Declaring Your Major

When you join a department as a major, you have an opportunity to join a community that includes faculty, graduate students, post-docs, administrators and fellow undergraduates, all of whom can help you connect with the intellectual foundations of the discipline. Your major can provide a framework for exploring and choosing among opportunities that enhance your Duke education including studying abroad, mentored research, independent study, and other co-curricular experiences.  

Resources

You can declare your major any time during your sophomore year but no later than the Friday before mid-semester break during your fourth semester of enrollment. 

  • If your fourth semester at Duke is spring semester (as is for most students), the deadline to declare is the Friday before spring break. 
  • If your fourth semester at Duke is fall semester, the deadline to declare is the Friday before fall break.

If you haven’t declared a major by your deadline, the Academic Advising Center will send you an e-mail reminder to schedule an appointment with your college advisor and complete the declaration process as soon as possible. Students who remain undeclared will have a dean’s block placed on their registration and will not be able to enroll in classes for the following semester. Sophomores who have plans to study abroad or participate in DukeEngage in the summer or semester after the declaration deadline may become ineligible for their program if they fail to declare by the deadline.

If you are having problems that prevent you from declaring your major by the deadline, it is important that you contact your academic dean.

Once you have decided on a major, follow these steps to declare it:

  1. Begin on the Planning Tab, in DukeHub. This is where you’ll find your Advisement Report, Long Range Plan, What If report, and your Planner, to select future courses. The Long Range Plan and What If report are planning tools in which you identify the courses you expect to take during your remaining time at Duke.
  2. Complete the Long Range Plan. You’ll answer four questions about your future plans, reflect on your choice of major in a brief essay, and complete a brief survey about your pre-major advising experience.
  3. Add courses to your Planner. This is the most time consuming step. Select the courses you plan to take to satisfy all general education and major requirements and place them in your Planner. You will then assign these courses to the semesters you currently expect to take them. You’re probably not going to follow this plan exactly and that is okay. If you plan to study abroad in a Duke-in program, you can add the courses you expect to take. If you don’t know where you will be studying, or what will be offered, just enter courses for that semester as if you would be at Duke.
  4. Create your What If report. The What If report is a ‘hypothetical’ advisement report that shows what your advisement report would look like at the end of your senior year were you to follow your plan exactly. All requirements should show as completed, and you shouldn’t have any courses that are dated past your graduation semester. If you have trouble completing your What If report, the AAC peer advisors are happy to help.
  5. Meet with your advisor. Schedule a meeting with your college advisor to review your What If report and essay. They will confirm that the What If report is accurate and complete.
  6. Bring your signed essay and What If report to the Academic Advising Center. We will review and process them, and notify the Registrar and your major department(s).
  7. What if you change your mind? You can your major, and add minors and certificates at any time without having to redo your Long Range Plan. Instead, there is a simple form on the Registrar’s web site that you use to submit changes to your plan.

Trinity students may declare up to two majors. Students are cleared to enroll by the program or department of the first major. Students with two majors may also be assigned a faculty advisor for the second major. You should check with the appropriate director of undergraduate study (DUS) for details about advising for first and second majors.

In addition to a major, you may also choose to complete the requirements of a minor or certificate program, which will be noted on your Duke record and transcript. The total combination of plans (major, minor, certificate program) may not exceed three.

Once you have declared your major, you may change, add, or delete a major, minor, or certificate through the Office of the University Registrar.  A form is available online.  You don't have to submit another Long Range Plan to make changes to your program of study after your initial declaration.