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Exploration Term-Contract Learning

Individualized Majors

To suit their specific academic needs and interests, BSC students may design their own majors with the help of a faculty committee. Individualized majors are particularly beneficial for students whose interests differ from the available academic majors at the College. (Individualized majors are different from interdisciplinary majors, although both combine study from various disciplines.)

Historically, individualized majors have fallen into three general categories:

  1. Those designed to broaden the undergraduate experience prior to entering a specific professional career, (e.g., Political Journalism, Communications).
  2. Those designed to provide for a 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. Those designed around the student's personal interests, (e.g., Russian Studies, Classics).

Procedure for Contracting an Individualized Major:

  1. Major Design-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. (The College provides additional guidelines about the distribution of courses in different disciplines and on various levels.)
  2. Faculty Committee-Students gather a faculty committee of at least three faculty members from the disciplines in the proposed major. These faculty 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. College Committee-The proposed major must then be approved by the Exploration Term and Contract Learning Committee.
  4. Final Approval-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 fall term of their junior year.
  • Click here to see examples of previous individualized majors.
  • More information about contracting a major is available here.
  • Blank Individualized Major forms are available here in MS Word format.