I have no idea what I want to major in. How should I choose my courses? The beauty of a liberal arts degree is you are required to take courses in each of our divisions. Use this first semester to explore different departments that sound interesting. The most common way for incoming students to decide on a major is by taking courses. Since there are areas of study available at Macalester that weren’t available at your prior college or in high school, being “undecided” may actually be a benefit. About one-third of incoming Macalester students are uncertain of a major, and another third change their minds after discovering all the possibilities. So be bold and adventurous in choosing your courses. It’s the best way to learn about yourself and our curriculum.

Do you have sample schedules I should consult as I construct my desired course list? While most departments and programs provide recommendations for students interested in exploring their courses, in only a few cases, mainly the natural sciences, must these recommendations be acted upon in the first semester. Most majors require between nine and eleven courses, allowing plenty of room for exploration before declaring the major. If you have some majors in mind, reviewing the websites of those departments is a good idea. Otherwise, taking courses from various departments you find interesting is the best way to pick your classes for your first semester. You do want to think about balancing types of courses, so you don’t have four courses that are heavy reading/writing courses, or four that are all quantitative, or four that have labs. Because you will need to take courses in all four of our divisions before you graduate, having a diverse course schedule also ensures you are making progress on degree requirements while exploring the curriculum.

When must I declare my major?  Students must declare a major prior to beginning their Junior year.  Students entering Macalester as Juniors must declare their major early in their first semester with us.

How will my Transfer Credits be evaluated?  The Registrar will complete an initial Transfer Credit Evaluation determining how many total credits will be accepted and apply them to our Divisional Distribution Requirements and to the Second Language Proficiency Requirement.  Department Chairs make decisions about how transfer credits apply to major, minor or program requirements.  Students may submit petitions to have transfer credits considered for our requirements in Internationalism, United States Identities and Differences, Quantitative Thinking and Writing.  Petition forms are available on the Registrar’s website.

Are there certain courses I must take in my first semester?  Transfer students do not have any mandatory first semester courses.  However, it is wise for Transfer students to carefully review their progress on our requirements to ensure timely graduation.  This is particularly true with our Writing Requirement and our Second Language Proficiency Requirement.

How is my schedule determined? The Registrar’s Office will complete your schedule based on the preferences you list on the Fall Course Registration Choices form.  Log into the New Student Portal to access the form.  The form must be submitted by June 24, 2019.  The goal is to give each student their top choices, as space allows. Accordingly, round one involves placing students in their first choices; round two places them in their second choices, etc. You will not be placed in any course not on your list.

How likely is it I will get the courses I want? You have a very good chance of getting the courses on your list, although not necessarily at the times you wanted, when there are multiple sections of the same course.

What happens if you cannot complete my schedule with my initial course selections? We will contact you to discuss other options, in the rare circumstance we cannot complete your schedule with your initial selections. We will not put you in a course not on your list.

What could change my schedule?  Changes may be necessary once credits from your prior college are evaluated and scores become available from Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams. Accordingly, your schedule will be a bit in flux throughout the summer.

When will I receive my final course schedule? You will receive your final schedule from your advisor during Orientation.

How will my advisor be selected?  When during Orientation will I meet that person?  Academic Programs and Advising will select an advisor for you based on the Advisor Selection form.  Log into the New Student Portal to access the form.  We will arrange an appointment time for you to meet with that person.  In mid-August we will email this information to you.

When can I make changes to my course schedule?  At Orientation, you may make changes to your course schedule during your advising appointment. There is also a drop/add period at the beginning of each semester during which you can change your schedule.

Who should I contact if I have questions before I arrive on campus?

general questions about courses, degree requirements, and the registration process Academic Programs and Advising: 651-696-6036;
academicprograms@macalester.edu or
Registrar’s Office: 651-696-6200; registrar@macalester.edu
specific questions about courses, majors, minors Faculty members are available to answer questions about their department and the courses being offered. Contact information is listed on the department’s website.
language placement Academic Programs and Advising: 651-696-6036;  academicprograms@macalester.edu
deciding on majors and minors; selecting an advisor Academic Programs and Advising: 651-696-6036;  academicprograms@macalester.edu
AP/IB scores Registrar’s Office: 651-696-6200; registrar@macalester.edu
transfer credits Registrar’s Office: 651-696-6200; registrar@macalester.edu
interpreting the class schedule Registrar’s Office: 651-696-6200; registrar@macalester.edu

When is the best time to call?

Call Academic Programs and Advising at 651-696-6036 or the Registrar’s Offices at 651-696-6200 during the following days and times:

  • Monday through Thursday: 7:45 AM to 5:00 PM Central Standard Time
  • Fridays: 7:45 AM to 12:30 PM Central Standard Time

We may be assisting other students when you call, so please leave a voicemail message and someone will call you back. In some cases, we may contact you the next business day.

Can I email Academic Programs or the Registrar’s Office?

Email Academic Programs and Advising at academicprograms@macalester.edu
Email Registrar’s Office at registrar@macalester.edu