Catalogue PDF Version

Catalogue - PDF Version

Individual Majors

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 advisor 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 advisor's recommendation are submitted to the Individual Majors Committee, which reviews the proposal. The Individual Majors Committee consists of four faculty members from across HWS, two deans, and a representative from the Office of the Registrar. 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 advisor via a course swap process and form. 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. Individual Majors can be disciplinary or interdisciplinary as well.

All course work for the major must be passed with a grade of C- or better. Courses taken credit/no credit require special approval by the Individuals Majors Committee to be applied to a student's program of study. 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 advisor, reviewing the Individual Majors proposal form, and contacting the Individual Majors Committee chair for mentoring and coaching. The chair will also draw on the feedback from the Individual Majors Committee in working with the student.