In April, Princeton’s faculty approved curriculum changes that will allow undergraduates to pursue academic minors starting in the fall of 2023. The University also will refer to students’ primary disciplines as “majors” instead of “concentrations.”
Over a transition period of several years, Princeton’s 54 certificate programs will become minors, according to Dean of the College Jill Dolan. “The expectation is that certificates will all become minors by revising their requirements and submitting proposals … for approval,” she said. “Most certificates will make the transition easily.”
The proposal’s origins date back to 2015, when the Task Force on the Future of the Humanities suggested double majors, which Princeton does not allow due to the rigorous independent work required. After years of discussions, the Office of the Dean of the College settled on a minors proposal to “provide a meaningful, externally legible way” for students to pursue study in a secondary field or interdisciplinary studies.
Students will be permitted to earn two minors, though they may petition their residential college deans for approval to pursue three or more. The Faculty Committee on the Course of Study will set minimum requirements for a minor, typically consisting of about five to seven courses; independent work may be required.
The change in nomenclature for “majors” aimed to align Princeton with peer institutions, according to the proposal.