Minors

A major program, required of CAS BA 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 term 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 their 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 their 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. 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 units 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

The Departmental Majors

Majors available in the College of Arts & Sciences and their requirements are listed in the Programs section of this Bulletin.

The Independent Major

The independent major allows the student to design a course of study more suited to their 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 their diploma. Students may not apply for this program before the end of the first term 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 offered by CAS are found in the Programs section of this Bulletin.

For an up-to-date list of all minors open to CAS students, including those offered by other schools/colleges, visit the University’s Degree Programs website and click the “Undergraduate Minors” button.

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.