In the United States and Canada, an academic major is the academic discipline to which an undergraduate student formally commits. A student who successfully completes all courses established in an academic major qualifies for an undergraduate degree. The word "major" is also sometimes used administratively to refer to the academic discipline pursued by a graduate student or postgraduate student in a master's or doctoral program. The term may also apply to a focused field of an academic discipline that a student chooses at the doctoral studies level.

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  • In the United States and Canada, an academic major is the academic discipline to which an undergraduate student formally commits. A student who successfully completes all courses established in an academic major qualifies for an undergraduate degree. The word "major" is also sometimes used administratively to refer to the academic discipline pursued by a graduate student or postgraduate student in a master's or doctoral program. The term may also apply to a focused field of an academic discipline that a student chooses at the doctoral studies level. In the United States, in the second half of the 19th century, concentrated foci at the undergraduate level began to prosper and popularize, but the familiar term "major" did not appear until 1877 in a Johns Hopkins University catalogue. The major generally required 2 years of study. The minor, required one. Abbott Lawrence Lowell introduced the academic major system to Harvard University in 1910, during his presidency there. It required students to complete courses not only in a specialized discipline, but also in other subjects. Variations of this system are now definitive among tertiary education institutions in the United States and Canada. Today, an academic major typically consists of a core curriculum, prescribed courses, a liberal arts curriculum, and several elective courses. The amount of latitude a student has in choosing courses varies from program to program. Typically, the courses of an academic major are portioned in several academic terms. An academic major is administered by select faculty in an academic department. A major administered by more than one academic department is called an interdisciplinary major. In addition, some students design their own major, subject to faculty approval. Many labor economics studies report that employment and earnings vary by college major and this appears to be caused by differences in the labor market value of the skills taught in different majors. Majors also have different labor market value even after students complete graduate degrees such as law degrees or business degrees. Whereas some students choose a major when first enrolling as an undergraduate at a school, others choose one later. Some schools even disallow students from declaring a major until the end of their second academic year. A student who declares two academic majors is said to have a double major. A coordinate major is an ancillary major designed to complement the primary one. A coordinate major requires fewer course credits to complete. (Compare with academic minor and joint honours.) (en)
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http://purl.org/linguistics/gold/hypernym
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  • In the United States and Canada, an academic major is the academic discipline to which an undergraduate student formally commits. A student who successfully completes all courses established in an academic major qualifies for an undergraduate degree. The word "major" is also sometimes used administratively to refer to the academic discipline pursued by a graduate student or postgraduate student in a master's or doctoral program. The term may also apply to a focused field of an academic discipline that a student chooses at the doctoral studies level. (en)
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  • Major (academic) (en)
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