Individualized Major

This program offers junior and senior students the opportunity to develop and complete a personally designed, interdisciplinary, liberal arts major. The course of study culminates in a senior thesis/capstone.

Successful applicants to this program will normally have a cumulative grade point average 3.30 or higher, although in exceptional cases, they may demonstrate their potential in other ways.

Interest in an individualized major usually emerges through conversations with faculty. Students interested in pursuing this major will compose a committee of faculty representing at least two disciplinary perspectives. In consultation with the associate provost for curriculum and the committee of faculty, the student will create a detailed plan of study pursuing the following criteria:

  1. Statement of Objectives
    The student describes what the degree is expected to represent and why the individualized course of study is more appropriate than a traditional degree program.
  2. A Program of Study
    The student describes how the objectives will be attained through sequences of courses, reading programs, regular coursework, independent study, travel, off-campus involvement, personal consultation with faculty members or other means.
  3. A Program of Evaluation
    The student describes the criteria to be used to measure achievement of the objectives and specifies the topic of the senior thesis/capstone.
  4. A Statement of Review
    The student describes how previous coursework and life experiences have prepared him or her for the individualized study program.
  5. Letters of Recommendation
    Those faculty invited to participate on the committee of faculty will act as advisors for the student. They will submit letters that comment on the feasibility of the proposal and the student’s ability to carry it out.

Students usually make such proposals any time after the beginning of the second semester of the sophomore year. This proposal must outline a complete plan of study over the time remaining until the granting of a degree. Study plans may include any of the traditional elements from a standard B.A. or B.S. degree program. Students must complete all College of Arts and Sciences requirements, including the language requirement, as part of degree completion. All subsequent changes in the study plan or the senior thesis/capstone must be submitted in writing and approved by the committee of faculty (including the associate provost for curriculum).

Once a study plan is approved, it supplants usual degree requirements, and, when completed leads to the conferral of the B.A. degree with Special Honors.