Study in Depth
Choosing a Major. Some students declare their major when they enter Susquehanna. Many others prefer to wait and investigate a number of fields before deciding. Susquehanna welcomes and encourages these undecided students. Students may pursue a "Liberal Arts - Open" option for their first two years. During this time, faculty advisors, department heads and the Center for Career Services can assist them to choose or design a major which satisfies their interests and goals.
To make sure they can complete degree requirements within the normal four-year period of study, students must declare a major by the end of the sophomore year. Those seeking to enter accounting, business, or bachelor of science in economics majors must have a grade average of B or better in course work at Susquehanna and secure the approval of the dean of the Sigmund Weis School of Business. Those seeking to enter programs leading to teacher certification must have a grade average of 3.0 or better and secure the approval of the department. Those seeking to major in music must audition successfully with the music faculty prior to admission.
Departmental Majors. Departmental majors typically consist of eight to twelve courses or 32 to 48 semester hours. Requirements may include courses from related disciplines. Music education, liberal studies, graphic design, computer science, information systems, mathematics, ecology, accounting and business administration require more than 48 semester hours; students choosing these majors should do so early and plan carefully to complete them in four years. Students must complete at least half of their major course work at Susquehanna. Unless it is explicitly stated otherwise in the section for that individual department, a student must earn a grade of at least C- in a course to apply it to his or her major.
Dual Majors. Students pursue dual majors for a variety of reasons. Many have a strong interest in more than one field; others feel that a second major will better prepare them for their profession. Students seeking to declare a dual major must have the approval of both departments and plan their program with a faculty advisor from each. Because completing two majors is demanding, the university expects candidates to have a strong academic record. Most dual majors can be completed in four years, but additional time may be needed depending on the particular combination of majors proposed and the student's academic level when making this decision.
Students pursuing, within the same area, ("area" to be designated by the four-letter introductory code, such as COMM, THEA, MATH, CSCI) two emphases, two majors, two minors, or a major and a minor may not apply the same course to two of these programs. If a student is earning an interdisciplinary minor, at least 18 semester hours of that minor must not be counted toward the student's major. If a student is earning an interdisciplinary major, no more than eight semester hours of that major may be counted toward a second major or a minor.
Self-Designed Majors. Students whose interests cross traditional departmental lines, and who are not satisfied with the possibility of a dual major, may design their own majors under the direction of a faculty advisor and sponsoring departments. Students who undertake this challenge work with the advisor to prepare a proposed study plan. The plan includes the proposal's relevance to academic goals and career interests and the bachelor's degree to be received. (Note: Because of accreditation standards, self-designed majors may not receive the B.S. degree in business or the B.M. in music; students may pursue the B.A. degree in business or music.) Approved plans reflect the coherence and depth of a traditional major and may be organized around a central theme or focus. A self-designed major should include between 48 and 60 semester hours, with approximately 20 to 24 semester hours coming from a single department. Other degree requirements, such as the university Core, remain in effect for students pursuing self-designed majors and should be included in the plan of study. The plan must be approved by the sponsoring departments and the dean of the School.
Students may apply for a self-designed major any time after completing at least 16 semester hours, but not after the completion of 64 semester hours (end of sophomore year). Normally, at least a 2.5 GPA is expected. Professor of Political Science James Blessing is the advisor for self-designed majors.
Accelerated Degree Options. Most majors, with the exception of accounting, liberal studies and music, adapt to Susquehanna's accelerated degree option, which allows highly motivated students to complete degree requirements in three or three and one-half years of study. For further details, see the Academic Regulations section, or contact the Office of Admissions.