Understanding Majors and Minors

The Major

Bachelor degree candidates must choose a department of instruction in which they will undertake a major program of study. Incoming students may declare a major at the point of matriculation. All students must declare their major by the completion of 45 credit hours, including transfer credits. After the completion of 45 credit hours, or two semesters at John Carroll, students will meet with their major advisor and/or department chair to discuss their academic progress in the major. This meeting will typically occur in the spring semester of their second year before the Registration period for the upcoming fall term. Students with junior class standing who do not have a declared major will receive a registration hold, which they can resolve by making an academic plan for major declaration in consultation with the Office of Academic Success, the Boler College of Business Dean’s Office, or the intended major department. In addition, students must have a declared major before they can add additional programs of study, such as a minor.

For timely degree completion, students planning to declare science, business, or education majors should start taking courses in those areas in the first year. Declared majors are guided in the selection of their courses in their program by the department chair or an advisor appointed by the chair.

Continuation in some majors requires the successful completion of particular courses and a minimum grade point average. Specific major requirements are described in the Bulletin's department sections. Departments will monitor students' academic progress in their majors. Students not meeting program requirements or showing an academic deficiency in the major may be placed on a probationary status or removed from the major. For students declaring after matriculation, departments may assign a conditional admission status or deny a student as a major who has not met program admission requirements at the 45-credit hour mark or who has shown continued academic deficiency in the major. Students who have been denied entrance into a major or who have been removed from it are not permitted to register for major courses. These students must establish an academic plan for a new major in consultation with the department of the intending major, the Academic Success Center, or the Boler College of Business Dean’s Office.

Students who do not declare a major at matriculation, or who want to change majors, must complete an Application for Undergraduate Major Declaration. This online form is available by logging into their Student Profile. Students changing majors also must complete a Removal of Major form found on the Registrar’s webpage.

Students are held to major requirements as outlined in their Bulletin year of entry to the University. Any change affecting the fulfillment of major requirements must be requested through an academic petition and approved by the respective department chair.

Self-Designed Major and Minor

The University supports optional Self-Designed majors and minors for students who express interest in an area of study not otherwise available at John Carroll. While traditional departmental majors and minors are the backbone of the University, there are times when cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary majors and minors are both possible and desirable. The major or minor should be proposed and approved during the student’s sophomore year. Information and guidelines are available on the Registrar’s webpage.

Program of Study Changes

Students must drop any declared major, minor, or concentration they do not intend to complete. Failure to complete a declared program of study does not remove the respective major, minor, or concentration from the student’s academic record. Students drop declared programs by completing a Remove a Major, Minor, or Concentration form, available on the Registrar’s webpage, and returning it to the respective department. Students will want to drop programs of study they do not wish to complete in order to ensure accurate auditing of their progress toward degree completion.

Internal Transfer

New students enter the University in the College of Arts and Sciences or Boler College of Business. Prospective business majors may request direct admission to the Boler College of Business. To request admission to Boler, students communicate this intention on 1) the Common Application or 2) the registration form for New Student Orientation prior to matriculation.

Enrolled students who wish to transfer between colleges (College of Arts and Sciences and Boler College of Business) should meet with their current academic advisor and the respective department chair in the college of transfer to discuss a plan for successful transition. After these consultations, students should complete Major Declaration (and Removal) forms, available on the webpage of the Office of the Registrar, to initiate their request for internal transfer. Continued admission to some majors will require the satisfactory completion of program entrance requirements.

Students enrolled in the College of Arts and Sciences who wish to apply to transfer to the Boler College of Business must have an overall grade point average of 2.0 or higher, and must complete AC 201, EC 201, and MT 130 with a minimum grade of C. If any of these courses are transferred into John Carroll from other institutions, then a minimum grade of C must be attained in at least 6 hours of coursework in the Boler College of Business. The Boler College Dean’s Office will advise students whether they are accepted, conditionally accepted, or denied.

Applications for transfer between colleges must be received by December 1 for consideration for spring enrollment, and by May 1 for fall enrollment. Boler students seeking admission into the College of Arts and Sciences will have their major application reviewed by the department chair of the new major. Prospective Arts and Sciences students should review the departmental pages in the Bulletin for information on any pre-requisite requirements and guidelines.

Students not formally declared in Boler may not take more than 30 credit hours of Boler courses. Students normally take six terms to complete business core and major requirements in the Boler College.

Double Major

Some students wish to complete two majors within their academic program. This is permitted providing the students are accepted as a major by both departments (and both departments so notify the appropriate dean), are assigned an academic advisor in each department, and complete all the requirements in force at the time of acceptance for each major. Please note: It is understood that, even though two majors may be completed, only one degree will be awarded upon completion of all requirements. Thus, in some situations, students with a double major will have to choose between the bachelor of arts degree (B.A.) and bachelor of science degree (B.S.). Students are expected to complete the Capstone, Additional Writing, and Oral Presentation requirements for each major.

Standing in the Major

Candidates for a degree must complete the required sequence of courses in the major field of study with at least a C average (2.0). Students who fail to maintain this average may be required to change majors.

All courses taken in the major field will be computed in the quality-point average required for the major.

Comprehensive Examinations

In addition to the fulfillment of all general and specific degree requirements, many departments require candidates to pass a comprehensive examination in the major field. Consult specific disciplines and departments for requirements. Comprehensive examinations are concerned with the major subject as a whole, not so much with particular courses. Their purpose is to encourage students to mature and integrate their knowledge by personal effort and private study.

Students are urged to begin preparing for the comprehensive examination as early as the junior year. They may be aided by syllabi published by the departments. Comprehensive examinations are usually taken in the final semester of the senior year, when students have completed or are taking the last course(s) to complete major requirements. Students in the College of Arts and Sciences who fail to perform satisfactorily in the comprehensive examination are permitted to retake the examination or an equivalent one within the same semester.

Degree candidates in the Boler College of Business may be required to pass a comprehensive examination testing the grasp of principles and relationships and the ability to reach reasonable solutions to typical business and economic problems. Candidates may also be required to pass a comprehensive examination in the major field. Such examinations may be oral or written, or both. Students who fail to perform satisfactorily in the comprehensive examination will be required to take the examination the next time it is scheduled.


The College of Arts and Sciences offers a number of minors. The Boler College of Business offers a minor in business and a minor in economics. Minors are optional. They are described in other sections of this Bulletin.


Courses not required in the Core or in the major are considered electives. Elective courses should be chosen, in consultation with the academic advisor, for a definite purpose – to provide for greater breadth and depth in the total educational program, to provide support for a major field, or as further preparation for a future career.

Independent Study in the Major and Electives

For students who demonstrate superior ability, an instructor may suggest a plan of independent study that shall include some remission of the obligation of regular class attendance. Independent-study plans in each case shall have the recommendation of the department chair and the approval of the appropriate dean.

Undergraduate Student Research

The University recognizes the importance of student research to the educational experience and offers research opportunities for and recognition of student research. Students may apply for research funds up to $250, pending availability. Academic departments may provide research awards and opportunities for research during the academic year and for summer research. Students can present their research at the annual Celebration of Scholarship.