Majors, Minors, and University Certificates

In order to receive a bachelor's degree from Rice University, students must complete the requirements for at least one major. Within some majors, students are asked to declare a particular area of specialization, or a major concentration. Students may also choose to fulfill the requirements for more than one major; such majors do not necessarily need to be in related fields. A list of majors, minors, and university certificates can be found in the General Announcements.

Declaring a Major, Minor, and/or University Certificate

Undergraduate students must declare a major during or before the spring semester of their second year. Second year students will not be permitted to register for the fall semester of their third year if they have not yet declared a major. The major declaration deadline is listed in the Academic Calendar each year. Undergraduates may declare a major at any time before this deadline and always are free to change their major by completing the appropriate form. Degree candidates will not be permitted to declare any additional majors, minors, or university certificates during their final semester after the deadline listed in the Academic Calendar.

In addition to a major, students may also choose to declare:

  • A major concentration - if required for the completion of the major
  • An interdisciplinary or departmental minor
  • A university certificate

Please Note: Students must first declare a primary major before declaring a minor or university certificate.

To declare your major, minor, and/or university certificate:

  1. Login to ESTHER.
  2. Print an unofficial transcript.
  3. Go to Student Services & Account Information > Degrees, Majors, and Minors Declared > UG Declaration and Change of Major (or Minor or University Certificate) Form.
  4. Print and fill out the form. Note: A separate form must be submitted for EACH major (or minor or university certificate) a student is adding or dropping. See below for information on dropping a declared major, minor, or university certificate.
  5. Take the completed form and transcript to the appropriate department for approval.
    1. A student’s matriculation term is the default term for the requirements of a major, minor, or certificate – be sure to discuss with the advisor the most advantageous path to pursue and indicate the appropriate catalog year on the form. Students may follow the requirements in effect for any academic year between their matriculation or graduation.
    2. Have the advisor and/or department chair for the major/minor/university certificate sign the UG Declaration and Change of Major (or Minor or University Certificate) Form.
  6. If the form cannot be signed immediately by the major (or minor or university certificate) advisor and/or department chair, leave it with the department for signature and pick it up when complete.
    Please Note: We discourage students from leaving their forms with the department to be forwarded to our office, especially during the deadline period.
  7. Return the completed form in person to the Office of the Registrar or email as an attachment to registrar@rice.edu from your official Rice email address.

To change the catalog year for your major, minor, and/or university certificate:
Students enrolled in bachelor’s programs may choose to follow the graduation general and program requirements in effect for any academic year between their matriculation or graduation. This is known as the GA Year, or Catalog Year in the university's degree audit system, Degree Works.

If at any time, even after initially declaring the major/minor/certificate, the catalog year needs to be updated for a major/minor/certificate, this can be accomplished by sending an email to registrar@rice.edu requesting a change in catalog year – students should not make this request without first discussing this option with a major (or minor or university certificate) advisor.

Dual Degrees and Double Majors

Enrolled undergraduates may declare more than one degree and major. To earn a second four-year bachelor’s degree, also known as a dual degree, currently enrolled undergraduates complete at least 30 additional semester hours at Rice University beyond the hours required for their first bachelor’s degree. For information on Dual Degree graduation requirements, click here.

After declaring one major, Rice students may choose to fulfill the requirements for an additional major (whether that major is related or unrelated to their first). When both of those majors are connected to the same degree, that is known as a double major. A student pursuing a BA degree with a major in History who chooses to declare an additional major in English, also attached to the BA degree, is a double major and not a dual degree candidate.

At Rice, students have the option to declare majors offered in different degree programs without pursuing the dual degree option. For example, a student may pursue a BS degree with a major in Physics, and choose to double major in Religion. (Rice does not award a BS with a major in Religion, only a BA.) In this scenario, the student selects the degree and major to be identified as their declared primary program. As part of completing their graduation requirements, they complete not only the degree and major requirements of their primary program, but the major requirements for their double major. Upon conferral of the BS degree with a major in Physics, the final academic transcript will include not only that notated BS degree and Physics major, but the sentence notation, “Student has additionally met the requirements for a major in Religion, normally associated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.”

Dropping a Major, Major Concentration, Minor, and/or University Certificate

Undergraduate students may choose to drop a declared major, minor, and/or university certificate after initially declaring their course of study.

Students may also choose to drop:

  • A major concentration - if required for completion of the associated major being dropped
  • An optional major concentration - if not required for the completion of an associated major, which will not be dropped
  • An interdisciplinary or departmental minor
  • A university certificate

Please Note: Students in the fall semester of their third year and beyond must have at least one declared major on their student record.

To drop a major, minor, and/or university certificate:

  1. Login to ESTHER.
  2. Go to Student Services & Account Information > Degrees, Majors, and Minors Declared > UG Declaration and Change of Major (or Minor or University Certificate) Form.
  3. Print and fill out the form. Note: A separate form must be submitted for EACH major (or major concentration or minor or university certificate) a student is dropping.
  4. Return the completed form in person to the Office of the Registrar or email as an attachment to registrar@rice.edu from your official Rice email address.

Please Note: Approval from the department (i.e., the signature of the advisor and/or department chair) is not required to drop a major, minor, or university certificate.