Electives are credits/courses that aren't part of your major or general education requirements, but that count towards the 120 credits required for your degree. They are courses that simply look interesting to you and possibly give you a helpful perspective on your major.

There is no list of elective courses, since one student's elective may be another student's requirement. Consider what kinds of classes you've enjoyed and look for more in that discipline. Look at the list of John Jay minors, where you can find dozens of interesting courses!

If you find that you have strong curiosity about a particular subject (Criminology, History, Psychology, Journalism, Human Rights, and Math are just a few examples), you should consider declaring a minor, which is simply a way of focusing six of your elective courses (18 credits) on one area of interest. Remember that a minor is part of the 120 total credits, and NOT in addition to those 120 credits!!

Some majors require more credits than others (e.g. the Forensic Science major requires 79 credits and a Criminal Justice Bachelor of Science major requires 42 credits), so if you have a lot of major requirements, you will need fewer electives to reach 120 credits. On average, students will likely need around 12 elective courses (36 credits) to complete their undergraduate degree.

By the end of your sophomore year (when you've earned 60 credits), you should have a pretty strong idea about which major you want to pursue. Perhaps you've also taken several elective courses by that time, which is great!

Though you may be tempted to call them "random," your choice of electives should involve some careful thought. Alternatively, with smart planning, you should have room for either a variety of different electives or a number of related courses that will add up to a minor or second major.

Your junior and senior years will likely be primarily focused on your major and completing any remaining general education requirements. There's no one "right" method to go about doing this. Creating a personalized plan that works for you can be greatly aided by meeting with an Academic Advisor

Degree Works Audit, can help you keep track of how many credits you’ve earned, what requirements you’ve completed, and what courses you still need to finish. However, the amount of elective credits still needed DO NOT appear on your audit. Remember that this is a very useful but not 100% accurate tool, so check in with an Academic Advisor. An Advisor can confirm the accuracy of your Degree Works Audit and give you some elective credit ideas based on your interests.  

NO! If you’re excited about studying abroad or arranging an internship or independent study, these can be great ways to earn elective credits towards your degree. Talk with the  Office of International Studies & Programs about doing coursework in another country. Stop by the Center for Career & Professional Development to learn about setting up an internship. If you’re interested in doing a particular kind of research, talk to the Office for Student Research & Creativity, since their staff can help you find a professor with expertise in that area and who will work with you. Remember it can be both fun and productive to think outside the box!

Depending on how your credits transferred to John Jay and even depending on whether you arrived here with a CUNY Associate degree or a previous Bachelor degree, you may have room for quite a few elective credits or very few elective credits. Talk with an Academic Advisor to determine whether you need only focus on your major or have many general education requirements you still must satisfy, and where you stand in terms of elective credit. That conversation will help you put together a plan that makes sense for you.