Sophomore Year FAQs

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Do I have to declare a major in "x" in order to get a job in "y"?

Absolutely not! Majoring in economics will not necessarily lead to a job in banking, nor will a major in English prevent you from obtaining a job in business. Obtaining a job is more than just the major, it is the entire package: work/internship experience, networking, interview, GPA (if applicable). A major is about a student’s interests during their college career. However, students should keep in mind that the courses they take here at Brandeis will sharpen their skills and talents in writing, working with numbers, presentations etc… Thinking about their post-graduation desires may help students in correlating what courses they want and should take. For example if you are interested in pursuing a career that deals a lot with numbers, it is probably to your benefit to take some quantitative courses.

When do I have to declare my major?

All Brandeis students must officially declare their major by the end of their fourth semester.  Transfer students with junior standing are strongly recommended to declare their major after their first semester and meet with the department to map out their major.  All students should pick up the major declaration form, meet with the appropriate Undergraduate Advising Head and Academic Advisor (in some cases), and submit the yellow copy of their signed and completed form to the Office of the Registrar in Kutz 121 before the last day of classes. 

Students who fail to officially declare their major by this deadline will have a hold placed on their SAGE account.  This hold will prevent them from making any changes to their class schedule until the major declaration form is submitted to Katie McFaddin in the Office of Academic Services (Usdan 130) or the Office of the Registrar (Kutz 121) at which time the hold will be removed. 

Is it too late to change my major?

While students must declare a major by the end of their fourth semester, they can change majors later on.  With proper planning, students can change their major, graduate on time and possibly still study abroad during the academic year or over the summer.  Since each major has a specific set of requirements, students should work closely with their advisor and/or the department's Undergraduate Advising Head to plan appropriately.

Is it better to get a 'W' notation or keep the class, but not receive a good grade?

The 'W' notation is simply a notation that signifies that you took a class and decided to withdraw from it for whatever reason.  One or two 'W' notations during your career is nothing to be concerned about.  A 'W' will not prevent you from getting into graduate school or make you less qualified for a job.  In fact, a 'W' notation is not calculated into your permanent GPA, so sometimes it is a good idea to withdraw from a class that you are struggling in (after you have exhausted available sources of support) or if you feel that a class is preventing you from focusing on your other work.  If you are proactive when choosing your classes during the add/drop period, realistic about the topic and the amount of work involved, and if you familiarize yourself with the deadlines on the academic calendar, then you have the best chance to be ready to withdraw from the class before the last day to drop without a "W" notation, should you need to do so.

How do I receive credit for my summer internship?

Students can obtain one-credit or four-credits for their summer internship. One-credit summer internships must be 5 weeks in length and 100 hours, while four-credit summer internships must be 6 weeks in length and 100 hours. To receive one-credit, students should attend an internship workshop at the end of the spring semester and register with the Rabb Summer School. To receive four-credits, students should find a faculty advisor to discuss the academic component they will complete in conjunction with the internship. Students may either sign up for the 92 course during the summer to complete the academic work as they are doing the internship and pay the Rabb Summer School or wait until the fall semester to complete the academic work after they have completed their internship.  Students who plan to sign up for the 92 during the academic semester should visit the Office of the Registrar's web site and complete the appropriate form with their faculty advisor. 

What is the difference between ‘numeric credit’ versus ’purpose credit’?

"Numeric credit" is credit that goes towards the 32 courses/128 credits that students need for the residency requirement and ultimately to graduate. Of the 32 courses (128 credits), 4 courses (16 credits) can be acquired from cross-registration, Brandeis summer school or summer study abroad program, a second semester of a Brandeis approved study abroad program, courses taken fall semester prior to matriculation for the mid-year class, and AP/IB credits.

"Purpose credit" is credit that can not go towards the residency requirement (ie. towards the 32 courses/128 credits needed to graduate), but if pre-approved can be used to fulfill a general university requirement (ie. School of Science, Quantitative Reasoning, etc…) or to fulfill a major/minor requirement. Students should visit the Office of the Registrar concerning transferring any "purpose credit" from a non-Brandeis summer school and the respective departmental Undergraduate Advising Head (UAH) to have it count towards their major/minor.

How do I receive credit for summer school?

Many students opt to take summer courses either at Brandeis Summer School or at another institution. This may allow students to try out a new course, fulfill general university requirements or make up for lost course credits (if taken at Brandeis Summer School only).

By taking summer courses at Brandeis Summer School, students may receive "numeric credit" towards their Brandeis degree based on the residency requirement. Their grade will be counted towards their grade point average. These courses can also count towards major/minor and other "purpose credit." Students must complete the Brandeis Summer School Undergraduate Transfer Credit Form with the Registrar’s Office.

Students who take summer courses at another institution are only eligible to receive "purpose credit" and must receive pre-approval from the Registrar's office in order to transfer credits back to Brandeis. These courses may only be used towards purpose credit, ie. major/minor, general university requirement etc. Students who wish to have the class count towards their major/minor must have it approved by the UAH of the department.

How can I be exempt from the foreign language requirement from a language not taught at Brandeis?

Students are required to fulfill the foreign language requirement by successfully completing a minimum of a third semester course in a language sequence.  If you wish to be exempt from the requirement from a language not taught at Brandeis you must petition the Foreign Language Oversight Committee by submitting a letter describing your formal and informal education in the language including your proficiency level in reading, writing, and speaking.

Students are strongly encouraged to begin this process as early as possible in order to ensure completion of this requirement by their expected graduation date.

What can I do with my Advanced Placement (AP) credits, and how do I claim them?

Based on a your individual situation, AP credits may be used for "purpose credit" and/or "numeric credit".  You should look at the AP chart in the University Bulletin you entered Brandeis under and confirm whether Brandeis accepts the specific AP exam you took and the score you received. 

You may receive "purpose credit" for the exam by checking to see whether the exam fulfills an university requirement and/or a particular Brandeis course.  If you have already taken the equivalent Brandeis course, you cannot claim the AP credit.

You may only receive "numeric credit" for the exam if there is a semester course credit denoted on the chart, and you have not maxed out on the 4 courses/16 course-credits that students can transfer to Brandeis based on the residency requirement.  The set of 4 courses/16 course-credits include AP/IB credits, Brandeis Summer School, a second semester of study abroad, approved courses taken while on a medical leave of absence, or approved courses taken the fall semester prior to matriculation as members of the mid-year class. 

AP scores can be claimed any time between your first and senior year.  Students should visit the Office of the Registrar in Kutz 121 to fill out the necessary paperwork to officially claim their AP credits.  If you did not send your scores to Brandeis, you will need to request to have them sent.

How can I be assigned to a new academic advisor?

Once a student officially declares a major, they will either be assigned a new academic advisor within the department or the student may request a specific faculty member who they have made a connection with. If a student wants to change their academic advisor after they have declared their major, they must pick up a new major declaration form and have it signed by the new academic advisor and the Undergraduate Advising Head of the department of their major.

However, students can always "informally" seek out advice from any of our faculty, especially the Undergraduate Advising Heads (UAHs).  UAHs are point faculty members who are available to consult with about their academic department. 

How do I take a leave of absence or withdraw from the university?

Sometimes a situation occurs that requires a student to take a leave or withdraw from the university.  We are here to support what is best for you, while also helping you to understand the different options that may be available based on your particular situation.  You should schedule an appointment to meet with your class advisor to discuss your different options and the process involved. 

Do you have questions you didn't find here?

Please call 781-736-3470 to schedule an appointment with your academic advisor, or stop by Academic Services in Usdan 130 during drop-in hours, Monday-Friday 1-5 PM, to speak with any available advisor.