Academics FAQs

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What is a major?

A major is your primary field of study and requires a concentration of courses within an academic area. Students may choose their major based on areas of interest, past academic achievement, or the desire to prepare for a specific profession. The number of credit hours required to complete a major varies and averages 30 credit hours.                                                                                             

What is a minor?

A minor is your secondary field of study within a different academic area. The number of credit hours required to complete a minor is significantly less than the number required to complete a major. Many students select their minor based on personal interests or to gain additional skills, making them more marketable to future employers.

What majors are available at UM?

UM offers students a unique array of learning options in our nine undergraduate schools and two graduate professional schools. For a current list of undergraduate majors, visit our Majors by School or College page.

By when do I have to declare my major?

Students must declare a major by the end of their sophomore year. By that time, they should have taken a few preliminary courses in a field that interests them. Students are advised to choose a major during their sophomore year and begin the requirements so that they have time to decide whether to continue with the same major.

The provides all essential information about course descriptions and requirements. Academic advisors are also available in every department to discuss requirements and answer your questions.

Can I change my major?

It is common for students to consider changing their academic direction at some point during their college career. If this happens to you, it is important to speak with your academic advisor. 

Are students allowed to double major within the different schools/colleges?

Yes, UM not only allows but also encourages students to pursue double majors or a combination of majors and minors across all of our nine undergraduate schools and colleges, especially in unrelated academic fields. Some major combinations might be more feasible than others, but a student’s academic advisor will be sure to lead him or her down an appropriate academic path. 

Students may declare a second major once they are admitted to UM and enrolled in classes. Students are not required to state their interest in a second major on their application for admission.

What is the general education curriculum at UM?

At UM, our general education curriculum is nontraditional. The Cognates Program comprises the Areas of Knowledge component of the University of Miami’s framework for general education.

A cognate is a major, a minor, or a group of at least three courses, for at least nine credit hours, that share a theme or focus determined by the faculty. Each cognate has course options that provide flexibility to complete it. Learn more at Cognates Search Engine.

Does UM have an honors program and, if so, how are students selected? 

The Foote Fellows Honors Program includes students from each of the nine schools and colleges at UM. The top 5 percent of admitted students are typically invited to join the program. There is no separate application for the honors program; all applicants are automatically considered. If you are admitted to UM, you will learn if you have been invited to the honors program soon thereafter. Learn more at Foote Fellows Honors Program

What other honors programs are available for students?

The University offers several honors programs designed to challenge and reward high-achieving students in a variety of fields. Learn more on our Programs of Distinction page.

Does UM provide opportunities for undergraduates to conduct research?

Absolutely, as early as the student’s second semester of their freshman year at UM! As a private research institution, UM welcomes and encourages students who would be interested in pursuing faculty-led or their own original research. Learn more at Undergraduate Research and Community Outreach.

Can I work with faculty on research projects?

Yes. Most undergraduates get involved in research by actively reaching out to professors whose current research interests them. Students conduct research across all academic disciplines regardless of their major field of study. Learn more at Undergraduate Research and Community Outreach

What is UM’s average class size?

The average class size at UM is between 17-27 students.

How accessible are the faculty?

UMs 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio gives students access to faculty across academic disciplines. Fifty percent of classes have fewer than 17 students and a large number of our undergraduates conduct research in close collaboration with faculty, doing innovative work across academic disciplines. In addition, faculty have weekly office hours, and students are welcome to visit their professors at any time.

How does academic course advising work at UM?

All UM students have an academic advisor and, typically, students meet with their advisor at least once a semester. Depending on the number of majors/minors students are pursuing across the different schools/colleges, they will have an academic advisor who specializes in each area of concentration.

Is career counseling available to help with finding a job?

Yes. The mission of our Toppel Career Center is to prepare students to make educated decisions as they explore the ever-changing landscape of careers. Please visit the center for more information.

What do UM students typically do after they graduate?

Within six months of graduation, approximately 92 percent of 2016 graduates secured post-graduation plans, including employment, graduate school, the military, and volunteer work.

What resources and facilities are available for academic assistance?

The Camner Center for Academic Resources at the University of Miami offers a multitude of resources to help manage success and advance potential.

Where can I get information on pre-professional programs?

UM offers pre-professional advising for students interested in pre-health and pre-law. For information about pre-law, visit Pre-Law Advising. For information about pre-health, visit Pre-Health Advising and Mentoring.

How many credits are required to earn a UM bachelor’s degree?

To receive a bachelor’s degree from the University, a student must earn at least 120 credit hours (more in some schools or colleges), with a C average (2.0) or better.

Are students at UM able to study abroad?

Yes. UM offers a wide variety of study-abroad options that accommodate students in all disciplines and majors. Programs can run for a year, semester, summer, or week and focus on specific topics.

Currently, UM offers over 80 programs in more than 40 countries. Students may study abroad on a program led by a faculty member, on a UM Semester-on-Location program, or on an exchange or affiliated university program. Visit the Study Abroad site to learn about the different opportunities.

Does UM offer summer programs for high school students?

Yes. The Summer Scholars Program provides a unique opportunity for high school students to study at UM and earn six credit hours.