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Self-Designed Majors

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The Self-Designed Major (SDM) is available for students with special objectives that cannot be met by another major offered at the College. To declare a Self-Designed Major, a student must submit a properly completed Self-Designed Major Proposal to the Registrar’s Office for consideration by the Self-Designed Major Committee, which will approve, reject, or recommend changes to the proposed major. A student is expected to submit their preliminary plan by week 5 of the Fall Quarter of their second year, and should have their final plan approved by the end of the Summer Quarter of their second year. Only Self-Designed Major Proposals that meet the requirements outlined below (which are discussed more fully in the Self-Designed Major Proposal document, available in the Registrar’s Office) will be approved.

The course and credit requirements for a Self-Designed Major are similar to those of standard majors in the catalog, but there are some important differences of which students should be aware.

A student’s plan:

  • Must meet general education requirements; and

  • Cannot be accommodated within an existing major; and

  • Must be significantly different than any existing major; and

  • Must be accomplished using existing College resources (including, but not limited to GLCA, SOCHE, approved study abroad programs, official consortial relationships, and approved collaborative arrangements)

    • Credit earned through college-sponsored study abroad and other approved experiential programs may be included in the plan pending approval of the SDM Committee.

  • Must not contain more than 3 independent studies.

The degree name:

  • Must be approved by the Self-Designed Major committee and advisors, who must consult faculty in the relevant academic disciplines; and

  • Must not match any name of a major currently offered at the college; and

  • Must not match any name of a known external major with different requirements.

  • The degree title is “Self-Designed Major: (approved name).” 

To declare a Self-Designed Major, a student must:

1. Find two advisors, primary and secondary, who represent the most significant disciplines of the proposed SDM, and who agree to accept responsibility for advising the student. The advisors must be full time faculty members. The primary advisor must be a divisional faculty member (Arts, Humanities, Sciences, Social Sciences), and the other may be any full time faculty (divisional, Language and Culture, Co-op, etc.). Both advisors must be approved by the Self-Designed Major Committee.

  • The primary SDM advisor is one of the subject area experts, and is the advisor who is principally responsible for:

    • Supervising the development of the SDM proposal and any subsequent revisions

    • Overseeing all aspects of the student’s SDM major and fulfilling the responsibilities of an academic advisor; and

    • Monitoring the student’s progress towards degree completion; and

    • Instructing a student to submit a new Proposal for a previously approved SDM that has been changed in any way; and

    • Evaluating and crediting the Senior Project.

2. Complete a preliminary degree plan, and give copies to the SDM advisors at the inception of the process.

3. Meet with academic advisors jointly for the planning of the Self-Designed Major, and again for the planning and approval of the Senior Project.

4. Complete and submit the Self-Designed Major Proposal, which includes but is not limited to:

  • The Proposed title of the Self-Designed Major as it would be printed on an academic transcript.

  • An explanation of the proposed title and evidence that it does not match a known external major with dissimilar requirements.

  • A succinct paragraph appropriate for publication on the College’s website and in publicly available documents that offers a summary of the major’s core purpose and specific goals.

  • A rationale for the major, building upon the core idea and leading to an expression of professional and/ or personal goals, including an explanation of the interconnectedness of the proposed courses and how various co-op, study abroad, and/ or Student Life activities will support the major.

  • An overview of the learning objectives the student will strive to meet through this major and a discussion of their relationship to the College’s stated liberal Arts Learning Outcomes.

  • A rationale as to why the degree would be either a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Arts.

  • Signatures of the primary and secondary advisors through which they signal their support for the proposal.

5. Once revisions are completed, submit a finalized version of the Self-Designed Major Proposal in Microsoft Word format to the Registrar’s Office.

Note: The student is responsible for collecting all materials and for submitting a complete proposal, initially using the SDM proposal form and then ultimately submitting a finalized version of the proposal to the Registrar’s Office.

The student is responsible for collecting all materials and for submitting a complete Proposal to the Registrar’s Office. Upon receipt of the Self- Designed Major Proposal, the Registrar’s Office will do an initial check for completeness, and will forward the Proposal to the Self-Designed Major Committee for review.