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The Academic Advising Center

Earning Your Degree

Advisor and Student

The undergraduate curriculum in the College of Arts and Sciences at Boston College is built on a strong foundation in the liberal arts. In wide-ranging courses in humanities and sciences, you’ll learn to think critically and independently and to communicate effectively. And you’ll learn how to learn, so you’ll be prepared for the fast-changing world of work.

Students in the College of Arts and Sciences complete a carefully balanced program of Core Curriculum courses, a major, and a choice of electives. For detailed information, see Academic Policies. For information about advising in other schools and colleges at the University, see the home page for your program.

General Requirements

To graduate from the College of Arts and Sciences, you must take at least 120 credits over eight semesters. Included in the program are at least 45 credits in the Core Curriculum, usually 30 to 36 credits in a major department, and elective courses in other departments. You also are expected to demonstrate proficiency at the intermediate level in a modern foreign language or in a classical language. Ninety-six of the total 120 credits must be from departments in the College of Arts and Sciences.

The Core Curriculum

Our undergraduate Core is a set of 15 required courses that give students exposure to a wide range of possible majors. Core courses are generally three-credit courses, so they account for somewhat more than one-third of the courses and credits needed for graduation. The Core Curriculum consists of one course in writing, one in literature, one in some form of art, one in mathematics, two in natural science, two in social science, two in history, two in philosophy, two in theology, and one in Cultural Diversity. For more information, see the Core Curriculum at Boston College.

Your Major

All BC undergraduates choose at least one major from the 30-plus options. You don’t need to keep the major you indicated on your college application; in fact, students often change their minds as they explore courses and discover new fields of study.

In your first year at BC, you may register for whatever courses you like. Keep in mind, however, that there are Core requirements that will give you exposure to a wide range of possible majors. We recommend that you find a balance between Core classes and courses that interest you.

If you have a particular major in mind, you may want to sign up for a course in that subject to help you decide whether you like it.

For more information about choosing and declaring a major, see About Your Major. For information on Minors, visit the A&S Minors page.

Elective Courses

College electives are courses that do not count toward your major, minor, or Core requirements, but that fulfill credit requirements for graduation. Although the College of Arts and Sciences does not require a particular number of electives outside of the major, we encourage you to use electives to explore interests outside of your chosen field, or to supplement your major. For example, an English major may benefit from electives in philosophy, just as a political science major may be interested in economics or history electives. Choose electives based on your curiosity, your career aspirations, or simply your desire to learn something new.