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College of Liberal Arts


Each candidate for the bachelor's degree must complete one major with at least a 2.0 (C) grade point average and a satisfactory senior capstone.

Types of Majors

There are three types of majors offered in the College of Liberal Arts: departmental, inter-departmental and interdisciplinary. In the School of Music, the major is associated with the degree: Performance with the Bachelor of Music, Music with the Bachelor of Musical Arts, Music Education with the Bachelor of Music Education and the Bachelor of Arts in Music.

Departmental major.  The departmental major consists of eight to 10 courses in a single academic department, including at least three courses at the 300-400 level. A department may also require as many as six courses from related departments. The total number of course credits required for a major may not exceed 14 (including pre-requisites). In departments designated as single-subject departments, i.e., history or political science, at least 19 of the 31 courses required for graduation must be outside the major subject. In departments designated as dual-subject departments, i.e., sociology and anthropology or modern languages, a minimum of 19 courses must be outside the student's major subject, and 16 of 31 courses must be outside the major department.

Inter-departmental major. This major involves coursework from two or three complementary departments. The inter-departmental major is administered by a joint committee of the contributing departments. It consists of 10-12 course credits from the contributing departments and may include additional courses from other departments, with the total requirements not to exceed 14 course credits (including pre-requisite courses). A minimum of 16 course credits must be from outside the contributing departments.

Interdisciplinary major. An interdisciplinary major consists of an integrated series of courses selected from at least two of the conventional academic disciplines. Interdisciplinary majors may be administered by an interdisciplinary program (Africana Studies, Asian Studies, Peace and Conflict Studies, Film Studies, Global Health and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies) or an academic department. Also, there is an option for a student-designed independent interdisciplinary major.

The interdisciplinary major includes a total of 10 to 14 courses in at least two disciplines. At least four courses in the total must be at the 300-400 level.

Interdisciplinary majors must have at least 16 courses outside the subject matter of the major and may have no more than eight courses in any one discipline (subject) comprising the major.

Independent Interdisciplinary Major. Students also have the opportunity to devise, in consultation with faculty advisors, an independent interdisciplinary major. Although any general problem of a genuine academic, scientific or intellectual nature may constitute the subject of an interdisciplinary major, such a major is ordinarily defined in one of three ways:

  • an area of the world, geographically, politically or culturally prescribed, such as the United States, Latin America, Asia, East Europe or the Middle East;
  • a period of time in the history of some part of the world, such as the Victorian Age, the Enlightenment, the Renaissance or the Middle Ages; or
  • a specific problem that is treated by several disciplines, such as the concept of social justice, the artist in the modern world, the rhetoric of revolutionary movements or political modernization.

In selecting a subject for an independently designed interdisciplinary major, students should be guided by two further considerations. First, a mere interest in certain academic disciplines, however closely related they may appear, is not a significant justification for an interdisciplinary major. Students must have in mind a subject that can serve as a focal point for the courses chosen. Second, although the subject to be examined in the major may coincide with the vocational interests of a student, it must at the same time be a legitimate object of study in its own right.

Each individualized major is supervised by a committee of three faculty members. Upon the recommendation of two faculty members from the disciplines relevant to the major, students apply to the Office of Academic Affairs for admission early in the second semester of the sophomore year. Students taking an independent interdisciplinary major should have the major approved and filed with the Office of the Registrar by the end of the sixth week of the second semester of the sophomore year. The latest that applications may be considered is the sixth week of the junior year.

Senior Capstone Experience

The Senior Capstone experience may consist of one or more of the following options, as determined by departments, schools or programs: senior seminar, comprehensive examination, theses, projects, performances and/or exhibitions.  Descriptions of the senior capstone experience requirement for each major are included in the catalog description of the major.

Satisfactory completion of a senior capstone is required to complete a major at DePauw. For departments, schools, or programs that require an examination as a component of the senior capstone experience, satisfactory performance on this exam is required to earn a major. Students who do not perform satisfactorily on the comprehensive examination the first time have the right to be reexamined once. Students must pass the comprehensive examination within one academic year after the first commencement date following the initial examination. At the discretion of the department, school, or program, a student may take a maximum of two re-examinations.

Each student completes at least one major as a part of the degree program. Although not required, a student may also elect to complete a minor area of study.

Policies for Majors

Declaring a Major. Each student is required to select a major and a faculty advisor in that major department or interdisciplinary program by the sixth week in the second semester of the sophomore year. Faculty advisors, staff members in the offices of academic affairs, the registrar, and career services may assist students in making appropriate choices. Students planning for a study abroad program must declare a major prior to applying for off-campus study.

The Academic Standing Committee will take appropriate warning actions in the case of students who have failed to declare their major by the end of the sophomore year. The committee may also require students who fail to demonstrate satisfactory progress toward the major to drop that major and select a new major before continuing at DePauw.

Two Majors.  Students may complete a maximum of two majors. A student with two majors must meet all requirements for each major. Students who have double majors must have at least six courses that do not overlap between the two majors.

Changes in Major Requirements. Department, school or program requirements for the major are those in effect at the time the student declares the major. Changes in departmental requirements after a major is declared may apply provided they do not require a student to enroll in more than a normal course load in any semester or do not prolong the time needed to meet degree requirements. Departments, schools and programs are responsible for determining and certifying that each student in the major is sufficiently prepared in the field as a whole.

Majors in the College of Liberal Arts

(see the School of Music in this section for description of the majors available within the three music degree options.)

Actuarial Science Communication Geology Mathematics
Africana Studies Computer Science German Neuroscience
Anthropology Design Studies German Studies Peace and Conflict Studies
Art (History) Earth Science Global French Studies Philosophy
Art (Studio) Economics Global Health Physics
Asian Studies Education Studies Greek Pre-engineering
Biochemistry English (Writing) Hispanic Studies Political Science
Biology English (Literature) History Psychology
Business Analytics Environmental Biology Independent Interdisciplinary Religious Studies
Cellular and Molecular Biology Environmental Geoscience Italian Cultural Studies Romance Languages
Chemistry Film and Media Arts Japanese Studies Sociology
Chinese Studies Film Studies Kinesiology Theatre
Classical Civilization Finance Latin Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

The Minor

A student may elect a minor that consists of at least four courses in a single subject or centers on a specific interdisciplinary topic. At least one course must be at the 300-400 level.

A 2.0 grade point average must be achieved in the minor, and no courses in the minor subject may be taken on a Pass/Fail basis. Double minors must have at least four courses that do not overlap. At least three courses in the minor must be outside the student's major area.

Declaring a Minor: To complete a minor a student should declare it by the end of the junior year. Final certification must be filed in the Office of the Registrar by November 15 of the senior year.

Minors at DePauw

Accounting and Finance for Decision Making Classical Civilization Global French Studies Museum Studies
Africana Studies Computer Science Greek Music (Applied)
Anthropology Data Science Hispanic Studies Musical Theatre
Art (History) Design Studies History Peace and Conflict Studies
Art (Studio) Earth Science International Business Philosophy
Asian Studies Economics Italian Cultural Studies Physics
Astronomy Education Studies Japanese Political Science
Biochemistry English Writing Japanese Studies Psychology
Biology Entrepreneurship Jazz Studies Religious Studies
Business Administration Environmental Geoscience Kinesiology Rhetoric and Interpersonal Communication
Business Analytics Ethics in Society Latin Sociology
Chemistry Film and Media Arts Latin American and Caribbean Studies Statistics
Chinese Film Studies Literature Theatre
Chinese Studies Geology Mathematics Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Classical Archaeology German Media Studies World Literature
  German Studies