The self-designed major allows students who are interested in more than one field of study to design their own interdisciplinary major. Working with a team of faculty and staff advisors, students develop a program theme, title and description for their self-designed major as well as select classes at the 100, 200, 300 and 400 levels to complete the major. Students in a self-designed major explore how insights from multiple disciplines inform understanding of complex issues as well as the methods used by different disciplines and how these contribute to integrative understanding. Students develop skills in interdisciplinary research and problem solving, oral and written communication and the synthesis of diverse perspectives.
Students in the self-designed major will:
- Practice the skills and habits of self-directed and active learning as evidenced by designing a specialized plan of course study that best advances their intellectual and career goals.
- Plan and execute research employing the tools and perspectives from multiple disciplines as evidenced by research projects across the major and the senior Capstone.
- Analyze issues and solve problems from an interdisciplinary perspective as evidenced by class discussion participation, oral presentations, writing analytical essays and completing the senior Capstone project.
- Explore and practice possible career options through two professional internships.
Self-Designed Major Progress to Completion Requirements:
- ITS 100, SDM 285, 485; and a research methods course and a Capstone course appropriate for the self-designed course study plan (selected in collaboration with a panel composed of the coordinator of the self-designed major, the student’s academic advisor and two faculty members from majors or disciplines included in the student’s self-designed major.
- Complete a self-designed course study plan consisting of at least 28 credits (plan must include one Writing Intensive course and one Applied Quantitative Reasoning course).
- Students must declare the self-designed course study plan upon completing 45 credits.
Creating a Self-Designed Major:
Students pursuing the self-designed major work with their academic advisor to specify a theme and title, select courses totaling 28 credits, with at least 16 credits at the 300 or 400 levels and provide a description of no more than a page of how the courses singly and together support the self-designed major’s theme. Students will focus the courses around an interdisciplinary theme or topic distinct from any existing major at the college.
No more than 40% of the courses in the student’s self-designed major may come from a single major. The self-designed major proposal will include designation of one Writing Intensive course and one Applied Quantitative Reasoning course. Upon completing 45 credits students will formally submit their self-designed major course study proposal to a panel composed of the self-designed major program coordinator, the student’s academic advisor, the academic vice president and dean of faculty and two faculty members from disciplines included in the self-designed major selected by the student, for approval. Any alteration of the student’s curriculum must be approved by the coordinator of the program, the student’s academic advisor and the academic vice president and dean of faculty.
Students may not combine SDM 285 and SDM 485 into one internship experience for SDM 285 and SDM 485.