Declaring a major

As part of their general education requirements toward a  Bachelor degree, all students are required to declare a major “plus one” by March 1 of their sophomore year. The Politics Department strongly encourages students to begin thinking about your plans no later than Fall semester of sophomore year, especially if you plan to study off campus as a junior. The Center for Global Education requires major declaration before a study can apply to study away from Bates, ant that deadline is often at least one month earlier than the March 1 deadline of a student’s sophomore year.

If you are interested in declaring a Politics major, we recommend you read the description of the
major requirements appropriate for your graduating class under the “Major” menu on the
department website. Note that the requirements differ if you are in a class no later than 2026
or in a class 2027 or later. In addition, a student in the class of 2025 or 2026 has the choice of
opting for the newer or older major requirements, however anyone in those classes
considering the new requirements must discuss the choice with their advisor.

When you are ready to declare, do the following:

1.  Log in to Garnet Gateway and follow the menus to record your intention to major in Politics.
This initiates the declaration process, but it is not complete until you take the remaining five

2. Go to the appropriate Politics declaration form for the old major (classes no later than 2026)
or the new major (required of classes 2027 and later and optional for classes 2025 and 2026).
You will be asked about not only the courses you have taken or are currently enrolled in, but
courses you will likely take in the future. This is not a binding contract, but it is meant to help
you plan your major towards graduation. Keep in mind that not every course listed in the course
catalog is offered every year, so this plan will be tentative.

3.  Email Associate Chair of Politics Jim Richter ( in order to schedule an
appointment. At this meeting, you will discuss any questions you have about the major as well as
your future plans for off-campus study, if any.

4.  At this meeting, the chair will assign you an academic advisor with the major in consultation
with you. While we try to give students their first choice, in order to balance workload across
Politics faculty, that may not always be possible. Keep in mind that the assignment of
academic advisor at this meeting and the assignment of a thesis advisor late in a student’s junior
year are entirely separate processes. While they could be the same person, the one does not
depend upon the other. Your academic advisor in the major replaces your FYS instructor as your
academic advisor. If you declare a second major or a minor in another department or program,
you will get another advisor there as well.

5.  After you meet with the chair, contact your major advisor for an appointment. Your advisor
will review your declaration form with you and discuss your academic progress and plans. Your
advisor will then inform Garnet Gateway that you declaration has been approved.

6.  There is still one final step to go! After you have met with the chair and your new academic
advisor in the major, return to Garnet Gateway and confirm your major selection. In other words,
the process begins with you declaring an intent to major in Politics on Garnet Gateway, and then
after meeting with the chair and your new academic advisor in the major, it ends with your
confirmation of major declaration on Garnet Gateway.

While your major, minor and GEC declarations must each begin and end on Garnet Gateway,
each department and program has its own procedure for assigning advisors. Please consult the
appropriate department or program chair or concentration coordinator for further information
about the rest of your “plus one” general education requirements.