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Exploration Term-Contract Learning

Individualized Majors

In their sophomore year, a student may design an individualized major under the direction of a faculty committee of at least three faculty members representing the various disciplined involved. An individualized major differs from an interdisciplinary major in that it is not a planned program of study designed by prior agreement between two or more disciplines. Instead, an individualized major is created in response to specific needs and interests of the student. Each major, therefore, is unique and results from the joint efforts of the student and a faculty committee. Properly used, the individualized major program can be particularly beneficial for students whose interests or needs differ from the academic majors already available at the College.

BSC Students interested in contracting an individualized major should read the individualized majors section of the BSC Catalog as well as the guidelines found here.

The blank Individualized Major Contract is availabl here in MS Word format.

Historically, individualized majors have fallen into three general categories:

  1. A program of study designed to broaden the undergraduate experience prior to entering a specific professional career (e.g., Political Journalism, Communications).
  2. A program of study designed to provide background for graduate study or to aid in preparation for a specific goal (e.g., Art/Psychology to prepare for graduate school in art therapy).
  3. A program of study designed around the student's personal interests (e.g., Russian Studies, Classics).

Procedure for Contracting an Individualized Major:

  1. Students develop a statement of purpose, explaining their motivation behind contracting a major, as well as a list of suggested courses to fulfill the major. The major must have a compelling educational rationale. At least six of these courses must be in one discipline.
  2. Students gather a faculty committee of at least three faculty members from the disciplines in the proposed major. These faculty members will help the student design the major and will submit a statement of endorsement. The chair of this committee will also oversee the major.
  3. An endorsement from the committee chair supporting the aims of the major as well as verifying that the proposed major can be accommodated by the College’s existing disciplines and programs.
  4. The proposed major must then be approved by the Exploration Term and Contract Learning Committee before the end of the student’s sophomore year.
  5. Final approval of the major rests with the Provost of the College.

Other Information:

  • The individualized major must have a title and purpose that is appropriate for a liberal arts institution.
  • Students interested in contracting a major should do so by the end of their sophomore year.
  • Click here to see examples of previous individualized majors.