How to declare a business major

Learn more about how to become a business major, including what courses you'll take when and advice about choosing a minor.

Graduates next to a banner for the College of Business at commencement

How to declare a business major

Learn more about how to become a business major, including what courses you'll take when and advice about choosing a minor.

Graduates next to a banner for the College of Business at commencement

Opportunity U is continuing our conversation with Daniel Scruggs, academic advisor for the College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno. In this Part II interview we learn what it means to be a pre-business student versus a declared business student, as well as how to add additional majors, minors, or even master’s degrees to our program.

Opportunity U: If I’m a new student, I am coming in as a pre-business student with an emphasis. What does that mean? And, how is that different than declaring a major?

Daniel: Everyone comes in as a pre-business student, whether you are a transfer student or a first-year student. From there, students will take courses in different business areas, for example, marketing, economics, accounting, information systems, etc.

You do a little of everything to help you decide what you want to major in. At 18, it’s hard to decide what you want to do the rest of your life. The general University and business core courses help with the discovery process. You are usually getting these completed in the first two years. Then, sophomore year you would apply to your major in the spring semester and from that point on you are focusing on all your upper-division major courses. During your junior and senior years, you will also want to look at getting internships in your area of study, really specializing in what you want to do in your career.

Opportunity U: I remember when I was in college as a business major, I had to meet with an advisor to declare a major. Is that still true?

Daniel: Nope! You just have your mandatory meetings (with the academic advisor) your freshman year. From there, you would apply online to declare your major.

Opportunity U: Oh! Is that right?

Daniel: Yes! Once we get your online request, we review your file and then send you a decision. There are different decision options depending what courses you have completed and what you have remaining. Here are some examples:

  • If you have all of your pre-major courses completed, you are accepted into your declared major right away.
  • If you have one class left in the business core classes and some University core left, we may still accept you.
  • If you have two or more business core classes left, but have the University core completed, and have space in your schedule, we may bridge you. Bridging you means you may have the ability to take some mandatory upper-division courses while finishing your business core.

We really work on getting students accepted or bridged into their declared major.

Opportunity U: Ok, so what if I took AP, IB, or dual credit course? I might have enough credits to be considered a sophomore, but this is my first year at the University of Nevada, Reno. What would my process look like? Do I have to wait until I’ve been at the University for one and a half years before I can declare a major?

Daniel: Nope! Once you have the core done, you can submit a request to declare your major and we’ll check your transcript history.

Double majoring, minoring and changing your class schedule

Opportunity U: Nice! I know a common question is from students want to add a major or minor or dual major. What are your recommendations for an incoming student who wants to add a major or minor? 

Daniel: I always recommend getting a minor! I got a minor and enjoyed and learned from my program so much. My minor even helped with my current position working with students through human development. I also recommend a minor because it will give you a little edge.

In the College of Business, we have multiple majors where you can double-major and graduate in about the same amount of time. You may need to take some summer classes, but you’ll have two degrees when you graduate.

We even have a major with a minor that only requires one additional class. So, I recommend talking with your academic advisor early about what your options are for adding another major or minor.

I know this seems like way in the future, but we do have options to get your master’s and bachelor’s degrees at the same time. These are generally five-year programs where you’ll complete both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Students generally add a minor their sophomore year when they are declaring or getting ready to declare their major. The reason students declare another minor at this time is because minors require upper-division courses, and you can’t take upper-division courses until you are accepted into your major.

Opportunity U: Students also ask if core courses are the same in business as the core in other majors. A lot of time students believe the core courses are just English, math, social students, and science courses. As a business student, for example, what kind of core courses can I expect?

Daniel: Some of the core courses are the ones you mentioned like English and math. Your core business or general business courses include accounting, macro and micro economics, statistics, marketing, and information systems. So, your first semester in college, you are taking business-specific courses.

Opportunity U: A lot of students are taking AP, IB, dual credit courses and are hesitant to register for classes until they get certain test scores, or complete certain exams, or courses. Do you recommend students still register for classes when they are waiting for scores?

Daniel: Yes, yes, yes! We can always change your schedule! We have Advanced Registration that starts in January. Register at that time. We always can change your schedule if you get new grades or scores.

Opportunity U: Do you take the highest score? The most recent score?

Daniel: The highest score. We also have placement exams that students can take if they are not happy with other exams or courses they have taken.

Opportunity U: Can you give us an idea of the last date a student can change their classes for, as an example, the fall semester? How many times can I change my schedule? And, what are some common reasons students change their classes?

Daniel: Common reasons students change their classes are work schedules, not wanting to wake up early, wanting to take classes with their friends, and how classes in their schedule relate to each other. Once you attend academic advising and get that hold released from your student account, you can change your schedule as you please.

Changing times of the same class, like ECON 261 to ECON 261 at a different time, is fine. But, if you are planning to drop or add different classes, like ECON 261 to ART 101, I highly recommend meeting your academic advisor first so you don’t throw off your graduation date.

You generally have until the second week of school to change your schedule. But, make sure you check our website for the most current information.

Opportunity U: Daniel, thank you for taking the time to chat with us. I learned a lot about the advising process and I think this will reduce a lot of the confusion for students out there navigating college for the first time.

Daniel: Thank you for having me!


Daniel ScruggsDaniel Scruggs is an academic advisor in the College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno. He holds a bachelor’s degree in communication studies with a minor in human development and family studies and a master’s degree is in communication studies with an emphasis in education.

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