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Rules and Policies Related to Majors

This page presents rules and policies related to majors in Weinberg College. A separate page presents rules and policies for minors.

"Related courses" in the major

Some rules below refer to "related courses" in the major. Many majors in Weinberg College require the completion of a certain number of "related courses" outside the major department or program. For some majors these related courses must be chosen from a list of eligible courses. For some they must be chosen from particular categories. For others, the choice is more open, but must be approved by the major adviser. Information on related course requirements for each major in Weinberg College is available in the Undergraduate Catalog and from the departments and programs.

Grades in major courses

You must earn a grade of at least C- in all courses you count toward your major, including related courses and prerequisites for the major. No work passed with a grade of D or P may be used to fulfill a major requirement.

What if you decide to do a major in which you have already taken a course P/N and have earned a grade of P? You can petition for permission to count this course toward your major. To do this, consult your major adviser as soon as possible.

Special exceptions to how courses completed in Winter Quarter 2020 and Spring Quarter 2020 apply to major requirements can be found in the addendum to the 2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog.

Total number of majors plus minors

A student’s total number of majors plus minors may not typically exceed three. This is called the "Rule of Three." (Certificates do not count against this limit.) Exceptions require permission from the Weinberg College Advising Office and cannot be granted during the first year. A sophomore, junior, or senior considering exceeding this limit should meet with their College Adviser to discuss options and the application process.

Double counting major courses

Generally if a course is eligible to be applied towards a major and towards some additional type of Weinberg College requirement (other than a second major or a minor) it may be double counted. The course, however, will earn you only one unit of credit, not two, toward the total number of courses you need for graduation.

Double counting major courses toward a second major or a minor

You may not double count a major course toward a second major or a minor, with three exceptions:

For additional information, you can also consult the webpage on double counting rules.

Modification of major requirements

The standard requirements for each major require the approval of the Weinberg College Curricular Review Committee, and department representatives are instructed to authorize waivers and substitutions only in very unusual situations.

Occasionally, modifications are made in the major requirements of individual students. For example, if you cannot take a required course for your major due to scheduling constraints, but you have taken a closely related course at the same or higher level, the Director of Undergraduate Studies (DUS) for your major can give you permission to substitute the course that was taken for the required course. To do this, you must consult your DUS as soon as possible.

Changes to major requirements in the Undergraduate Catalog

Departments and programs periodically update the requirements for their majors and/or minors. College guidelines stipulate that students can follow any set of requirements in effect during their undergraduate years. For example, if you entered Northwestern in Fall 2022 and the requirements for your major changed the next year, you can choose to follow the requirements in the 2022-23 Undergraduate Catalog or to follow the revised version in the 2023-24 Undergraduate Catalog—but you can’t pick and choose the requirements you like best from each. (If you are completing two majors, you may choose to follow different Undergraduate Catalogs for the different majors.)

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