Many students think “I need a C in this class, or it won’t count for my major.” In fact, the rules for what counts toward the major vary widely by department. These policies are set by each individual department or school--there is no universal rule.
Here are a few common approaches:
- you must earn a minimum grade (usually C or C-minus) in all classes for the major.
- you must earn a minimum grade (usually C or C-minus) in all classes for the major, BUT you can select a limited number of classes to be taken ungraded.
- you must earn a 2.0 average across all classes for the major, which means that you can earn below a C in some classes as long as you earn above a C in other classes so that it averages out to a 2.0 (C-grade).
There are also variations where certain classes need a higher grade than a C; or the courses you can choose to take ungraded must be electives, not core courses; or other possibilities. Departments may set different rules for their major and their minor, as well. And departments periodically update such rules, so the rules may change depending on when you declared.
So How Do I Learn the Rules?
Be sure that you are working with accurate information about what you need for your major. Your department website or the department page in ExploreDegrees should specify any such rule, usually in the same place as required classes for the major are discussed. If you can’t find the information, consult the SSO for your department.