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

  • Washington Program Kickstarts Political and Policy Careers for Notre Dame Students

    U

    Through the Washington Program, a semester-long immersion into national politics and policy, Notre Dame students head to the nation’s capital for coursework and organized visits with policymakers, journalists, and leaders in a variety of governmental and non-governmental offices. Participants also complete internships at the White House, congressional offices, major media outlets, non-governmental organizations, and nonprofits. Read More >

  • Forthcoming Book Tells the Story of Irish-Americans' Role in Ireland's Easter Rising of 1916

    Robert Schmuhl

    Robert Schmuhl is the Walter H. Annenberg-Edmund P. Joyce Professor of American Studies and Journalism at the University of Notre Dame. He received the 2014 Hibernian Research Award in support of his forthcoming book, Ireland’s Exiled Children: America and the Easter Rising, which will be released by Oxford University Press next month, just in time to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the Easter Rising of 1916. Read More >

  • Notre Dame Junior Wins New York Times Journalism Contest

    Cassidy McDonald

    For the second time in three years, a University of Notre Dame student will be going on assignment with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nick Kristof, The New York Times announced Saturday. Junior Cassidy McDonald of Madison, Wisconsin, is this year’s winner of Kristof’s annual “Win A Trip with Nick” contest. Her prize is traveling this summer with the Times columnist to a developing country to raise awareness about neglected global issues. During the trip, she will report for a blog and may appear in videos that will be published on The New York Times website. Read More >

  • Political Science Ph.D. Wins National Public Policy Dissertation Award

    Michael Hartney

    Michael Hartney, who earned his Ph.D. in political science at the University of Notre Dame in 2014, has won the American Political Science Association’s Harold D. Lasswell Award—given annually to the best dissertation in the field of public policy. Hartney, whose research focuses on how politics shape educational opportunity, also won the Notre Dame’s Shaheen Award for the best graduate student in the social sciences. Read More >