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L&S Major Declaration Information

The following section provides information on declaring a major in the College of Letters & Science for L&S undergraduate students.

The College of Letters & Science requires students in the general BA and BS programs to have declared at least one L&S major during the term when they have at least 86 degree credits OR the combination of their completed degree credits plus their in-progress credits places them at 86 credits. [In Guide, find this policy under “Majors.”]

This policy does not affect first-year students in their first two semesters/terms or transfer students in their first semester/term at UW–Madison.

Detailed information about declaring a major is located at:

Procedures for declaring or cancelling an L&S major, certificate or option

Information about L&S majors and special degree programs can be found at:

Majors, Certificates, and Concentration Programs

Declaring a major is an essential part of a student's academic career at UW-Madison and is very important for graduating in a timely manner.   Students are encouraged to declare a major as soon as possible once they have decided on their particular academic area of interest and have met the requirements for declaration.   Student must go to the individual department(s) in order to declare a major or special degree program (i.e., AMEP, BLA, JBA, JBS, BMUS, BSW). 

  • An enrollment hold will be placed on students' records if they have at least 86 credits (this includes credits already earned plus credits students are currently taking) and have not declared a major by the 5th week of the fall or spring term.  This means that students will not be able to enroll in future terms until they declare a major.
    • Students who have a Mandatory Major Declaration enrollment hold will still be able to drop classes or withdraw from the current term as long as they drop classes or withdraw by the official deadlines.  See Enrollment Deadlines Pages for more information regarding deadlines.
  • Students who have a Mandatory Major Declaration (MMD) enrollment hold on their records can get the hold lifted by declaring a major with the advisor for the major if/when they are eligible.
  • Students who cannot declare a major because they do not qualify yet or have another issue preventing them from declaring a major should speak with their current academic advisor as soon as possible about their options.
  • Students can find the name and contact information for advisors at Find My Assigned Advisor

Enrollment hold

Students who meet the conditions — not yet declared a major or been accepted into a specialized degree program, with 86+ completed and/or in-progress credits — will have the Mandatory Major Declaration (MMD) enrollment hold placed on their student record during Week 5 of the Fall or Spring term (approximately October 1).

The MMD hold is automatically lifted (by an Office of the Registrar process) when the student declares a major and it becomes effective in SIS.  If, for any reason, declaring the major does not lift the MMD hold for a student, please contact L&S Undergraduate Academic Deans' Services for additional assistance.

Request an exemption using the new form (

If you advise an affected student who is unable to declare a major this semester, you may send a request to the L&S academic deans to exempt that student from the MMD hold for that current term only. 

Exemptions can be requested by academic advisors, including the student’s assigned advisor or a departmental major advisor. Students cannot make their own request to exempt themselves from the enrollment hold.

Please use this form ( for requesting exemptions to this hold for this term.

Appropriate circumstances include:

  • a student is currently enrolled in or intends to enroll in required classes (or raising their GPA) before they can declare a specific major;

  • you have reviewed the student’s plan to declare their major next semester.

Timeline of the semester

Samples of the emails described below are available in Google Drive [link].

“FYI” emails with information about the MMD policy are sent to students who have not declared a major with:

  1. a projected level of JUNIOR next term; and 

  2. a projected level of SENIOR next term but are exempted because they are FYR students in their first two semesters and TRF students in their first semester at UW–Madison.

For students who meet the conditions of the policy:

Week 3 (approximately Tuesday, September 19): Students receive an email alerting them to a possible enrollment hold. The AAS, CCAS, Honors, and CAE advising units will receive a list of these students. There are a few hundred L&S undergraduate students each fall and spring terms who meet these conditions.

Advisors’ requests to exempt a student from the MMD hold — submitted before the Week 5 hold date — will exclude that student from list used to place the hold for that term.

Week 5 (approximately Tuesday, October 3): Holds are placed for any student who:

  • still meets the policy conditions (not declared a major, 86+ credits, etc.)

  • does not have an advisor request for an exemption before the effective hold date.

Students receive an email confirming that they have an MMD hold, which will be lifted when they declare a major.

Advisors’ requests submitted after the Week 5 hold date will be reviewed by an L&S academic dean who decides whether to lift the MMD hold or let it stand. 

Week 8: A third email is sent to any student who still has the MMD hold. Week 8 is shortly before the enrollment period starts for the upcoming term. That email reminds the student that they aren’t able to enroll until they have declared a major.

Contact L&S Student Academic Affairs/Academic Dean's Office with any further questions:
Phone: (608) 262-0617

Keywordsmajor, declaring major, major declaration, L&S major declaration,86 degree credits, enrollment hold, mandatory major declaration, mandatory major declaration enrollment hold, MMD   Doc ID53616
OwnerTori R.GroupL&S KB
Created2015-07-03 11:11:27Updated2023-09-14 21:19:11
SitesL&S KB
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