Declaring a Major
Declaring a major at Grinnell is an important milestone. While courses
from a single department may only account for about one-third of your
total courses, they often form an important foundation that you can
build the rest of your education around. At this critical point in
your career, the college and I ask you to evaluate your progress toward
a liberal education and describe your goals for remaining semesters.
The college's major declaration form asks you to provide a written
rationale for your proposed course of study in the liberal arts. In
your statement, I expect you to place your transcript and any unmet
academic goals in the context of the elements of a liberal education.
You should discuss your major field and/or career goals and how your
four-year plan serves these.
Your writing task is a significant one involving a great degree of
synthesis and brevity. Because this is a key milestone for planning
your individual course of study, do not be surprised to receive constructive
feedback that necessitates rewriting or revising your four year plan
I cannot overemphasize the need to plan ahead. Deadlines approach
quickly, and many other students will also be engaged in similar activities.
Also note that the department chair's signature is required; you must
leave time for scheduling a meeting with chair, perhaps allowing additional
time for taking any feedback into account that may warrant further