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Northwestern University

Minor Rules and Policies

All Weinberg College students must complete one major as part of our degree requirements.

Procedures related to minors

Declaring a minor

Since minors are optional, there are no fixed deadlines for declaring them. However, certain departments and programs might have guidelines or a timetable for fulfilling certain minor requirements. Declaring a minor can get you on department or program mailing lists, it lets you develop a relationship with a minor adviser, and it may give you priority for registering for some courses. So, declaring earlier rather than later is generally wise.

Petitioning to graduate

A year before you plan to graduate, when you fill out your Graduation Petition, be sure to include relevant information about any minor you plan to complete. Your minor adviser should sign the petition form and indicate any necessary approvals.

Rules Related to Minors

Limit on total number of majors and minors.

A student’s total number of majors plus minors may not typically exceed three. (This is called the "Rule of Three.") 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 his or her College Adviser to discuss options and the application process. (This supersedes a previous rule limiting students to at most one minor.)

Grades in minor courses

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

What if you decide to do a minor 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 minor. To do this, consult your minor adviser as soon as possible.

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

Double counting minor courses toward distribution requirements, majors, and other minors

You may double count a course toward your minor and toward the distribution requirements. For example, if you take Phil 150-Elementary Logic to fulfill your Formal Studies requirement and then go on to become a Philosophy minor, the course will count toward both sets of requirements. However, you will receive only one unit of credit for the course, not two.

You may not count any course toward more than one minor. If you take two minors that require one particular course, consult with your minor advisers about possible substitutions.

Several rules restrict the double counting of minor courses toward a major. For details, see the webpage on double counting rules.

Modification of minor requirements

The standard requirements for each minor 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 minor requirements of individual students. For example, if you cannot take a required course for your minor 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 minor may agree to give you permission to substitute the course that was taken for the required course and notify the Registrar’s Office.

Changes to minor requirements in the Undergraduate Catalog

Departments and programs periodically change 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 2010 and the requirements for your minor changed in 2011, you can choose to follow the requirements from the 2010 Undergraduate Catalog, or from the revised version that went into effect in 2011—but you can’t pick and choose the requirements you like best from each. (If you are completing two minors, you may choose to follow different Undergraduate Catalogs for the different minors.)

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