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Declare Your Major

In order to graduate from Ohio State you must officially declare and complete a major.

General Education (GE) courses are a great way to explore. Unless you are coming into the university 100% committed to your major, begin exploring options in your first year. If you know what you want to study, it is helpful to declare early to expedite a timely graduation. Declaring your major early not only gives you a sense of direction, but your experience also becomes more meaningful, and your motivation will be stronger. 

First of all, become familiar with the requirements of your major. You can do this by meeting with a departmental advisor. Some majors have requirements that must be met before you can declare the major. Examples of such requirements are prerequisite courses, achievement of a specified grade point average, and/or other specific admissions requirements. Many major departments require an orientation prior to declaring the major, and others require you to take a certain number of courses before meeting with your departmental advisor. It is important to find out what your chosen department requires in order to begin and remain on your degree planning timeline.

You might meet with a departmental advisor to gather more information about a particular area of study before making a commitment, or you might already be committed and need to attend a required orientation for more information. It might be a good idea to meet with your academic advisor to talk about what questions you should prepare for your first departmental advisor meeting and/or orientation.

Students choose a second major or dual (or second) degree for a variety of reasons: personal interest in the subject matter, development of knowledge and skills required for further education or for a career, or preparation for graduate or professional school. Talk to your assigned advisors about the feasibility of pursuing a second major or dual/second degree and to discuss specific requirements.

Options for Multiple Majors

Students pursuing two majors should consider early on whether they wish to complete a single degree with two majors or two degrees. 

Single Degree with Two Majors

A single degree with two majors leads to a single diploma, though both majors are noted on the student’s record and transcript.

  • You must meet the requirements for each major as set by the departments offering the majors.
  • Each major must contain at least 18 semester hours not contained in the other.
  • Overlap with the GE may be permitted where appropriate. Consult your academic advisors for more information.
  • You must complete at least 121 credit hours to earn a single degree with two majors.
  • You must complete at least 39 upper-division hours.

Two Degrees

Pursuit of two degrees leads to the award of two diplomas. The degrees will be designated separately on the student’s record and transcript.

  • You must meet the requirements for each major as set by the departments offering the majors.
  • You cannot overlap courses from either major.
  • You must earn a minimum of 30 semester hours beyond the total required for one degree (i.e., you must earn at least 151 hours).
  • You must complete at least 57 upper-division hours.
  • You must fulfill all degree requirements for both degrees.
  • Overlap between either major and the GE is not permitted, except when allowed by a particular GE category.
  • An approved petition is required to graduate with two degrees.

What is the PSP?

The Personalized Study Program (PSP) is intended for undergraduate students who wish to pursue a major that falls outside an established academic department or program. The PSP is open to any student in the Arts and Sciences once the proposed program has been approved by a faculty advisor and the Arts and Sciences college office. The PSP permits intellectually coherent majors designed by the student, assisted by faculty.

Considering a PSP

Students seeking to pursue a PSP should plan to study in a focused area outside the boundaries of a traditional academic major. By definition, a PSP is interdisciplinary, incorporating course work from at least two, and sometimes three or more, different departments.

The PSP is best suited for students who want to plan, design, and complete a major not otherwise available. If the program you want to pursue could be accomplished within the structure of an existing major, then you should complete the standard major.

Designing your own major does not mean that you will be left, academically, to find your own way; you will need at least one faculty member to advise you on your selection of courses and to approve the program. To assure that happens, you should expect to initiate contacts with faculty interested in what you are doing and willing to work with you. This advisor will be your best source of advice about what course work is most appropriate to your academic objectives.

What is the Integrated Social Studies PSP?

All of the courses for this major meet the state-mandated content area for Integrated Social Studies (grades 7-12) and may be completed in an undergraduate program by selecting the Personalized Study Program (PSP) as a major (BA), Geography as a minor. Please note that the path to teacher licensure at The Ohio State University is through a Master's of Education program (M.Ed.). Admission to M.Ed programs is competitive, and completion of the bachelor degree is no guarantee that you will be admitted to the M.Ed program. Please also note that you will need to meet with your academic advisor regarding your general education requirements and the Personalized Study Program (PSP), and a College of Education advisor regarding the Master's of Education admission and program requirements.

Getting Started

Study the current Course Offerings Bulletin: get to know what courses are offered in majors that interest you; find out whether a traditional major might not serve you just as well as the alternative PSP.

Brainstorm around the majors or classes of interest to you: write down the class or major in the middle of a blank piece of paper, and then write down all of the reasons why the discipline interests you; this can help you to focus your interests and your program of study, whether you choose a PSP or a traditional major program.

Call the departments you are interested in, ask to speak with advisors, and discuss with them the area that interests you, the PSP option, and course availability.

Make an appointment with a PSP academic advisor in Arts and Sciences Advising. Ask to see an example of a model PSP to use as a guide.

Contact key faculty, faculty you would like to work with, and discuss the PSP with them. Ask them for advice, tell them why you want to work with them, ask them for references to other faculty. Don't expect to find your advisor in the first faculty member you speak to; a simple willingness to discuss your intentions with faculty may help to make the connections that will lead you to the right advisor for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the GPA requirement to declare a  PSP?

Students must have a 3.0 cumulative GPA at Ohio State in order for a PSP to be approved.

What kind of student is a PSP right for?

Most students who complete a PSP are highly motivated and independent self-starters in need of a challenge. They are, typically, both creative and disciplined, and thrive on the interdisciplinary structure of the major, which allows them to explore a non-traditional discipline to an extent that a standard major would not permit. (As more and more interdisciplinary settings emerge in all areas of work, from business to education, study options like the PSP will become increasingly valuable and necessary.)

The PSP is an ideal option for students interested in exploring "diversity" issues and other concerns of contemporary social, political, artistic, and scientific relevance. Ohio State offers a wide array of courses taught from various intellectual perspectives, which often complement and enrich one another. This multiplicity and depth is not always readily available in the structure of a traditional major.

Will I be able to graduate in four years?

Yes. Even though this is not a "traditional" track, the PSP is still designed to be completed in four years providing the student stays on track, checks regularly with advisors and faculty and completes all general education requirements.

Is this a Major for people who aren't doing well enough to get into a "normal" major?

No. The PSP should not be thought of, nor approached, as a lesser major or option. Students who pursue the PSP major must meet high academic and University standards just like any other university major.

What can I study or what would I call my course of study?

You get to design your course of study as long as it is a coherent academic course of study, as long as you have the interest of an appropriate faculty advisor, and as long as your program is not a plan that can be covered through a traditional departmental major.

Some examples could include:

  • Social Consciousness Issues
  • Jewish / African-American Comparative History and Politics
  • Photo Journalism
  • Psychobiology
  • Biological Illustration
  • Sound Design

For more information about pursuing a PSP, schedule an appointment with a PSP advisor by calling 614-292-6961 or visiting Arts and Sciences Advising in 100 Denney Hall.

“Pre-professional” students intend to enter a professional school after earning their bachelor’s degrees. Professional schools include law, medicine, education, dentistry, and veterinary medicine, among others. Advising and Academic Services provides pre-professional advising for students interested in professional schools.

We also provide general guidance for graduate school preparation. Making an appointment with a pre-professional advisor is easy; when you call 614-292-6961 or come in (100 Denney) to schedule an appointment, request to see a pre-professional advisor in the area you are interested in.