Academic Affairs

Curricular Programs

This page provides definitions of curricular programs, and requirements for each type of curricular program offered through Trinity College of Arts & Sciences.

The Major

Students are expected to acquire some mastery of a particular discipline or interdisciplinary area as well as to achieve a breadth of intellectual experience. They therefore complete a departmental major, a program major, or an interdepartmental major. Majors, including interdepartmental majors, are designed to give students breadth and depth in a particular discipline or interdisciplinary area.

The courses required for majors are specified by the department or academic program, and include a progression from lower to upper level courses. Departmental and program majors require a minimum of ten courses; interdepartmental majors require a minimum of fourteen courses. The total number of courses that a department/program may require at any level in the major and related departments may not exceed seventeen semester courses for the Bachelor of Arts degree and nineteen semester courses for the Bachelor of Science degree.

At least half the courses for a student's major field must be taken at Duke although individual departments and programs offering majors may require that a greater proportion be taken at Duke. Students are responsible for meeting the requirements of a major as stated in the Bulletin for the year in which they matriculated in Trinity College although they have the option of meeting requirements in the major changed subsequent to the students' matriculation.

A student who declares and completes requirements for two majors may have both listed on the official record. Two majors is the maximum number of majors that may be recorded on a student’s record.


Interdepartmental Major

A student may pursue an interdepartmental major in two Trinity College departments or programs that offer a major. The student will work with an advisor in each department to adopt an existing interdepartmental major or to design a new one. The courses of study must be approved by the directors of undergraduate studies in both departments who will define a course of study covering core features of each discipline, such as theory, methodology, and research techniques. The criteria must include at least fourteen courses split evenly between the departments. At least four of the seven courses required by each department are to be taught within the department. All courses must be among those normally accepted for a major in the two departments. The directors of undergraduate studies in the two departments must agree to an initial list of courses that the student will take in the two departments and jointly approve any subsequent changes to that course of study. Students proposing an interdepartmental major must present a descriptive title for the major and a rationale for how the program of study will help them realize their intellectual goals.


The Minor

The courses required for a minor are specified by the department/academic program. Minors require a minimum of five courses. Students may not major and minor in the same department/program with the exception of four departments in which multiple majors or concentrations are already possible: (1) Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, (2) Art, Art History, and Visual Studies, (3) Classical Studies, and (4) Romance Studies. At least half the courses taken to satisfy a minor must be taken at Duke although individual departments may require that a greater proportion be taken at Duke.


Certificate Programs

Certificate programs are a unique aspect of Duke University undergraduate education. They reflect the University's understanding of the increasingly interdisciplinary nature of research and education, not only at Duke, but in higher education generally. Certificate programs provide an opportunity for undergraduates to take advantage of Duke's status as a research university with a variety of research institutes and centers. Certificate programs may have a home in traditional departments, but they may also be housed in research centers, institutes, and programs, thereby showing Duke's commitment to building an infrastructure that supports, encourages, and sustains interdisciplinary education and research.

DEFINITION:  A Certificate Program is a course of study that affords a distinctive, usually interdisciplinary, approach to a subject matter that is not available within any single academic unit. Courses are offered across two or more departments, and no more than half of the courses can originate in any one department. All certificate programs have a required introductory course as well as a required culminating capstone course. New certificate programs are reviewed after the third year, and thereafter every five years.

There are two types of certificate programs: Type 1, the traditional certificate, consisting primarily of academic coursework, and Type 2, the experiential certificate, consisting of a combination of coursework and immersive co-curricular experiences.

DOWNLOAD: For a full description of certificate programs and requirements, click here.


Bass Connections

Bass Connections is a university-wide initiative launched by a $50 million gift from Anne and Robert Bass. Working in interdisciplinary research teams, Duke faculty and students tackle complex societal challenges. The program provides graduate and undergraduate students with greater exposure to inquiry across the disciplines, partnership with unlikely fellow thinkers, sustained mentorship in teams and the chance to experience the intersections of the academy and the broader world.


Duke Immerse

Duke Immerse provides an intensive semester-long study of a complex, global topic. Faculty and students spend the semester together engaged in a cluster of 4 courses, and may even go abroad for several weeks of global study. Two DukeImmerse pilots debuted in Spring 2012: "Black Freedom Struggles in the 20th Century: A Comparison of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States and the Anti-Apartheid Struggle in South Africa" is one, consisting of four highly interrelated history/documentary studies seminar courses and a three-week extended field trip to South Africa. The second class, "Law, Ethics, and Political Economy of Displacement," studied refugee migration issues before travelling to Nepal and Egypt. Both pilot classes received such a positive response that they’re being offered again in Spring 2013. In addition, more topics are being explored.