When Major or Minor Requirements Change

Students are required to declare a major upon completing 45 credits, including transfer and AP credits; they are encouraged to do so earlier. New transfer students who matriculate as sophomores, juniors, or seniors must declare a major during their first semester at Stony Brook. (See “selecting an academic major” in this bulletin.). This policy addresses a common student question: “Which requirements apply for my major or minor?”

A. Students must satisfy the requirements as published in the official undergraduate Bulletin for the semester in which the student declares the major or minor, unless overridden by conditions in B, C or D below. The “requirement term” is notated on the transcript as the declaration date for the major. See the 'declaring a major or minor' section of this Bulletin.

B. Students who declare a major or minor at the point of application without initial consultation with the department or program director must consult with the department or program director during their first semester of matriculation. Failure to do so could delay graduation. Students in this category must satisfy the requirements as published in the official Undergraduate Bulletin for the first semester of matriculation.

C. Students who return after taking time off may be assigned a new matriculation date depending on the length of absence and the degree program. Students in this category will be responsible for the academic requirements in effect at the time of their return, including but not limited to major and minor requirements and university degree requirements. (see "Leave of Absence and Returning to the University” in this Bulletin)

D. Departments may allow exceptions or modifications to individual major or minor requirements when appropriate, as determined on a case-by-case basis.

E. Students who wish to adopt a requirement term other than defined by A, B, or C above must receive documented consent from the department or program director. This consent must be transmitted to the Registrar in an approved format. Examples of when a student may wish to use a requirement term other than the default:

  1. If requirements change for a major or minor

  2. If a student has been pursuing a major or minor in practice, but has not yet declared the major or minor

  3. If a student takes time off and re-matriculates

Note: a student may have one requirement term for a major and another requirement term for a minor or second major, depending on when the student declared each.

Where course offerings have changed so that the required courses that would apply to particular students are no longer in the curriculum, the department will designate comparable alternatives to enable such students to complete the major without delaying their graduation.

Typically, the fall edition of the Bulletin is published in the preceding April and the spring edition is published in preceding November.  The April edition of the online bulletin shall encompass academic activities related to Summer Session and Fall semester enrollment. The November edition of the online bulletin shall encompass academic activities related to Winter Session and Spring Semester enrollment.

See also: “Restricted Majors” in this Bulletin.