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COC Set To Begin Denying Triple Major Petitions

By Sanjay Basu

At a faculty meeting late last month, Committee on Curricula Chairman Arthur C. Smith announced a clarification of Institute policy toward triple and double majors.

According to Smith’s report, petitions from students requesting a third SB degree will not be granted after next add date, March 3, 2000. After this date, students will also be denied a second SB degree if they have received one SB already. All students majoring in two subjects will therefore be required to petition for both degrees simultaneously.

His report specified that MEng students will no longer be allowed to obtain a second SB if they are not registered as undergraduates at the time they petition for the degree. Other students petitioning for a second SB may need to obtain letters of approval from their advisors if they have GPAs significantly lower than 4.0.

“The new policy requires that the student petition for the second SB degree while still registered as an undergraduate, and that both degrees be completed in a four- or five-year period,” said Assistant Registrar Phoebe Minias. “Students whose cumulative average is below 4.0 will need to supply a letter from their advisors specifically addressing the suitability of attempting a second SB”

The report made by Smith at the faculty meeting constitutes a clarification of Institute policy rather than a change to Institute regulations. Students intending to receive three degrees can still petition for their degrees before March third. Graduate students and returning alumni will not be allowed to obtain second SB degrees.

“In the past, students have been allowed to petition for a second degree regardless of whether they have completed the first SB, left MIT, or gone on to graduate study at MIT,” said Minias.

Unlike many schools, MIT awards more than one degree to students who satisfy the requirements for more than one field of study. Most schools simply provide students with a single diploma listing two fields of concentration.

“In the course of reviewing petitions for multiple SBs, the committee questioned the benefit of pursuing more than two full degrees, particularly now that most science and engineering departments offer minors,” said Minias. “The committee also felt that it was inappropriate that students in advanced degree programs be allowed to receive additional bachelor’s degrees.”