Creating Your Area of Emphasis

You don't have to jump through a bunch of hoops to create an area of emphasis. It's simply a way to talk about your work without the formality of declaring a major. You can put your area of emphasis on resumes, graduate school applications, or any other documents that ask for your major.

Your specific area of emphasis does not appear in your transcript, and your diploma simply says Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science. If you would like your area of emphasis to appear in your academic record, you can write about it in your final Academic Statement.

An area of emphasis is shaped by what you study. 

We expect that Evergreen students will gain both breadth and depth in their studies, by taking programs or courses that cover a wide range of subjects, as well as doing more advanced in-depth work in a particular area of interest.  Sometimes students are very clear on where they plan to focus their in-depth study, but sometimes students want to talk with an advisor to evaluate what they've taken and and figure out how that is building towards an identifiable area they want to study in depth.

An area of emphasis is not the same as a major.  It’s not required, and is not official.

A typical college major is defined as a single area of study.  At Evergreen, we anticipate that as you work in interdisciplinary programs, you might bring together two or more areas of study in creating your own emphasis--e.g., media and gender studies, or environmental studies and political economy.   Of course, you might also focus on an area that can be described by a single designator--psychology, for instance, or chemistry.  An advisor would be glad to talk with you about how what you've studied could be translated into an area of emphasis.

We expect that at least half of your credits, if not more, will be in a wide range of subjects outside of your area of emphasis.

In a liberal arts education, breadth is as important as depth, so—especially in your freshman and sophomore years—your best approach is to explore all your possibilities by taking a wide range of subjects, without worrying about deciding on a focus area or about whether everything you take fits into that.

Your area of emphasis will not appear in your transcript or diploma.

Your diploma will just say "Bachelor of Arts" or "Bachelor of Science."  Your transcript will show the number of your transfer credits, if any, what you've taken at Evergreen, and will include all your evaluations. (Review general degree requirements.)

If you want to have something in your transcript that indicates your area of emphasis, you can use your Academic Statement to describe how you came to focus your studies on your particular area.

If it's not official, why would someone want to identify an area of emphasis?

Students are often asked "What's your major?" and it's often helpful to be able to give a quick answer that summarizes your academic focus.

Also, job or grad school applications often ask for your undergrad major.  It is totally fine to enter "Interdisciplinary Studies," but again, you may want something that better describes the disciplines you focused on.  If you plan to enter your area of emphasis on an official document, we strongly encourage you to meet with an advisor to verify that what you’ve taken will support that stated emphasis.

For Transfer Students

Transfer students love Evergreen for two reasons: no backtracking and no repeat classes.

Every credit you take, whether or not it relates to your area of emphasis, will count toward your degree. So, too, will all transferable credits you might bring with you. Find out how Evergreen works for transfers.

If You’re Looking at Graduate or Professional Schools

If you’re thinking about a graduate or professional school in a particular field, you need to make sure you cover any specific prerequisites for those programs. Your advisors and faculty can help you plan how to incorporate these into your studies.

Need Help Deciding? We’re Here for You

Not everybody knows what they want to do right away, and that’s totally fine.

If you want to figure out how your credits fit into an area of emphasis, visit the Career Development Center.

You can also contact Academic Advising for help planning which programs will best fit your intended area of emphasis.