Design a Major

Special majors cover topics not ordinarily offered as a major at the College. Special majors are individually designed interdisciplinary majors composed of two or more related fields of knowledge. Students design special majors in consultation with faculty from appropriate disciplines.

In order to pursue a special major, a student shall petition the Committee on Academic Procedure no later than the spring semester of her sophomore year, thereby enabling her adequate time to pursue advanced work in her selected area(s). An interested student must consult with her advisor and with faculty members appropriate to the discipline involved in the proposed special major program. A faculty director must be selected and continue to advise the student throughout her program of study.

Requests to include a special major must include

  • A statement regarding the specific educational goals to be achieved in which the special major better satisfies these objectives than existing majors do.
  • An outline of the program in terms of courses of instruction. These courses must reflect three components:
  • An interdisciplinary focus. The courses selected must ensure that the program of study include courses from fields related to the subject of the special major.
  • Sequencing. A two-year tentative schedule prepared in consultation with the appropriate major area director(s) must be outlined which demonstrates how the courses will be completed.
  •  Rigor. At least 13 courses must be listed. At least six courses must be at the 200-level; at least three at the 300-level. At least four courses must be in the same discipline. No more than fifty percent of the courses selected for the special major may be taken outside the institution. Any exception to these standards, must be justified in writing to the Committee on Academic Procedure.

A letter from the faculty advisor must accompany the petition and should offer some evaluation of the student's ability and motivation to complete the program and should speak to the soundness of the proposed program. The faculty advisor is the person of primary responsibility to ensure that these guidelines for the special major are followed.