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

  • Robert Sedlack Receives 2015 Ganey Award for Community-Based Research

    Robert Sedlack

    Robert Sedlack, associate professor of visual communication design in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design, is the recipient of the 2015 Rodney F. Ganey, Ph.D., Faculty Community-Based Research Award, given annually by the Notre Dame Center for Social Concerns. The award honors a Notre Dame faculty member whose research has made a contribution in collaboration with local community organizations. Read More >

  • Senior Alex Genord Builds on Experiences Abroad

    Alexandra Genord

    An internship at the Vatican. A year abroad at the University of Oxford. A senior thesis on extremist recruiting in the U.S. and the Islamic state. Senior political science and economics major Alex Genord said that each of these academic feats has been made possible by her participation in the University of Notre Dame’s Glynn Family Honors Program. Read More >

  • Cushwa Center to host meeting of the American Catholic Historical Association

    American Catholic Historical Association

    The University of Notre Dame’s Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism will host the spring meeting of the American Catholic Historical Association (ACHA) from Thursday, March 26 through Saturday, March 28 at the Notre Dame Conference Center in McKenna Hall. Read More >

  • Mary McAleese, Former President of Ireland, to Speak on Irish Peace Process

    Mary McAleese

    Former Irish president Mary McAleese will speak on “The Irish Peace Process: Where to From Here,” at 7 p.m. Monday, March 16 in the University of Notre Dame’s McKenna Hall auditorium. McAleese joins the Notre Dame faculty this spring as Distinguished Martin and Carmel Visiting Scholar in the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies. Read More >