Department and Program FAQ

  1. I don't know what my major will be, how should I select courses?
  2. When should I declare my major and choose my major advisor?
  3. As a first time student and athlete, how should I select my fall semester classes?
  4. Is the Intercollegiate Debate course [IDS 062X] designed for novices or veterans of debate?
  5. Do you have any suggestions for a first-year student interested in the health sciences?
  6. Would it be a good idea for me to take CHEM 115 AND BIOL 120 this fall?
  7. Where can I find more information about requirements for the Pre-Med or Allied Health programs?
  8. I plan on following the pre-med program, but I want to major in a field other than biology or chemistry. Is this possible?
  9. I want to major or minor in music. What music courses should I sign up for?
  10. I want to be involved in an ensemble as well as take applied music lessons, do these count towards my course load?
  11. I am planning on double majoring in Music and another field. What courses should I think about taking?
  12. I want to participate in the 3-2 MBA program for business. What courses should I think about taking?

1. I don't know what my major will be, how should I select courses?

Many first-year students do not know for sure what they want their major to be. There is time for you to work this out for most majors. We recommend that you either start your language study or continue with a language from high school. Then explore areas of interest that might develop into possible majors. Read the Registration and Requirements Overview, General Education Summary, and Course Scheduling Advice pages. The courses that you take during your exploration can lead you to take courses that may satisfy general education requirements, but even if they don't you do have room to take electives. Some majors are important to begin right away so if you are considering them you can register for an introductory course in the major as part of your exploration. Majors or programs that should begin this fall: Chemistry, Music, Pre-health, Pre-engineering.


2. When should I declare my major and choose my major advisor?

You can declare a major and choose a major advisor anytime after your first semester, although we generally advise waiting until your sophomore year. This helps you to explore the curriculum across the disciplines before making a decision. There are some majors or special programs that should be started in your first semester. They are Chemistry, Music, Pre-Health, 3-2 Engineering. If you take the beginning courses in the major while you explore the curriculum through your general education courses, your choice of major will still be open to you.


3. As a first time student and athlete, how should I select my fall semester classes?

If you are participating in a fall or winter sport, you may want to avoid taking classes or laboratories in the middle afternoon so it's easier to fold in practice times. Your coach supports the idea that academics at Willamette come first. If you must take a class or laboratory in the middle afternoon, your coach will understand. The registration coordinator will work with you during your registration appointment to meet both your academic and athletic goals. Beyond the possible time issue, you look like the other students and should choose classes based on taking general education courses, exploring possible majors, and enjoying classes that appeal to you as electives. You will have an opportunity to make schedule changes once you are on campus.


4. Is the Intercollegiate Debate course [IDS 062X] designed for novices or veterans of debate?

Our debate program accommodates novices as well as experienced debaters, so you should have no problems whatever your level. The coach is Robert Trapp (trapp@willamette.edu), and he can provide any additional information you might need.


5. Do you have any suggestions for a first-year student interested in the health sciences?

Due to prerequisites and sequencing in many of the courses for the health sciences, CHEM 115 (Introductory Chemistry I) is important to take your first semester (it is only offered in the fall). After that your language is a good option, especially if you plan to continue with a language you took in high school. The third course could be a quantitative course - calculus, statistics, or computer science. You can find more information about requirements for the pre-health requirements on the Pre-Med Advising website.


6. Would it be a good idea for me to take CHEM 115 AND BIOL 120 this fall?

While it is possible for a student to take both CHEM 115 and BIOL 120, it is not encouraged -- both classes have a 3-hour lab each week. This gives you less flexibility in your schedule as you are adjusting to college life. Because some science courses are sequenced or are taught only in the fall, you'll want to take this in consideration when choosing a single lab course. For example, of the two listed here, CHEM 115 is a better choice because it is offered only in the fall, but you can take BIOL 120 either semester.


7. Where can I find more information about requirements for the Pre-Med or Allied Health programs?

We have a Pre-Med and Allied Health Advising website. There will be an advising session for students interested in pre-health during Opening Days, where you will make contact with the pre-health advisors. As you will learn, health programs don't specify what your undergraduate major should be; they only specify certain courses you should take. A pre-medical track requires many biology and chemistry courses so pre-medical students often major in those subjects. Students interested in Allied health often major in exercise science because of course requirements for allied health programs.


8. I plan on following the pre-med program, but I want to major in a field other than biology or chemistry. Is this possible?

Yes, but you may find this a challenging path to take because you will have the requirements of the pre-med program as well as your major to satisfy. Many students before you have negotiated this path successfully. Majors in biology and chemistry are popular for students interested in the pre-med program because, in part, biology and chemistry requirements overlap with pre-med requirements. You can only take three classes plus Colloquium, so you have some decisions to make regarding your first semester classes. A possible schedule would be CHEM 115 (only offered in the fall and required for the program), a course in your intended major, and a course in a foreign language. You can get more information at the Pre-Health Advising website. Fulfilling both pre-med and a major other than biology or chemistry will require careful planning which you will do with your advisors over the four years.


9. I want to major or minor in music. What music courses should I sign up for?

To begin the music major or minor, take the Music Theory Assessment on the Saturday of Opening Days. This will determine which course is the best fit for you. Then, register for a section of MUSC 160 (Fundamentals of Music Literacy) in the Fall semester or MUSC 161 (Musicianship I) in the Spring semester.

You can find out more on the Music Information page.


10. I want to be involved in an ensemble as well as take applied music lessons, do these count towards my course load?

You will audition for ensembles after you arrive on campus during Opening Days, and you may need to adjust your schedule at that time. During ensemble auditions, you will discuss potential placements with a private teacher and be assigned to a studio if you do take lessons. There is just one exception: pianists sign up for an audition time outside Professor Jean-David Coen's office in the Rogers Music Center, Room 108.


11. I am planning on double majoring in Music and another field. What courses should I think about taking?

We recommend registering for a course in a potential second major (this will  almost certainly contribute to general education). Double majoring in Music and another discipline is quite doable and well supported in the department. Like all double majors, it will serve you to do careful planning so as to account for rotating course offerings and sequences in both disciplines. Working with your advisor and someone from each of your intended major departments is the best way to develop an effective plan.


12. I want to participate in the 3-2 MBA program for business. What courses should I think about taking?

You don't need to do anything special about this interest right now. Sign up for the courses you'll need to take based on our general education program and your intended major. Once you're all settled in and the semester has begun, make an appointment with Associate Dean Gretchen Flesher Moon to talk about the 3-2 program, and drop by the Admissions Office at the Atkinson Graduate School and chat with Juliet Valdez, the Director of Admission. She can discuss with you what you should do to strengthen your application to the program and other additional details.