Some people like to march to the beat of their own drum. That’s why we offer the ability to design a unique major that matches your specific academic and career goals.

Program Overview

If none of our current majors fit neatly with your passions, we are more than happy to help you create a program that does. The possibilities are limitless. One recent graduate who designed a social entrepreneurship major moved to Kenya to work with a firm that helps farmers throughout Africa organize and increase their pay. Other students have used the independent major option to explore a diverse range of interesting subjects, such as international development and human rights, South American economic development and human rights and social action.

The design of your independent major is largely under your control, but you’ll receive plenty of support from the College of Arts and Sciences and members of the faculty when choosing appropriate courses. Some students who opt to pursue an independent major begin to design it during their freshman or sophomore years, but you’ll have until the first semester of your junior year to submit a proposal.

As with any other major, you’ll benefit from the comprehensive education you get from fulfilling our core curriculum. Study abroad programs and various internship opportunities also are available to you. Independent majors are tied together with a final capstone project in the senior year.

Curriculum and Requirements

The independent major is designed for students who would like to focus their attention in a specific area of study not currently offered by the university. Independent major programs are designed individually by students, in consultation with a faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences. Therefore, the curriculum for this major will vary by student. All independent majors must meet the following criteria:

  • The major must consist of a minimum of 30 credits (may include some courses already completed).
  • No fewer than 24 of the 30 credits must be at the 300 level or above. Note: CAS 420 does not count.
  • The preponderance of courses must be offered by departments in the College of Arts and Sciences.
  • The major plan must include a final assessment, which can take the form of a class or a project. This assessment must be appropriate for a College of Arts and Sciences major. The final assessment plan must be submitted by the second half of the junior year, and the assessment itself must be evaluated by the student’s committee at the end of the senior year.
  • All University Curriculum requirements must be completed, outside the major.
  • All College of Arts and Sciences Curriculum requirements must be completed, outside the major

The responsibility for the planning of an independent major rests with the student proposing it, and a proposal for an independent major must contain suitable justification and a coherent curricular plan. The proposal must be submitted to the dean for approval together with written endorsements from two CAS full-time faculty members, and the approval of a three-member faculty committee, chosen by the student, which will work with the student to plan the program. 

Independent major proposals should be submitted no later than the first semester of the junior year.

Course details
Explore descriptions, schedule and instructor information using the Course Finder tool.