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College of Arts & Sciences
Department of English Language and Literature


Frequently Asked Questions: Undergraduate Advising

What is a cognate?
Requirements for cognates are available in the Academic Advising Guidelines (pdf) booklet. The cognate is supposed to be a coherent set of courses (12 hours) that support the major. Cognate courses may be cross-listed with English. In other words, English majors may earn a cognate or a minor in Linguistics, Film Studies, Comparative Literature, African American Studies, or Womens Studies. However, cross-listed courses that count toward the cognate may not be double-counted toward the major.

How do I declare a minor?
Once you have declared a major, you may declare a minor by completing an Application for Minor form in the deans' advisor's office (Flinn Hall). See the Bulletin under programs for a complete list of available minors.

What is a second major?
If you're a student in the College of Arts and Sciences, you may complete a second major within the College of Arts and Sciences or the School of Music (Bachelor of Arts track only). You must complete all requirements (including general education courses and special departmental requirements) as well as the major requirements for the second major. A second major eliminates the cognate. You may request a second major by completing an application form in the deans office (Flinn Hall).

What is a second degree?
You may pursue a second undergraduate degree if you complete all requirements for both degrees and if you complete a minimum of 24 semester hours beyond those required for the first degree and a minimum of 144 semester hours altogether. Additionally, courses accepted toward any requirements (general education, major, cognate or minor) for the first degree are not applied to the major requirements for the second degree. Students pursuing second degrees are urged to consult with both deans early in the process.

How do I change my major?
In most cases, you can change your major within the College of Arts and Sciences by simply completing the necessary form in the deans office (Flinn Hall). Some majors have special admission requirements and procedures; ask the deans office about this. If you want to change to another college within the University, you must be accepted by that college. See the deans office of that college for information on eligibility requirements. If you are eligible, return to the dean's office to be released from the College of Arts and Sciences.

When should I take a foreign language?
It is advisable to complete the foreign language requirement early in the program in order to avoid delay in progress toward graduation in the event that you have difficulty with the proficiency test. Guidelines for foreign language placement are listed in the Academic Advising Guidelines booklet.

How do I take an independent study and/or internship?
You may pick up the appropriate form from the undergraduate office (Room 114, Welsh Humanities Office Building). This form then needs to be completed by the professor who will teach the course and then taken to the undergraduate office and the deans office for approval.

What is the process for petitioning for a requirement waiver?
If a student wishes to petition the College Standards and Petitions committee to waive a college requirement, s/he must obtain the appropriate petition form from the dean's office (Flinn Hall) and submits it, along with a letter of petition, to the Undergraduate Office. The petition must be approved by the undergraduate director and the chair before going to the College committee for decision.

What happens if I repeat a course?
Students cannot receive credit for the same course more than once. If a student passes a course and then repeats it in an attempt to get a higher grade, only one semester counts toward graduation. If a student has transfer credit from another school whose courses cover the material of one or more USC courses, that student cannot take the USC equivalent.