Declaring a Major

Students may declare a major after completing 40 hours. Most students declare a major in the spring of their sophomore year. Students declare a major through a procedure established between the academic departments and the Office of the University Registrar. Information about this process is distributed prior to the designated declaration period. 

If the student is accepted into the major, the department provides an adviser who assists the student in planning a course of study for the junior and senior years. A department that rejects a student as a major must notify the Office of the University Registrar and file a written statement indicating the reason(s) for the rejection with the Dean of the College. 

Students who need to delay the declaration due to insufficient earned hours or other circumstances should consult the Office of the University Registrar. 

A student wishing to major in accountancy, business and enterprise management, finance, mathematical business, or the master of science in accountancy should apply to the School of Business. (See the School of Business requirements in this Bulletin.)

The undergraduate schools try to provide ample space in the various major fields to accommodate the interests of students. It must be understood, however, that the undergraduate schools cannot guarantee the availability of space in a given major field or a given course, since the preferences of students change and there are limits to both faculty and facilities.

After the initial declaration, a student may not change from one major to another without the written approval of the departments concerned. The student’s course of study for the junior and senior years includes the minimum requirements for the departmental major, with other courses selected by the student and approved by the adviser. At least half of the major must be completed at Wake Forest University.

Please Note. For credit in the major, courses taken in many programs of study abroad are not automatically equivalent to courses completed at Wake Forest. If a student wishes to take more than half of his or her courses for the major in study abroad programs, he or she must gain prior approval from the chair of the department. Students should check the Undergraduate Bulletin for additional departmental requirements for the major. Majors are listed alphabetically under Courses of Instruction in this bulletin. 

The following majors are recognized:

accountancy • African American studies • anthropology • applied mathematics • applied statistics • art history • biochemistry and molecular biology • biology • biophysics • business and enterprise management • chemistry • Chinese language and culture • classical languages • classical studies • communication • computer science • critical and creative media • economics • education • engineering • English • environment and sustainability studies • environmental science • finance • French studies • German • German studies • Greek • health and exercise science • history • the interdisciplinary major • Japanese language and culture • Latin • mathematical business • mathematical economics • mathematics • music • philosophy • physics • politics and international affairs • psychology • religious studies • Russian • sociology • Spanish • statistics • studio art • theatre • women’s, gender, and sexuality studies 

Maximum Number of Courses in a Department

Within the College, a maximum of 50 hours in a department or major is allowed to count towards the 120 hours required for graduation. Additional hours within a department or major may be taken, but will not count towards the total 120 hours required for graduation. All courses taken within a major or minor department count toward the major or minor GPA. For a student majoring in a department with two or more majors, 6 additional hours in the department but outside the student’s major are also allowed.

These stipulations exclude required related courses from other departments. For students majoring in English, WRI 111 is excluded. For students majoring in a foreign language, elementary courses in that language are also excluded. These limits may be exceeded in unusual circumstances only by action of the Committee on Academic Affairs.

Options for Meeting Major Requirements 

To satisfy graduation requirements, a student must select one, and only one, of the following options, which will receive official recognition on the student’s permanent record:

  1. A single major
  2. A single major and a minor
  3. A single major and a double minor
  4. A single major and a triple minor
  5. A double major
  6. A double major and a minor

In order to qualify for options four or six, students must offer a minimum of 135 hours for graduation. 

In addition to these options, a student may complete the requirements of one or more foreign area studies programs and/or any of the Romance languages certificates.

Double Majors

A student may major in two departments in the College with the written permission of the chair of each of the departments and on condition that the student meets all requirements for the major in both departments. A student may not use the same course to meet requirements in both of the majors. The student must designate one of the two fields as the primary major, which appears first on the student’s record and determines the degree to be awarded. Only one undergraduate degree will be awarded, even if the student completes two majors.


