Individual Major
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CURRICULUM

Students

The Individual Majors program provides students the opportunity to design an individually tailored major when the focus of study lies outside an established department or program-based major, and/or combines multiple disciplines. To create an Individual Majors proposal, the student works closely with a faculty adviser and designs a specific curriculum of study (including a capstone course or experience), articulating the focus and goals of the major. The student’s proposal and adviser’s recommendation is submitted to the Individual Majors Committee, which reviews the proposal. Once an Individual Major is approved, any subsequent changes to the student’s curriculum or major must be approved by the Individual Majors Committee and the student’s adviser. While most Individual Majors earn a B.A., it is possible to create an Individual Major with a B.S.; this requires a minimum of 16 courses, all from within the natural sciences division.

All course work for the major must be passed with a grade of C- or better, including courses taken credit/no credit. The Individual Majors Committee takes the role of departmental/program chair for certifying the student’s completed program of study (senior audit).

The process of designing and submitting an Individual Major requires a substantial time commitment. Students who are interested in pursuing an Individual Major are encouraged to begin the process in their sophomore year by contacting a faculty adviser, reviewing the Individual Majors proposal form, and contacting the Individual Majors Committee.


COURSE LIST

If you'd like to view a full listing of our course options, please visit the Online Course Catalogue.

Click for the Course Catalogue

Previous Topics

Below is a sample list of individual majors previously created by students:

Art and Social Change
Childhood Development Through an Ecological Framework
Children and Adolescents at Risk
Children, Families and Society
Contemporary Global Conflict and Human Rights
Classical Civilization
Diversity in the Workplace
Environmental Education
Equity and Education
Expression and Interpretation
Islamic Studies
Linguistics
Modes of Discourse
Movement Science
Performance, Theories and Practice
Politics of Race
Race, Gender and Identity in the Caribbean
Social Justice
Social Psychology of Education
Sports in Society
Technology and Society
The Medieval and Renaissance World

 

GUIDELINES

Fall 2017 Individual Majors Committee Meeting Dates

September 22 - 3 p.m.
October 20 - 3 p.m.
November 17 - 3 p.m.
December 8 - 3 p.m.

Guidelines Used by the Individual Majors Committee

  1. Deadline: The Committee on Individual Majors normally does not consider proposals later than the spring term of the sophomore year. To be considered at one of the Committee's semi-monthly meetings, proposals must be received in the Registrar's Office at least one week in advance.
  2. Course requirements: An Individual Major requires 11 or 12 courses, of which at least 6 must be unique to the major. In the proposal, in addition to these 11-12 courses the student must list three potential alternates. Only one of the 11-12 courses chosen may be an introductory course. Several of the courses must be at the 300- or 400-level. In some cases, the Committee will require that a student take a particular course. An Individual Major may include a course equivalent, courses from study abroad, Honors, and/or independent study (but note restrictions below).
  3. Course restrictions: The Committee on Individual Majors cannot ever count a first-year seminar or a course with a grade below C-. Normally the Committee will also not count:
    • more than one introductory course (although you may have to take additional introductory courses as prerequisites for upper-level courses you wish to include),
    • more than two courses at the 450, 455 or 495 level,
    • more than three courses taken at another institution, introductory-level language courses,
    • more than three courses from any program or department offering its own major.
  4. Double Majors: A second full major has 11-12 courses. Each major must have at least 6 courses that are unique to it.
  5. Adviser: The student should select an adviser whose area of expertise is associated with the course work in the Individual Major. Each interdisciplinary program has a coordinator who should be consulted in setting up an Individual Major in that program. The program coordinator is responsible for reviewing and approving the course of study before it is forwarded to the Individual Majors Committee for certification. The course catalogue provides the name of the current coordinators.

Changes

When the Committee approves a major, it is approving a specific list of courses. Any changes must therefore be approved by the Committee. Forms are available in the Registrar's Office. Be sure to get Committee approval for changes before including those changes on your senior-year degree audit worksheet in the spring of your junior year. You may obtain the a set of instructions and the required forms for the declaration of an individual major in the Registrar's Office.

 

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Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Geneva, NY 14456
(315) 781-3000

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