Self-Designed Majors

The Process

(1) Interested students, in consultation with three faculty sponsors from at least two departments, should present a detailed written proposal of their major (which has been signed by their faculty sponsors) to the Undergraduate Studies Advisory Committee no later than Friday before the midsemester break of each semester. One of the faculty sponsors should be identified as the chair of the supervising committee.

(2) Approval of the special major will be granted by the dean, on the recommendation of the Undergraduate Studies Advisory Committee. The committee will review the proposals and communicate their recommendations to the students before the preregistration period begins. As it deliberates, the committee may ask for additional information from the student, faculty sponsors, and other colleagues in related areas to assist in further refining and rewriting the original proposal. It is the expectation that the on-campus portions of the major will relay heavily on existing courses.

(3) Special majors must culminate in a capstone essay, or, where appropriate, other work, which will be evaluated by more than one faculty member. (In most cases, it is assumed that the faculty evaluators will be the faculty sponsors.) A detailed proposal of the capstone project must be submitted to the faculty sponsors by November 1 of the senior year. It is expected that a capstone essay will consist of between 30 and 50 pages (7,500-15,000 words).

(4) Changes in an individual program need the approval of the chair of the supervising committee and the dean. If students discover midstream that they are unable to complete the special major, it may be “dropped,” but they must then complete one of the traditional departmental majors. Retroactive proposals will not be considered. Thus, these programs should be well underway by the end of the junior year.

Arts and Letters News

  • New Sleep-enhancing App, Tools Based on Notre Dame Psychologist’s Research

    Jessica Payne

    A team of Notre Dame entrepreneurs has developed a sleep-enhancing kit and app designed to boost college students’ healthy rest, memory, learning, and mental health. The approach is based on the research of Associate Professor Jessica Payne, the Nancy O’Neill Collegiate Chair in Psychology and director of the Sleep, Stress, and Memory Lab. Read More >

  • Notre Dame Graduate Wins Prestigious Native American Internship in Washington, D.C.

    Tyler Barron icon

    Before he heads to law school, Notre Dame graduate Tyler Barron ’15 will have a front-row seat for the lawmaking process. Barron, a sociology and American studies major, has been selected for the Udall Foundation’s Native American Congressional Internship Program in Washington, D.C. He will work for 10 weeks this summer with U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Arizona. Read More >

  • In Memoriam: Josephine Massyngbaerde Ford, Professor Emerita of Theology

    In memorium

    Josephine Massyngbaerde Ford, professor emerita of theology at the University of Notre Dame, died Saturday. She was 86. In 1965, when she came to Notre Dame as a New Testament and Rabbinic scholar, Ford was one of only two women on the University’s faculty, and three years later she became the first female Notre Dame faculty member to receive tenure. Read More >

  • Sociology Majors Set Sights on Business Careers

    Sarah Hart

    With her Notre Dame sociology degree in hand, Sarah Hart ’15 is headed for the business world. When she starts work as a project manager at Epic, a software development company in the health care industry, her major has her set to succeed in a corporate environment. “It’s definitely given me a wide range of skills that can be applied to almost anything,” Hart said. Read More >