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
XXFrench Studies
XGender Studies
XGerman Studies
XHispanic Studies
XInternational Affairs
XLatin American Studies
XMiddle East and North African Studies
XPolitical Economy
XXPolitical Science
XXReligious Studies
XXRhetoric and Media Studies
XSociology and Anthropology
Spanish, see Hispanic Studies
XStudent-Designed Major
XWorld Languages


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 (SDM Advisory Committee), and submission of a formal proposal to the Curriculum Subcommittee on Petitions, Appeals, and Student-Designed Majors (SPAS). Students are urged to begin constructing a proposal early during the sophomore year, as they must submit the proposal no later than the fifth week of the second semester of the sophomore year. Transfer students seeking to undertake a student-designed major must follow the same timeline.*


Proposals for student-designed majors will be evaluated according to the extent to which the proposal meets the following criteria:

  1. Definable intellectual merit
    1. Proposal must focus on a body of knowledge and inquiry within or across defined academic disciplines.
    2. Proposal should include an example of requirements for this major (or a closely related major) from another regionally accredited institution.
  2. Extends beyond existing majors
    1. Proposal must make the case that the intellectual and academic goals of the major cannot be achieved within the bounds of existing majors and minors.
  3. Faculty support
    1. Proposal must have the support of faculty having sufficient expertise relevant to the proposed area of study. There must exist sufficient expertise on campus to guide the students along their academic trajectory.
    2. Key faculty, whose courses are most central to the proposal, must indicate that they intend to be on campus (and not overseas, on sabbatical, etc.) and intend to teach those relevant courses during the semester(s) indicated.
    3. If faculty whose areas of expertise intersect with the topic of the SDM are not listed as supporting, justification for their omission should be included.
  4. Appropriate structure: A minimum of 40 credits and maximum of 60 credits from at least two departments or programs that includes:
    1. A small collection of “core” or “foundational” courses.
    2. A relevant methodology course (or an explanation why the inclusion of such a course is not necessary).
    3. A specified number of upper-level elective credits, drawn from a specified collection of courses that build upon the foundational/core courses and provide breadth at the advanced level.
    4. A senior project, taking the form of a thesis, internship, creative project, or artistic performance for which students receive 4 credits in SD 490.
    5. In general, independent study courses are strongly discouraged.
  5. GPA of 3.000 or higher for the 32 previous semester credits is required at the time the proposal is approved.
  1. The completed proposal must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar by the deadline. Proposal forms and examples may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar.
  2. The Curriculum Subcommittee on Petitions, Appeals, and Student-Designed Majors (SPAS) will schedule a meeting with the student and the members of the student’s SDM Advisory Committee to discuss the proposal. The SPAS will provide the student and SDM Advisory Committee with suggestions for revision.
  3. The student must submit a final, revised proposal to the Office of the Registrar within two weeks of receiving the request for revision.
  4. The SPAS will approve or reject the revised proposal. The decision will be communicated to the student and SDM Advisory Committee by the chair of the SPAS. The decision of the SPAS is final.
Approved Proposals

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 required thesis course SD 490 (using the SDM Prospectus Agreement form, available from the Office of the Registrar).


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

*Transfer students entering as juniors may submit a proposal no later than the fifth week of the first semester of enrollment. Final approval will be contingent upon the student earning a GPA of 3.000 or above in the first semester at Lewis & Clark.


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). Where requirements for minors overlap, a student must complete at least 12 discrete semester credits in each minor. 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.