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Arts and Sciences Undeclared

What is Arts & Sciences Undeclared?

  • Don’t know which major to choose?
  • Enjoy history but love literature also?
  • Do you like learning about psychology but also like politics?
  • Want to spend a couple of semesters exploring different areas of study?

If this sounds like you, entering the university as an Arts & Sciences Undeclared student may be a good option. Choosing Arts & Sciences Undeclared presents you with an opportunity to explore a variety of majors so that you can make an informed choice about your area of study. Many times students encounter an area of study in their first semesters that they are surprised to find they end up really enjoying.

You are not pressed to select a major right away, but have time to determine one that complements your interests and abilities. A final decision on a major need not be made until the end of the first semester of your sophomore year.

What you will study

In the first semester, a special selection of core courses is selected for you. First-year students typically take five courses per semester. These courses meet university studies and college distribution requirements and introduce you to a variety of subjects. They usually include critical reading and writing, as well as a variety of introductory courses in the humanities, social sciences, mathematics, and sciences.

You will take a range of courses in the social sciences disciplines such as Crime & Justice Studies, Economics, Policy Studies, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology/Anthropology, and Women & Gender Studies. In the humanities disciplines, you will study in courses such as English, Foreign Literature & Languages, History, Philosophy, Portuguese, Art History, and Music.

Arts & Sciences Undeclared students have access to courses in every field of study available at the university and receive a wide liberal arts base to support success in their majors and future careers. While some students use this program as a starting point for anticipated access to a range of majors across campus, it is not often used to access majors in science, the College of Engineering, or Coleege of Visual & Performing Arts, because these departments have specific freshman year requirements. Arts & Sciences Undeclared cannot be used by anyone hoping to enter the College of Nursing. Entrance to a business major will have specific qualifications, and access may be limited to a few students.

Academic Advising

Academic advising is an important component for Arts & Sciences Undeclared students. Students are assigned to the Advisng, Support & Planning Office where professional and faulty advisors are available for advisng. This insures immediate and ongoing access to an advisor and also encourages you to develop an advising relationship that will help you to explore various disciplines, discuss experiences, receive support, and make informed decisions about future courses and direction. The ASAP office provides advising and support until the student chooses and is accepted into a major. Arts & Sciences Undeclared students come away from this transitional experience satisfied that they have selected a field of study, and perhaps a career, that suits them well and is one that they will enjoy.

The Career Center Home (CDC) works with the ASAP office to assist students in the process of self-assessment, exploring interests, values, and beliefs as well as various majors and careers.

Careers and further study

Besides the immediate goal of helping students choose a major, the Arts & Sciences program has an added benefit: through their courses, students receive a broad liberal arts base and thus have the advantage of a diverse background for their studies and future careers.

Honors and awards

Arts & Sciences Undeclared students are encouraged to participate in the University Honors College. The Honors College offers small, stimulating courses for highly motivated students. Honors courses are designed to meet general education requirements, so there is no need to declare a major before taking honors courses. Honors students may also choose to graduate as Commonwealth Scholars by taking five honors courses and completing an original independent project in their junior or senior year, but they are not required to do so. 

Incoming first-year students with a high school GPA of 3.2 and a combined math/verbal SAT score of 1150 are automatically eligible for membership in the program, but anyone may join with the permission of the program director. Continuing students at UMassD must have a university GPA of 3.2 or higher to join or remain in the program. Interested students should contact Director Catherine Gardner.

Beyond the classroom

No matter which discipline students ultimately pursue, they will find support groups of faculty and other students. Clubs and organizations exist for students in every major course of study. There are also university-wide organizations to meet other interests, including politics, the environment, radio broadcasting, publications, and student activities.


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