Declaring a Major
The Dean of Studies requires all sophomores to declare a major in the second semester of sophomore year, traditionally by April 1. The various major declaration forms are available in the Slate Form Library for students. When you have decided on an advisor--see "Selecting an Advisor"--submit the online major declaration form and upload an email from your advisor confirming that they will be working with you. For the major requirements, please go to "Required Courses."
When you submit your major declaration form in Slate, it will usually take 1-2 weeks for your declaration to be officially processed in the system. You can track the progress of your form at any time in your Slate Portal. If this is your first major declaration at Barnard, your form will start with your current Pre-Major Advisor, then move to the Political Science department (plus a second department if you are declaring a double major), and then to the Registrar. If you notice that your form has had the same status for more than a few weeks, you can always get in touch with the relevant department to see if there are any issues, and you can always email email@example.com for questions and support.
When you declare your major, we will add you to our major newsletter, but please feel free to reach out beforehand and ask to join the distribution list--we can manually add you to make sure you don't miss any important announcements!
You declare a minor in political science any time after you have completed five courses in political science or in the second semester of your senior year. The Minor Form is available in the Slate for Students Forms Library. Any five courses in Political science can count towards the major; there are no requirements about taking introductory courses or taking courses in specific subfields. The most important requirement to keep in mind is that no more than one course can be taken outside of the Barnard/Columbia Political Science department--please see here for information about our external course approval process.
Declaring a Double, Combined or Special Major
Please note that a class taken Pass/D/Fail cannot be used toward any major or minor.
Double Major and Double Major with Single Integrating Project
A double major means that you intend to complete the major requirements in two departments with no overlapping courses. However, regarding the senior essay requirement you have two options:
- You can choose to write one integrating essay that will satisfy the senior essay requirements in both majors. Both departments must agree on your essay grade, including possible distinction.
-- OR --
- You can choose to write two distinct senior essays, one for each of the two major departments.
In either case you are expected to take the one-semester political science senior seminar in the fall. You will need an essay sponsor from each of the two departments with whom you must consult on a regular basis throughout the year. Both departments must agree on your potential departmental honors nomination.
You declare a double major in early April of your sophomore year or any time thereafter. The forms are available from the Registrar's web site. Note: if you are doing a complete double major, use the standard Major Declaration form; if you are doing one integrating senior essay, use the "Double Major with a Single Integrating Project" form.
After you have decided on an adviser in political science (see "Selecting an Advisor"), meet with this major advisor and obtain her or his approval signature. After you have taken the necessary steps in the other major department, including selecting your second major adviser, file the signed form with the Registrar. (See also "Types of Majors.")
A combined major is a program of study that allows you to create your own major from course offerings in two or more departments. It culminates with an integrating senior essay, requiring an adviser (a.k.a. essay sponsor) from each of the departments. Unless that particular course combination is listed in the Barnard Catalog (e.g. a combined major with Human Rights, Jewish Studies or Women's Studies), you must petition the Committee on Programs and Academic Standing (CPAS) and receive the approval of the Chairs of the sponsoring departments. Obtain forms and instructions from your Class Dean in the Dean of Studies Office. The departments must agree on your senior essay grade, including possible distinction, and on your potential departmental honors nomination. For the necessary courses, see Required Courses. (See also Types of Majors.)
A special major is a major designed by you and not normally offered at Barnard; that is, it is not listed in the catalog. A list of courses that satisfy the special major must be approved by the Committee on Programs and Academic Standing. A special major does not necessarily involve more than one department. If it does, both departments must agree on your senior essay grade, including possible distinction, and on your potential departmental honors nomination. Obtain forms and instructions from your Class Dean in the Dean of Studies Office. (See also Types of Majors.)