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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


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Emory Academics, Majors, & Classes: What You Need to Know

Ranked #21 by US News & World Report, Emory University is a desirable destination for many college applicants. While Emory University academics are the major draw for ambitious students, the school also appeals to its 8,079 undergraduates for its high quality of life—it ranks fifth in the Princeton Review’s list of schools for Best Quality of Life, a rating based on characteristics such as the beauty, safety, and friendliness on campus, among other factors. But excellent academics and an outstanding experience make admissions competitive—the acceptance rate at Emory is just 15%. 


In this post, we’ll discuss Emory academics, majors, and classes. If you want to learn more beyond this post, check out this livestream clip where real students discuss their academic experience at Emory!


What is a Typical Emory Course Load?


To complete a degree on time (within eight full-time semesters), a student will need to take 15-16 credit hours per semester. Roughly four out of five Emory students graduate in 4 years. To earn a BA or BS degree from Emory, a student must complete a minimum of 32 academic courses that total at least 124 semester hours. In addition, students are required to complete two semester hours in physical education and one semester hour personal health course. 


Each semester, students must take between 12-19 credit hours, not counting physical education and personal health. If a student wishes to take more or less than allowed hours, they need permission from their faculty advisor and the dean in the Office of Undergraduate education. 


Outstanding students with 3.0 or higher GPAs are granted permission to take up to 22 credits, plus physical education, in their final semester. Similarly, if a student in their final semester needs fewer than 12 credits to complete their degree, they may enroll in only the number of credit hours they require.  


What are Emory’s General Education Requirements?


The general education requirements are the foundation of Emory University academics. Intended to present a broad spectrum of intellectual approaches and perspectives to students, Emory enables students to choose from a range of required Emory classes—rather than prescribe particular classes—to fulfill their general education requirement. 


Emory’s general education classes fall into three broad categories in the arts and sciences: humanities, social sciences, and the natural sciences. Through their studies at Emory, students build skills such as writing, quantitative methods, second language, and physical education while expanding their perspectives of history and culture on a micro and macro level. 


Emory University’s required range of classes are:


Range of Classes Requirements 
First-Year Seminar Classes (FSEM) Courses One course must be completed in the first two semesters 
First-Year Writing Requirement (FWRT) Courses One course must be completed in the first two semesters 
Continuing Writing (WRT) Courses Three courses—must earn a grade of C or better
Math & Quantitative Reasoning (MQR) Courses One course
Science, Nature, Technology (SNT) Courses Two courses—one with a laboratory component
History, Society, Cultures (HSC) Courses Two courses
Humanities, Arts, Performance (HAP) Courses Two-course requirement filled by taking any two HAP courses, any two additional HAL courses (where one of the HAL courses is beyond the elementary level), or one HAP and one HAL course.
Humanities, Arts, Language (HAL) Courses Two sequential courses in a single foreign language (not English), with possible exemption of one course by AP credit
Personal Health (HTH) Courses  One one-hour course 
Physical Education and Dance (PED) Courses Two one-hour courses, one of which must be the Principles of Physical Fitness (PPF) course

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What Majors Does Emory Offer?


Emory University’s academic offerings are expansive, with 86 majors, 63 minors, and 13 professional programs, offered through over 50 different departments. There are too many Emory majors to list here, but a comprehensive list of all majors offered by Emory University can be found on the Majors & Minors page of their website. A few unique and interesting Emory majors are: 


Dance and Movement Studies: While Emory University academics are better known for more bookish pursuits, the school is also steeped in the arts thanks to majors such as Dance and Movement Studies. In the pursuit of a degree in Dance and Movement, students gain competency in communicating non-verbally and grow an appreciation and awareness of a variety of different forms of movement. 


An Emory major in Dance and Movement Studies has jumpstarted many careers in dance and choreography. Dance and Movement Studies is also popularly paired as a double major, particularly in business, by students who aspire to work in art management or own their own business. 


Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS): As a WGSS major at Emory you’ll examine the role that women, gender, and sexuality have played on social, cultural, and political structures. Looking through historical, sociological, and psychological lenses, Emory WGSS students build critical thinking and analytical skills allowing them to recognize injustices and lead change. 


Emory majors in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies have gone on to careers across a broad spectrum—working in fields such as public health, advocacy, education, community development, journalism, human resources, management, law, and politics.


Ancient Mediterranean Studies: Pulling from courses taught in seven Emory departments, students majoring in Ancient Mediterranean Studies (AMS) make connections between the ancient cultures of the Near East, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. A highlight of this Emory major is the opportunity to study abroad and take part in an archeological project of other programs in Israel, Turkey, Greece, or Italy. 


A degree in Ancient Mediterranean Studies positions students for a wide variety of employment opportunities. Academia is a popular destination for Emory AMS majors, as is teaching. Other Emory AMS graduates choose employment in museums, taking jobs such as technicians, archivists, and curators, while others will seek careers as anthropologists and archeologists. 


Emory Major Logistics and Facts


Emory students may declare a major as early as the second semester of their freshman year and no later than the end of their sophomore year. No more than two concentrations are allowed at Emory—those concentrations can consist of two majors, a major and a minor, or simply a major. Almost half (48%) of Emory students double major.  


Emory academics are structured with the knowledge that approximately half of students start college undecided as to what to study. About 30% of students also change their majors at least once in their college careers, which is likely why Emory students don’t need to declare a major until the end of their sophomore year. The general education requirements also allow for the exploration of a wide variety of interests. The devoted staff of Emory’s Office for Undergraduate Education (OUE) is also available to assist students in creating their own unique educational paths. 


Life After Emory


Whether you double major or focus on a singular subject, a degree from Emory is a valuable possession, and 91% of Emory graduates go on to a job or graduate school. Those entering the workforce can expect an excellent return on their investment in Emory—their average starting salary is $56,967, which has new graduates outearning the average American worker at the beginning of their career.


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Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.