For a Notre Dame first-year student, taking an “elective” means having the option to choose a course or courses that are not strictly a part of the core requirements. Although not constrained by those requirements, an elective choice may be constrained by requirements from your intended college and major, called program requirements.

All first-years have a possible slot in their schedule each term for one elective, but if you receive credit for one or more of your required first-year courses through AP exams, SAT II exams, or transfer credit, you may have two spaces for which to select an elective.

Typically, First Year electives are used to:

  • fulfill a core requirement that you would normally take after your first year at Notre Dame,
  • complete a requirement for your intended program and major,
  • begin your study of a foreign language,
  • or explore an academic area that interests you.