About Self-Designed Majors

Students may propose an self-designed major that addresses an area of special interest and that incorporates courses from two or more programs. The proposed major must be a clearly integrated series of courses that include depth as well as breadth and that fall within a unifying focus or concentration. This focus must be in a body of information that is presented in the proposal in a coherent fashion. Mere interest in two academic disciplines, however connected they appear, is not adequate justification. Vocational interests alone are also not adequate justification. The student must make a case for the self designed major having significant scholarly focus comparable to other majors at Transylvania University. Designing a major with a more specialized set of courses within a single existing program is not acceptable. Each self-designed major should be supervised by a committee of 3 faculty members or two faculty members and the Dean of the University.

The interdisciplinary major proposal itself should be thorough, detailed, and well-argued. It must clearly articulate a compelling rationale for the major as a whole, and should indicate how each proposed course fits into the overall plan of study. A list of all included courses, their program affiliation and course numbers should be included with the proposal.

Self-designed major proposals should be submitted to the Dean's Office prior to the student's junior year at Transylvania University.

Approval requires:

  1. Endorsement by faculty in two programs
  2. Clearance by the office of the Registrar regarding availability of courses
  3. Approval by the Associate Dean of the University

Administrative guidelines:

  • Typically a total of 12-14 courses are included in the self-designed major
  • No more than 8 courses in any one program (whether listed in the major or not)
  • Courses come from at least 2 academic programs
  • At least 4 courses from each of two programs
  • Student GPA above 3.0 or other evidence that student is highly motivated
  • Minimum of 4 courses @ 3000 level not including internships to ensure appropriate rigor
  • Student must have minimum of 2.0 in courses comprising the major
  • A passing grade in an appropriate senior capstone experience: seminar, senior project, research or independent study. This is assumed to be considerably beyond other coursework in the programs involved.

The advisory committee must:

  • Consult with the student and sign off on the original design of the major
  • Approve any changes in the major
  • Designate the ways in which the student will fulfill the senior requirement
  • Notify the Registrar and the Dean of the University of the details of the senior project by the beginning of the student’s senior year
  • Certify that the senior requirement has been fulfilled