Academic Requirements

There are three components of earning a baccalaureate degree at Emerson College:

  • Earning a minimum of 128 credit hours
  • Fulfilling all liberal arts requirements
  • Fulfilling all major requirements

While there are many possible paths to graduation, most students will automatically reach the goal of 128 credit hours by taking a typical 16-credit course load each semester for a full four years (16 credits per semester x 8 semesters = 128 credits).

Emerson’s liberal arts curriculum is broadly oriented to expose students to disciplines across the social sciences, languages, literature, natural sciences, math, and the arts. Learn more about the liberal arts curriculum through the Institute for Liberal Arts & Interdisciplinary Studies.

Emerson College offers majors and minors in the communication and arts disciplines.  In addition to Emerson’s established majors, Emerson’s Individually Designed Interdisciplinary Program (IDIP) allows students to design their own major. The Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies is also home to Emerson’s highly competitive Honors Program.

Major requirements vary widely, but generally BA and BS degree candidates complete between 9 to 11 major courses. BFA students complete between 14 and 16 major courses. Major requirements are detailed in the Undergraduate Catalog.

Beyond the liberal arts curriculum and major requirements, students have built-in flexibility to declare a minor and/or take elective courses as part of the 128 overall required credits. We invite you to meet with us to learn more.

Changing Your Major

All major changes require approval by the chair of the respective academic department. Additional requirements may exist depending on the desired major. For more information, please contact the Academic Advising Center.

Double Majoring

Students may double major by fulfilling all requirements for two majors in two separate departments. NOTE: No single course is allowed to fulfill a requirement in both majors. Students with a major in the Visual and Media Arts Department may not pursue a double major.

Taking on a second major requires a serious commitment. Most, if not all, of a student's electives may be needed to complete the second major. Many students who double major must earn beyond the minimum 128 credits in order to finish the requirements of two majors. With careful planning, however, double majors may be accomplished. We encourage any student considering a double major to meet with an advisor.

Liberal Arts

The liberal arts is an approach to undergraduate collegiate education that is broadly oriented to exposing students to disciplines across the social sciences, languages and literature, natural sciences and math, and the arts. While each major program at Emerson engages the liberal arts in a manner appropriate to its discipline(s), there is also a distinct Liberal Arts curriculum — Foundations and Perspectives — in which all students engage and accounts for more than a third of their overall educational experience. Most students follow the traditional Liberal Arts curriculum and those accepted into the Honors Program follow the Honors curriculum.


Minors consist of 16 to 20 credits of related coursework and allow students to formally explore an area outside their major. To learn what minors are offered at Emerson, consult the Undergraduate Catalog or visit the Academic Advising Center to pick up our detailed list of minors and minor requirements.

A minor is not required in order to graduate from Emerson. However, many students find that pursuing a minor is an effective and interesting way to give focus to elective credits.

To declare a minor, complete the Minor Change Request form.