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Questions about Majors

What is a major?
What is a minor?
What is a limited access major?
May I double major?
How soon do I have to declare my major?
Can I change my major?

Questions about Academic Mapping

What is academic mapping?
How do I use the sample schedule?
What is a milestone?
How does mapping affect the ability to change my major?
Where can I find my academic map?
What if I have a question about a major or map?

Questions about the Exploratory Option

What is the Exploratory option?
What is the difference between choosing Exploratory and a departmental major?
What if I am not 100% sure of my major?

Questions about Majors

What is a major?
A major is your primary field of study and requires a concentration of courses within an academic area. Students choose their major based on a variety of reasons, including areas of interest, past academic achievement, or the desire to prepare for a specific profession. The number of credit hours required to complete a major varies and can range from as little as 30 semester hours, up to 90+ hours. The courses within a major begin with the fundamentals of the discipline and progress to greater depth and advanced study. In some majors, coursework begins in the first semester, while other majors do not begin until the junior year.

What is a minor?
A minor is your secondary field of study within a different academic area. The number of credit hours required to complete a minor is significantly less than the number required to complete a major and ranges from 12 semester hours to 25. Many students select their minor based on personal interests, or to gain additional skills, making them more marketable to future employers. Some departments require a minor to graduate and others do not.

What is a limited access major?
A limited access major is a major that requires formal acceptance before you can be fully admitted in the academic program. These majors often require an additional departmental application, completion of specific classes, and/or a minimum grade point average. It is important to identify special admission requirements and application deadlines which can be found by visiting the individual departmental websites or in the Academic Program Guide.

The following limited access majors require acceptance prior to the freshman year: Dance, Film (Animation and Production), Music, and Theatre.

May I double major?
You may double major at Florida State. The first major (primary major) is selected early in the academic career. The second major (secondary major) cannot be formally declared until you have earned at least 52 credit hours and are "certified" into your upper-division college.

Choosing to double major is an important decision that requires both consideration and academic planning. If the double major will add a significant amount of time to your degree program, it may be more beneficial to purse a master's degree in that area of study.

How soon do I have to declare my major?
You must declare a major upon entering Florida State. If you have questions or need more information about the majors we offer, you should visit the Academic Program Guide website. Academic advisors are also available in every department to discuss requirements and answer your questions. To find an advisor in your area of interest, go to the Advisor Search website.

If you are unsure of your academic direction, you have the option of choosing Exploratory. In the Exploratory option, you will receive support from a staff of experienced academic advisors while gaining information to make an informed decision about your major choice. The goal in Exploratory is to declare a departmental major by the third term. To learn more, please read the "Questions about the Exploratory Option" below, or go to the Advising First: Center for Exploratory Students website.

Can I change my major?
It is common for students to consider changing their academic direction at some point during their college careers. If this happens to you, it is important to seek assistance from an academic advisor in the new department to determine if the change is possible. Students who wish to change their major prior to Orientation may do so online, using the Change Form Quick Link. Students will also have an opportunity to change their major during orientation. After orientation, students must see their advisor in the new major; it can no longer be done online.

Questions about Academic Mapping

What is academic mapping?
Academic mapping was established by Florida State to provide a clear timeline of major requirements and to ensure graduation in four years. Every department has an academic map listing a sample schedule and specific milestones for each academic term. You are expected to be familiar with your academic map and to build your schedule based on the map's content. Maps for every major can be found at the Academic Program Guide website.

How do I use the sample schedule?
The sample schedule is a list of recommended courses. It is meant to serve as a general guideline and can be adjusted based on your academic background (i.e. previous AICE, AP, IB, or dual enrollment credit earned in high school).

What is a milestone?
A milestone is a specific requirement that must be completed by the end of a semester. Milestones vary by major, and can include completion of a specific course, a minimum grade required for a course, or an overall grade point average.

How does mapping affect the ability to change my major?
In order to change your major you must meet the milestones for the new major. Many majors have common milestones throughout the early semesters, making it possible to change.

Where can I find my academic map?
A map is provided for each major and can be found by visiting the Academic Program Guide website.

What if I have a question about a major or map?
Every department has an assigned academic advisor who is ready to assist you and answer your questions. To locate the advisor for your major, please visit the Advisor Search website.

Questions about the Exploratory Option

What is the Exploratory option?
If you are unsure of your academic direction and not ready to select a specific departmental major, you may enter the University through the Exploratory category. The Advising First: Center for Exploratory Students provides additional information, assistance, and support from a staff of experienced academic advisors in the major selection process.

Academic advisors working with Exploratory students utilize a set of comprehensive steps that have been proven to help students progress in their process of choosing a major. The "STEPS (Student Taking Exploratory Paths to Success) Program leads students through specific action items to move forward until they are ready to declare a departmental major. Students are expected to be active participants in their major selection process and to complete the specific steps between advising sessions.

Academic advising for Exploratory students is mandatory. It is the expectation that by fully engaging in the advising experience, students will be able to move from Exploratory into a departmental major by the end of their third term.

What is the difference between choosing Exploratory and a departmental major?
When students enter the University through the Exploratory category, the assumption is that they are uncertain of their academic major. The Exploratory advisors work closely with these students and guide them through the major selection process.

Students in the Exploratory category will complete coursework from the Liberal Studies curriculum associated with their majors of interest. Students may also begin taking early coursework and prerequisites based on the academic maps from the majors under consideration.

When students enter the University in departmental majors, the assumption is that they are comfortable with their academic direction. Coursework will reflect this decision and will be based on the academic map for that major.

What if I am not 100% sure of my major?
Students who are not 100% sure of their major, but are strongly favoring one, should go ahead and declare that as their major. Students who are seriously considering two or more majors, or whose "favorite" major changes frequently, should select the Exploratory option.