Policy - Undergraduate Major Declaration

Information on the major declaration policy for schools/colleges that enroll undergraduates.

This is a summary of the policy on Undergraduate Major Declaration. Click here to view the official policy in its entirety in the UW-Madison Policy Library.

I. Policy

All schools/colleges that enroll undergraduates are required to have and enforce a policy on undergraduate major declaration. At a minimum, school/college policies must require a student to declare a major no later than the end of the semester in which the student accumulates 86 credits.

Schools/colleges generally will provide undergraduates two semesters of enrollment at UW-Madison before enforcing a policy on undergraduate major declaration, recognizing that some students have accumulated a significant number of college credits before enrolling as new freshmen or transfer students.

II. Overview and Context

The intent of establishing a university-wide minimum standard for school/college policy on undergraduate major declaration is to communicate across the university community, including to students and their families, that timely major declaration is associated with timely degree completion. Given that students make the transition to senior standing at 86 credits, this is a useful point to apply this requirement.

Currently, each school and college maintains a distinct policy on major declaration. Some schools and colleges impose a maximum number of semesters of enrollment or a set number of credits earned by which a student must declare a major. Other schools and colleges impose a maximum number of applications a student may attempt to declare a major. Schools/colleges may continue to use these various types of policy under this institutional umbrella policy.

III. Definitions

Accumulated credits are defined as credits earned through UW-Madison coursework, transfer credit, advanced placement credit, retroactive credits, credit by departmental exam, and other recorded credit.

A declared major is defined as a major that carries a degree granting plan code entered on a student’s record in the student information system. Plan codes that do not lead to a degree (e.g., pre-codes) are not declared majors.

Undergraduate students are defined as all students who apply and are admitted through the undergraduate admissions process and who are enrolled in the UGRD career.

IV. Relationship to School/College Policies

All undergraduates are assigned to a school or college in the student information system and, under this policy they continue to be subject to that school or college’s major declaration policy. Schools and colleges may adopt major declaration policies that suit their purposes and also conform to the requirement for declaration by 86 credits (with exception allowed for students who are in their first or second enrolled semester).

V. Considerations for Implementation

School/college policies on undergraduate major declaration will be published in the undergraduate catalog (The Guide) or an equivalent university-wide electronic or paper publication. School/college dean’s offices will continue to enforce their policy. Annually, the Office of the Registrar will generate a list of undergraduates with more than 86 credits and 2 semesters of enrollment at UW-Madison who do not have a declared major. Academic Planning and Institutional Research will review these lists and send them to deans’ offices for review of policy effectiveness. A routine process for this exchange of information will be developed.

Official Policy Document

UW-Madison Policy on Major Declaration for Schools/Colleges that Enroll Undergraduates

Policy History

Approved: University Academic Planning Council, 19 November 2015


This is an umbrella policy that governs all school/college policies regarding major declaration.

Keywordsmajor dec   Doc ID98029
OwnerKaren M.GroupAcademic Planning
Created2020-02-17 17:02:50Updated2022-02-03 12:49:28
SitesAcademic Planning
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