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Each student must satisfy requirements of a major. Near the end of the first year, students are asked to make a declaration of intent regarding a major, either by electing a specific major or by filing an "undeclared" statement. A major may be chosen in a single subject, in one of a number of designated combinations, or in an individually designed independent major. Students are encouraged to re-examine their choices of major during the sophomore year and are required to declare a major prior to electing courses for their junior year. The respective academic departments and programs specify the courses constituting a major; requirements are detailed in the section Courses of Study.
With the consent of the departments or programs concerned, a student may change majors. Forms for officially effecting such change can be obtained from the Registrar's Office. A student may change majors at the end of the junior year if the equivalent of at least 12 credit hours with a 2.00 average has been earned in the new major. If in the senior year the average in courses completed toward the major falls below 2.00, the major requirement is not fulfilled and the degree cannot be awarded.
Any student whose major average falls below 2.00 will be placed on probation by the Committee on Academic Standing. A student who fails to regain a 2.00 major average in the subsequent semester has lost the right to continue with that major. Each department or program designates the courses to be calculated toward retaining the major.
Minors In addition to a major, students may also elect a minor. A minor normally consists of five to seven courses and involves a coherent progression of courses including both introductory exposure to a field of knowledge and advanced work. A minor must include at least four courses in addition to courses taken to satisfy requirements for any major or other minor. Students must maintain a 2.00 average in the minor. Current minors are as follows:
A student may declare up to two majors and one minor or one major and two minors. All declarations must be properly approved and filed with the Registrar's Office. Requirements for majors, minors, and options are outlined in the section Courses of Study.
The option of an independent major is available to students whose academic interests do not match existing majors. A student may design an independent major and submit a detailed written proposal, prepared with the aid of one or two advisors who accept responsibility for the program throughout its course. Many such majors are interdisciplinary; in these cases, two advisors, from different departments, are required. The program must include a balance of lower- and upper-level courses normally totaling one third or more of the total credit hours required for graduation. Implementation requires the written approval of the Independent Study Committee; this approval must be obtained before the end of a student's sixth semester at Colby. Students pursuing independent majors must keep in touch with the committee, which must be notified about any changes in their program; substantial changes must be approved by the committee. The target date for independent major proposals is the 30th day of each semester. Inquiries about independent majors should be directed to the chair of the Independent Study Committee.