Majors & Minors
One of the expectations of a liberal arts education is that the coursework in any major will give each student the skills needed to be successful in any number of diverse paths and careers.
Lewis & Clark offers 29 majors and 27 minors plus the option for a student designed major. All students are required to declare a major when they have reached 45 credits, but we recommend you declare as soon as you have an idea about what you might like to pursue. You can always change your mind if your interests change and declaring will put you in touch with faculty, students, staff, events, and opportunities that will help you test out if the major is right for you.
The choice of an academic major does not necessitate or even necessarily imply the choice of a future career, but instead represents a base for a range of future opportunities. Two students majoring in the same field may end up with markedly different careers; similarly, graduates with similar careers may have arrived at them by the route of very different majors.
Deadline For Declaring a Major
Students who have 45 credits must declare a major in order to register for classes the next semester. At the time students declare a major, they must also sign on with a faculty advisor in that department.
Choosing a Major
People usually find that they do their best work when they’re doing what they love. Likewise when students are passionate about their studies, they feel invested in them and enjoy doing their coursework. One effective way to find out what you love is to ask yourself, “Of all the courses I have taken in college and high school, which have I enjoyed most?” Using these answers as a guideline, go through the list of courses under each program of study in the catalog, marking those you would like to take. Check out the requirements for the major and read the descriptions of these courses as well.
You should also consult with your Pre-Major Faculty advisor and/or with you College Advisor. Find out their perspectives about the various departments and programs. You might also speak to juniors and seniors currently majoring in the field(s) you are considering. But the decision is ultimately yours.
Declaring a Major
To declare your major, print out the Major/Minor Declaration Form (PDF) or pick up the form from the Registrar’s Office in the Templeton Student Center. Take this form to a faculty member in the academic department(s) in which you want to major and ask him or her to be your Faculty Advisor. Complete the form, have your new Faculty Advisor sign it, and turn it in at the Registrar’s Office. You may change your major by meeting with a faculty member in your new major department and completing another Major/Minor Declaration Form.
Declaring a Minor
A minor enables students to explore an academic discipline or program in some depth. A student may declare up to two minors with the Major/Minor Declaration Form. Students must have an advisor for each minor and at least 12 credits must be exclusive to that minor.
Departmental and interdisciplinary majors tend to be the choice of most Lewis & Clark students, but some students who find the disciplinary boundaries of those 26 academic departments or programs to be too limiting, and who have clear ideas of their own about an alternative course of study, may design their own major.
A self-designed major focuses on a body of knowledge that has a definable character and extends beyond the boundaries of existing majors. The course of study for such a major must be carefully planned and must be submitted for approval before the major may be officially declared. This process is explained in detail in the Policies and Procedures section of the College Catalog for the year the student matriculated. Due to the unique nature of self-designed majors, students granted this option cannot also double major. However, students are free to work with faculty from multiple departments.
Checklist for Major/Minor Requirements
Major and minor requirements vary depending on the department or program.Graduation requirements listed in the catalog when you first enroll remain in force as long as you attend full time and make satisfactory progress toward graduation.
Number Of Courses To Be Taken In One’s Major Each Semester
Many, although not all, of the majors at Lewis & Clark require a minimum of ten courses. It is often advisable to limit yourself to two courses per semester in one department. If you have taken two courses in your major by the end of the sophomore year, you will theoretically have four more semesters to take the remaining eight courses. One variable that should be taken into account is whether you plan to study on an overseas or off-campus program for a semester or two.
Pre-Health Sciences, Pre-Engineering, and Pre-Law programs
Although not majors, these academic programs have course track offerings at Lewis & Clark. Students planning to pursue careers in these fields select a major from the existing majors and focus on those specific aspects they wish to study. The following faculty are available to students interested in these fields:
Pre-health sciences: Dr. Todd Watson, Psychology (email@example.com) or the Premed website.
- An overview of recommended coursework can be found here.
- Pre-engineering: Dr. Stephen Tufte, Physics (firstname.lastname@example.org) or read about the L&C “3-2 Program.”
- Pre-law: Samir Parikh, Associate Professor of Law (email@example.com) 503-768-6979 or the Pre-law website.