Office of the Registrar

Guide to Completing the Declaration of Major

General Information

The Declaration of Major form must be completed to advance from sophomore to junior standing. It is typically completed during the second semester of a student's sophomore year.

To advance to junior standing, students must have completed a minimum of 13 units (including transfer credit), but the form may be submitted prior to that. Students must declare the major during the semester at the conclusion of which they will have completed 16 units or more (excluding Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate credit).

There are two different forms depending on whether you are using the 2018 requirements (Humanities, Groups A-D and X) or the 2019 requirements (Humanities, Groups 1-3). The forms are available in Eliot 311, and are available on the Registrar's Office Forms page: Declaration form for 2018 requirements (PDF), and Declaration form for the 2019 requirements (PDF)

We recommend using ATLAS, our new degree progress tracking tool, to check your requirements. ATLAS can be accessed via IRIS or at Information about using ATLAS may be found at

Major planners are also available for each major and established interdisciplinary programs: Major planners for the 2018 requirements, and Major planners for the 2019 requirements.

Completing the Form

The registrar's office keeps paperless files, which means the Declaration of Major form will be scanned and stored electronically. Please write legibly and in black or dark blue ink. If you use pencil, please be sure it's dark and there is good contrast. Writing with light pencil may not be picked up by the scanner.

When you complete the form, for each course write the department and course number rather than the course title. For example, write "FREN 210" instead of "Second Year French."

Psychology majors must submit an additional form along with the Declaration of Major form: Declaration of Allied Field form.

Chronological Course Plan

It may be useful to start on the reverse side of the form, the Chronological Course Plan. For each semester, write the courses that you are taking or plan to take. You may not know precisely what is being offered future semesters at the time you complete the form. We ask that you list the type of course, e.g. “ANTH 3XX” for an upper division anthropology course. We want to be sure you have a good idea of what you need to do to complete your degree requirements. Once the form is filed, it is up to you, with your adviser’s help, to choose the specific courses to meet your requirements.

The Chronological Course Plan should add up to at least 30 units, including Reed courses and any transfer credit. If you have transfer credit (including exam credit –AP, IB, etc.), list them in the AP & Transfer Coursework section. If you were a transfer student, include your courses from your prior institution(s) in the first (and second) year blocks as needed.

If you are doing a fifth (or more) year, note that on the form by and either fit the courses in the eight semesters or append an additional page.

Requirements for the Degree

On the front side of the form, indicate which courses are being used to fulfill the requirements. The courses listed on the front side will not necessarily add up to 30 units.

For courses that you have completed, list them in the "Applied" column. If the courses are in progress or will be taken in the future, list them in the "Remaining" column. Note the department and number (CHEM 101, REL 153, RUSS 120 etc) rather than course titles.

In the "Distribution" section, indicate which courses are being used for Group requirements. For Humanities, it will be 110 (unless you are a transfer student of sophomore or junior standing, in which case there are options).

For the 2018 distribution requirements, courses in your major department may be used for one of the distribution requirements. If you are completing an interdisciplinary program, with permission of the committee you may use major courses for two distribution requirements.  There are no such restrictions with the 2019 requirements.

Please note that, with the 2018 requirements, performance and studio courses in the Arts may not be used for Group A. Some Linguistics courses fulfill Group B, others Group D, and some can be both (there is a list in the linguistics section of the catalog). Group D includes language instruction. If you take a literature course, even in a language other than English, it will be classified as Group A rather than Group D. For Group C, you must complete two units coursework with a concurrent lab in Biology, or two units of coursework with a concurrent lab in the physical sciences.

If your major does not have division requirements (Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Philosophy, Religion, Psychology, Linguistics and interdisciplinary majors), leave that section blank.

For Major (Department) requirements, there is not enough space to put one class on each line. Fit them in as best you can, making sure all requirements are listed. Thesis will typically be two units, and is course number 470.

In the Quantity section, write the number of units or PE credits you have completed and have remaining. In total units include transfer credits; in total units at Reed include only units taken on the Reed campus (exclude off-campus study and transfer credit).


At least two signatures are required in order to declare the major: the student and the student's adviser. The adviser must be in the major department. If the adviser signing the form is not the student’s current adviser, the adviser will be changed without requiring a Change of Adviser form.

If the student is declaring an established interdisciplinary major, the chair or a member of the interdisciplinary committee must also sign the form (on the Adviser 2 line).

To declare an ad hoc interdisciplinary major, four signatures required in addition to the student’s signature: an adviser from each department, and the department chair of each department (the additional signatures can go in the margin of the form or on an attached page). The same four signatures are required for a double major, as well as the signatures of relevant division chairs. The double major must also be approved by petition to the Administration Committee.

In the case of multiple advisers, the adviser of record will be the one who signs as Adviser 1.

Students declaring an Alternate Biology major or a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major:

Alternate Biology: The chair of the Biology department needs to sign, as well as the adviser

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: Faculty from both departments must sign the form. For example, if the adviser is in the Biology department, a member of the Chemistry department must sign it as Adviser 2.

Submitting the form

Please turn the form into Ben Bradley in Eliot 311 or send it electronically to Ben will check for the necessary signatures and see whether the form complete and accurate. If Ben is unavailable, please leave it in the forms box in Eliot 311 and he will process it or inform you of any problems.


If you have any questions about declaring your major or filling out the form, please contact:

Ben Bradley

Last updated October 14, 2020