Eui Young Kim

The Yale College Council announced a new process for students to declare double majors online, in lieu of a physical form.

The initiative, announced on Monday, now allows students to submit a petition for a double major through the online Yale Student Information System. Spearheaded by the Yale College Dean’s Office along with ITS and the Registrar’s Office, the new option has been available since last August. But many students remained unaware of the changes until this week, when YCC first publicly announced the project.

“Many students at Yale have been passionate about pursuing a double major, but have been deterred by the lengthy, complicated process for doing so,” said YCC President Kahlil Greene ’21. “Previously, it involved a number of printed forms and lengthy conversations. The students who double major are uniquely busy during their time at Yale and need as few barriers to entry as possible.”

YCC’s email to the student body announced the new provision and outlined the steps students can take to declare a double major. First, undergraduates must log into SIS, then click “Declare a Major/Degree” under the “Academic Information” menu, declare a first major, fill out the “Petition to Complete the Requirements of Two Majors” and meet with the residential college dean. The email also noted that both official and unofficial transcripts will record the double major. Previously, double majors did appear on official transcripts, but YCC Academics Director Sarah Pitafi ’22 noted that “there was so much misinformation about this.”

Before the new policy, students had to follow a number of steps to declare a double major. According to Director of Academic Affairs Joel Silverman, the previous policy required students to pick up a form from their residential college dean’s office, acquire signatures from the Directors of Undergraduate Studies of each major and submit the document to their dean. After approval from the residential college dean and the Office of Academic Affairs, the form would then move on to the Registrar so that the office could record the double major on a student’s academic record.

Silverman noted that this “process [took] weeks,” as it involved making “six trips through five different offices.” Pitafi echoed Silverman and added that the lengthy process was “clearly an inconvenience for anyone hoping to study more than one subject.” According to Pitafi, data from the YCC Fall Survey also indicated student concerns regarding double majors.

“Double majoring is hard enough already, so we hope that this new system will reduce some of the stress students face,” Pitafi said.

While the announcement added that the new process “would not be possible” without the help of University Registrar Emily Shandley, Shandley told the News that “the credit truly goes to” Silverman. Silverman told the News that the Office of Academic Affairs was not aware of any ongoing YCC projects regarding double majors. According to Shandley, the Office began streamlining this process last March with the help of ITS and the Registrar’s office, which resulted in the removal of DUS approval from the process.

According to Shandley, YCC members originally met with her to discuss double majors and for support in relaying information to the student body. Pitafi told the News that the new policy was “effectively [piloted]” last semester, and the YCC is excited to now share it with the entire student body.

“As we stand up new systems or develop new processes that are student-focused, I welcome the opportunity to work with student groups [to] ensure we are making good decisions about how new practices or applications will work and what their impact will be,” Shandley said.

YCC Vice President Grace Kang ’21 said that the YCC academics team is working on initiatives that previous YCC administrations have already singled out. She noted that the YCC will soon announce many “really cool surprises.”

According to Pitafi, the academics team is currently focusing on educational equality and sustainability, as well as making art courses more affordable and reducing the amount of leftover supplies thrown out.

“We’re also finding ways for courses and tutoring sessions to be more accessible and equitable for FGLI and rural students, as described in the STEM policy report,” Pitafi said. “We’re making several academic and professional mentorship programs, lobbying for exam accommodations for students who will be observing Ramadan and fasting during finals and more.”

There are around 80 possible majors offered at Yale College.

Alayna Lee | alayna.lee@yale.edu