A minor is not required. Students may declare a minor only after declaring at least one major. According to the guidelines listed under Options for Meeting Major Requirements, students choosing either a single or a double major may also choose one or more minors from among the following or from the listing of interdisciplinary minors: 

anthropology • Arabic • art history • biology • chemistry • Chinese language and culture • classical studies • communication • computer science • creative writing • dance • economics • engineering • English • French studies • German • German studies • Greek • health and human services • history • Italian language and culture • Japanese language and culture • journalism • Latin • marketing communication • mathematics • music • philosophy • physics • politics and international affairs • psychology • religious studies • Russian • schools, education, and society • secondary education • sociology • Spanish • statistics • studio art • theatre  

For details of the various minors, see the appro­priate departmental headings in the section of this bulletin that lists course offerings. 

Interdisciplinary Major

Highly qualified students may design an interdisciplinary major, focused on a topic not available as a regular major. The interdisciplinary major consists of courses offered by two or more departments, for a minimum of 42 hours. Students submit a proposal outlining the nature of the major, a list of courses to be included, evidence of a comparable major at another university, if available, and letters from at least two relevant faculty members supporting the proposal, one of whom must agree to be the student’s primary adviser. The interdisciplinary major may be declared after the student completes 40 hours, however planning for the major should begin as early as possible. A second major may not be declared. A minor may be declared; however, courses used in the interdisciplinary major may not also meet requirements in the minor. Students are required to complete an independent senior project, approved and reviewed by the adviser and readers from participating departments. Proposals are reviewed by the Open Curriculum Committee. Visit the interdisciplinary major website for more details.

Interdisciplinary Minors

Interdisciplinary minors are listed alphabetically under Courses of Instruction in this bulletin. The following programs are offered:

actuarial science • African American studies • African studies • American ethnic studies • bioethics, humanities and medicine • contemporary global studies • cultural heritage and preservation studies • East Asian studies • entrepreneurship • environmental science • environmental studies • film and media studies • global trade and commerce studies • health policy and administration • interdisciplinary humanities • Jewish studies • Latin-American and Latino studies • linguistics • medieval and early modern studies • Middle East and South Asia studies • neuroscience • Russian and East European studies • women’s, gender, and sexuality studies • writing

Foreign Area Studies

The foreign area studies programs enable students to choose an interdisciplinary concentration in the language and culture of a foreign area. An area studies concentration may include courses in the major and also in the minor field, if a minor is chosen. Foreign area studies programs do not replace majors or minors; they may supplement either or both. A faculty adviser coordinates each foreign area studies program and advises students. Students who wish to participate in one of these programs must consult with the program coordinator, preferably in their sophomore year. 

Italian Studies and Spanish Studies are offered as foreign area studies programs.

Senior Testing

All seniors may be required to participate in a testing program designed to provide objective evidence of educational development. If the Committee on Academic Affairs decides to conduct such a program, its purpose would be to assist the University in assessing the effectiveness of its programs. The program does not supplant the regular administration of the Graduate Record Examination for students applying for admission to graduate school.

Five-year Cooperative Degree Program in Latin-American Studies

Wake Forest and Georgetown universities have instituted a five-year cooperative degree program in Latin-American Studies. Under this program, undergraduate students who minor in Latin-American and Latino Studies at Wake Forest may apply to have a limited number of hours from their undergraduate work count toward a master’s degree in Latin-American Studies at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. The BA is awarded by Wake Forest, while the master’s degree is awarded by Georgetown. Those whose applications are accepted may complete both their BS or BA and MA degrees in a five-year period. To apply for the combined BS/MA or BA/MA, students should declare an interest in the five-year cooperative degree program during their junior year. Students must then complete the regular Georgetown graduate application process and seek formal acceptance to the MA program during their senior year. 

The five-year program is an opportunity for exceptional students to complete degree requirements at an accelerated pace. Interested students should contact the five-year degree program coordinator, Peter Siavelis, professor of politics and international affairs and director of the Latin-American and Latino Studies Program.