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Majors and Minors

Academic Knox

SPECIALIZATION: Being an educated person means complementing your breadth of knowledge with a major area of specialization.

You can choose from 39 major fields at Knox. Each major provides study in depth in a particular field. Nearly all majors include both required courses as well as required "electives"-where you have a choice among courses. The Catalog includes not only the requirements for each major, but general information about each field of study, potential careers, and recent student accomplishments.

Remember what we said before: Every Knox major can be completed by your senior year, even if the first course is taken in the sophomore year. Most Knox students, however, enter the College with at least a general idea for a potential major, and it is important to "test" those interests in the first year of study. If you are one of Knox's many "undecided," however, don't feel bad! You're in good company. Talk with your advisor about your academic likes and dislikes, successes and failures, and potential careers, and get some suggestions for course selection.

A Knox education helps you develop adaptability and flexibility in your specialized study by requiring you to have a second field of study in addition to your major. Your second field may be another major. Or it may be a minor or two. Keep in mind that some academic fields of study overlap each other. As a result, the general restriction on combining majors, or majors with minors, is that the programs are distinct from one another (usually this means there is no more than a two course overlap). The College Catalog provides more details about permissible combinations of majors/minors. For now, there is one general rule to keep in mind: You can graduate with two majors, or a major and a minor, or a major and two minors. Those are the only combinations allowable. Why do we have limits? Because a liberal education balances "breadth" with "specialization"-but that's getting a bit ahead of the game. Wait until the next section to read more.

There are 39 majors and over 52 minors offered at Knox. In addition, students are able to propose their own majors and minors. These are called Self-Designed Majors and Minors. Self-designed majors and minors must be interdisciplinary and they must address themes or topics that are consistent with a liberal arts education. A self-designed major must be approved by the College's Curriculum Committee, usually before the end of the sophomore year. Self-designed minors must have a list of the courses that constitute the minor and the signature of a sponsoring faculty member. See the College Catalog for details.

Of course, none of this tells you exactly what or how to choose your major. You may have a career in mind for which several different majors are appropriate. For example, philosophy majors, history majors, and science majors include students intending to apply for law school. And social work graduate programs draw their students from the full range of social science majors. On the other hand, if you want to be a biologist, it's probably best to major in biology! All of which is to say that you should think about where a major (or minor) might lead. Is your choice career-oriented? Are you adding a second non-career-related program because it gives you personal satisfaction? Are you combining several fields of study because they may give you a stronger preparation for life after Knox? There's no one answer to these questions, but you will do well to have them in mind when you make your choices.

TECHNICAL STUFF: More on Majors and Minors

Academic Knox Index