Undergraduate Degree Definitions & Credit Overlap Policies

Approved by the University Council October 15, 2014; effective October 15, 2014

Major: Coherent primary program within an academic discipline or interdisciplinary subject area, generally comprised of at least nine 4-credit courses. Individual schools and colleges establish the upper limit of courses required for a particular major. The major appears on both the diploma and the transcript.

Minor: Focused area of study not necessarily related to the major and may be completed in another school or college. Minors are generally comprised of five to seven 4-credit courses. Twelve credits must be unique to the minor and may not count toward the fulfillment of majors or additional minors. The minor appears only on the transcript.

Concentration: Focus within or complementary to an approved major field of study. Students may have more than one concentration. The concentration does not appear on the diploma; it appears only on the transcript. A concentration differs from a specialization in that it can reside within one or across several major fields of study. The term subconcentration will no longer be used.

Specialization: A formally recognized group of interrelated courses within a major field. A specialization differs from a concentration in that it is embedded within one specific major, providing students with a more in-depth exploration of a focused topic than can be covered in a few individually selected courses. The specialization appears as part of the major field and so is reflected on the diploma and transcript. 

Track: A variation of degree requirements pertaining to an academic pathway, e.g., licensure tracks within the Wheelock College of Education & Human Development. This is used heavily in Degree Advice but is not represented on either the transcript or diploma.

Joint Major: A joint major is an interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary curriculum offered by two departments. These departments may be in the same academic unit or across schools and colleges.