2019-2020 Undergraduate Academic Catalog

Self-Designed Major 30 credits (Minimum)

The Self-Designed Major provides students with the opportunity to create their own individualized majors in areas of interest in which structured majors do not exist in the college, but for which we have courses which can be combined to provide an individualized course of study.  Students with unique educational, research, and career objectives that cannot be satisfied by existing majors and minors, or combinations thereof, may wish to pursue this option.  They are required to formulate clearly an area of interest and develop a coherent plan of study supported by a strong rationale, in consultation with at least one core faculty member in their area of interest.

A Self-Designed Major is appropriate for the academically-strong, self-motivated student who has a solid foundation in the liberal arts, support from a core faculty member, and a convincing argument illustrating the need to design an individualized major.

Only students with a minimum GPA of 3.0 may submit an application for the program.  Prior to developing an application, interested students should meet with Associate Professor Liv Cummins, the Self-Designed Major Advisor, who will assess the suitability of the program and, if suitable, guide the student in developing a successful SDM application.  Upon meeting with the SDM advisor, students must write a formal proposal, which includes the following two parts:

1 – Program of Study: Guided by faculty members in their area of study, students create a list of relevant courses in the self-designed major program.  The program must include areas of both breadth and depth, as well as a specific capstone course.  In addition, it must include at least two professional internships (the nature of which should be explained in the narrative; see below).  Students should include pertinent existing courses across the University, and consider potential independent studies.

2 – Narrative Argument explaining the Program of Study: This written narrative, usually 4-8 pages long, allows students to make a rationale, detailed, coherent argument for why a Self-Designed Major is the only major which can meet their particular educational and career goals, and how it will do so.  Students should describe the area of concentration and specific learning goals.  Relevant background information may be included, providing a clear sense of students’ connection to this area of study, related experiences, and how they envision using the knowledge and experience gained from the major in the future.  The narrative must also provide an explanation of each of the courses in the Program of Study and the rationale for their inclusion.  Finally, the narrative must include the name of a core faculty member with whom the student has consulted to create the Program who can speak to their ability to succeed in the major and who will serve as their academic advisor upon approval of the Self-Designed Major.

Requirements for Degree Completion for the Self-Designed Major

30 credits minimum from the Self-Designed Major Program of Study (including a capstone experience) plus two internships are required for graduation.

The student will receive a B.A., B.F.A., or B.S. degree, depending on the individualized major’s fit with the degree definitions in the Lesley University catalog.