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A Guide to Academics at the University of New Hampshire

This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Karoline Goulart in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.


What’s Covered:



At the University of New Hampshire (UNH), there are over a hundred different majors to choose from, all of which are organized into one of the university’s five college divisions. In this article we will discuss UNH’s five college divisions and the majors within them, the three main course areas, as well as potential capstone experiences and research opportunities.


Majors and College Divisions


Students at UNH can choose majors from the following five divisions: the College of Liberal Arts, College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, College of Health and Human Services, College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, and the Paul College Of Business and Economics. 


Incoming students who are not yet sure of their intended major can choose to begin as “undeclared” in any of these divisions. Additionally, students interested in multiple topics are encouraged to participate in multiple majors or have a major and a minor.


College of Liberal Arts


In the College of Liberal Arts, students will find programs in humanities, education and fine and performing arts. Some of the most popular majors in this division are English, communication, history, political science, and undeclared. Undeclared in particular is quite a common major, with about one third of students beginning their time at UNH as undeclared in liberal arts.


College of Life Sciences and Agriculture


The College of Life Sciences and Agriculture includes programs in biology, biomedical sciences, animal-related majors, and environmental programs. This division is particularly strong in sustainability, ecology, and wildlife biology, and students participating in those majors have access to a variety of classes, research opportunities, and related student-organizations.


The Remaining Colleges: Health, Engineering, and Business


UNH’s College of Health and Human Services includes majors like nursing, occupational therapy, health sciences, and exercise science, just to name a few.


The College of Engineering and Physical Sciences consists of majors like physics, chemistry, mathematics, and civil and mechanical engineering. 


Students at the Paul College of Business can participate in programs like business administration, hotel and hospitality management, and economics.


Course Areas


While students at UNH must select at least one major of focus, they will also be taking classes in two additional course areas as discovery and elective courses. This ensures that students are not just interacting with peers who are studying the same major as them, but are also exposed to students studying subjects different from them.


At UNH, one third of all of your classes are major specific. 


Discovery Courses


The second third of your classes are discovery, or general education courses, that come from about 10 different categories of classes that all students are required to take. Examples of discovery course categories include English, science, history, finance, and performing arts. 


Elective Courses


Lastly, students must take elective courses. This course category offers students the opportunity to take the time to really figure out what they want to major in, or to just explore different interest areas. 


Elective courses are especially useful for students who are considering doing two majors or a minor, as they can utilize some of these required courses to explore the major and minor options that they are interested in. Additionally, it is common for students to change their minds once or twice in terms of what they want to major in. If that happens, students do not have to worry because their classes will end up fitting in one of these three course areas.


Capstone Experience


Every student at UNH is required to complete a capstone experience, which is an opportunity for reflection and synthesis of knowledge and skills that is a culmination of what you’ve learned academically in your major. Capstone experiences can be either an internship, a research project or a class that tests everything that you have learned. 


For example, if you are a linguistics student at UNH, your capstone project might be to collaborate with your classmates and a native speaker to write a Turkish grammar book that explains exactly how the language works.


Research Opportunities


Getting the most out of your UNH education is more than just going to class, doing your homework, and knowing your professors. It also includes taking advantage of research opportunities.


Accessing Research Positions


There are many optional academic opportunities at UNH, including research. UNH is a Land, Sea and Space Grant institution, meaning that it receives federal funds for research in those three areas. This designation attracts faculty to UNH who not only love teaching undergraduates, but who also want to access this funding so they can be at the cutting edge of research in their particular fields.


At UNH, as early as your first or second year, you can get involved with research opportunities very easily. Whether it’s asking a professor if they have space in their lab for assistance, or if you’re asking great questions during class and a professor approaches you to participate in their research, there are plenty of research opportunities available to students.


Research as Preparation for Your Future


Participating in research at UNH can help prepare you for graduate school or future jobs and connect you with a network of different people in your industry. Additionally, UNH hosts one of the largest Undergraduate Research Conferences in the country (URC), which is held in April each year. The URC is not just open to STEM students, but also includes business, health science, and liberal arts students.


If you have a desire to do research, UNH is a great option, both because of the wide access to funding and the ease of participating in research early in your undergraduate journey.