Undergraduate Catalog

Majors and Minors

Major Minor Discipline
Anthropology, see Sociology and Anthropology
XArt (Studio)
XArt History
XArt and Art History
XXAsian Studies
XBiochemistry and Molecular Biology
XXComputer Science
XComputer Science and Mathematics
XXEnvironmental Studies
XEthnic Studies
XForeign Languages
XXFrench Studies
XGender Studies
XGerman Studies
XHispanic Studies
XInternational Affairs
XLatin American Studies
XPolitical Economy
XXPolitical Science
XXReligious Studies
XXRhetoric and Media Studies
XSociology and Anthropology
Spanish, see Hispanic Studies
XStudent-Designed Major


Lewis & Clark offers 29 majors. A student's major presents an opportunity to explore an area of interest in depth, to develop knowledge and skills for that particular field of inquiry, and to learn both the discipline and the satisfaction of pursuing a rigorous course of study.

Students with sophomore class standing of 45 or more completed credits must have a declared major. Those who have not officially declared a major with the Office of the Registrar will not be allowed to register for courses in any subsequent semester. First-semester transfer students and first-year students with more than 25 awarded advanced placement credits may be eligible for a one-semester extension, but must request the extension from the Office of the Registrar.

The choice of a major does not imply the choice of career, but instead represents the base for a range of future opportunities. With careful advising and creative choice of electives, two students majoring in the same field may be preparing for quite different careers; similarly, students with nearly identical careers may have arrived there from very different majors. After graduation, some students proceed directly to graduate study or employment in the field in which they majored. Others apply the skills and knowledge gained from the major in less obvious but equally valid ways. For example, a philosophy major may choose a career in law, business education, medicine, or research; a biology major may go on in oceanography; a chemistry major may choose to work in industry or government; a history major may decide on publishing, public administration, or broadcast media.

In today's economy people can expect to change careers several times. The skills of thinking and communicating and the aptitude for learning developed through a liberal arts education are more useful and adaptable than any narrowly defined vocational specialization.

A major normally constitutes approximately one-third of a student's academic program, but in no case may a student receive credit toward graduation for more than 60 semester credits in one academic department. Majors consist of a group of required and elective courses. At least 20 semester credits for the major must be taken at Lewis & Clark with a cumulative GPA of 2.000 or higher in the major. See academic department listings for major requirements. (See also Graduation Requirements.)

Double Majors

Students may graduate with a maximum of two majors, if they complete all requirements for each major. Where requirements for majors overlap, a student must complete at least 28 discrete semester credits in each major. In no case may students double major if they complete a student-designed major.

Student-Designed Majors

A student may propose a major focusing on a body of knowledge that has a definable character and extends beyond the bounds of existing majors or departments. The course of study for a student-designed major must be planned and submitted for approval before the major may be officially declared, and approval of the student-designed major may be granted only if a student has achieved a GPA of 3.000 or higher for the previous 32 semester credits. Students undertaking a student-designed major may not double major.

Development of a student-designed major involves selection of and consultation with a three-member faculty advisory committee, and submission of a formal proposal to the Curriculum Subcommittee on Petitions, Appeals, and Student-Designed Majors. Students are urged to begin constructing a proposal during the sophomore year, as they must initiate it no later than the first semester of the junior year. Transfer students seeking to undertake a student-designed major must follow the same timeline.

A student-designed major must consist of courses from more than one department, and must include a balance between upper- and lower-division courses and a senior-year project that integrates work in the major. The senior project can take the form of a thesis, internship, creative project, or artistic performance for which students receive 4 credits in SD 490. The total number of credits for the major should be no fewer than 40.

Students wanting to pursue a student-designed major must take the following steps:

  1. Discuss a plan with the chair of the Curriculum Subcommittee on Petitions, Appeals, and Student-Designed Majors and faculty members who might serve on a faculty advisory committee.

  2. Submit a statement of intent to propose a student-designed major (forms available in the Office of the Registrar) no later than the third week of the semester in which the process is initiated. No proposal may be initiated later than the first semester of the junior year (defined as the fourth semester before the student's anticipated graduation date).

  3. Submit to the Office of the Registrar an application that includes the following:

    • A clearly written rationale for the major, describing the integration of the disciplinary elements in detail and the focus of the proposed course of study

    • A brief description of the anticipated senior project

    • A list of courses to be completed and the sequence of study that will compose the major

    • An example of requirements for this major (or a closely related major) from another regionally accredited institution

    • The signatures of three faculty members who approve the proposal and agree to serve as the faculty advisory committee

  4. Submit to the Office of the Registrar a letter of support from one member of the faculty advisory committee attesting to the student's ability to pursue an independent course of study, as well as the faculty member's preparation and willingness to guide the student's program.

The completed proposal must be filed in the Office of the Registrar no later than the end of the sixth week of the semester. The proposal must be approved by the Curriculum Subcommittee on Petitions, Appeals, and Student-Designed Majors before the major can be officially declared. Students whose student-designed major has been approved must submit a prospectus of the senior project to the faculty advisory committee and to the Office of the Registrar in the semester prior to registering for the project (using the Directed and Independent Study Learning Agreement form, available on the registrar's webpage).

Honors: Students completing a student-designed major may receive honors upon graduation if they have a GPA of 3.500 and if the faculty advisory committee judges the senior project worthy of honors.


At Lewis & Clark, students are expected to devote roughly one-third of their studies to fulfilling major requirements and one-third to General Education requirements. This leaves one-third available for electives.

Some students choose to coordinate their choice of elective courses in order to complete requirements for a minor. A minor represents a clearly defined set of courses identifying a secondary area of expertise. The student may opt for a minor that complements the major or one that is seemingly unrelated to the major. Some overlap is permitted, with courses counting toward both the major and the minor, but a minimum of 12 semester credits must be exclusive to the minor (i.e., may not be used in any other set of major or minor requirements). Students must also maintain a cumulative GPA of 2.000 or higher in minor courses.

Minors consist of a group of required and elective courses. At least 12 semester credits for the minor must be taken at Lewis & Clark. Minors are offered through a department, program, or curriculum; some are interdisciplinary. See departmental listings for minor requirements.

Students declare a minor on a form available from the Office of the Registrar. Department chairs are responsible for verifying the completion of a student's minor on the degree application. No more than two minors may be recorded on a student's transcript.