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

  • Students’ Short Documentary Honored at Sunset Film Festival

    Suicide Disease filmmakers at Sunset Film Festival

    A heart-wrenching film from three 2014 University of Notre Dame graduates took top honors in the short documentary category at this year’s Sunset Film Festival in Los Angeles. In The Suicide Disease, Katie Mattie, Vincent Moore, and William Neal tell the story of Frances Shavers, who worked at Notre Dame as chief-of-staff and special assistant to University President Father John Jenkins, C.S.C., before she was diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia. Read More >

  • Father Gutierrez to Receive 2014 Gittler Prize

    Rev. Gustavo Gutierrez, O.P.

    Rev. Gustavo Gutierrez, O.P., John Cardinal O’Hara Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, will receive the 2014 Joseph B. and Toby Gittler Prize from Brandeis University. Established in 2007, the Gittler Prize is annually awarded to a person whose body of published work reflects scholarly excellence and makes a lasting contribution to racial, ethnic, or religious relations. It will be formally presented to Father Gutierrez in a ceremony and talk on Sunday, October 5. Read More >

  • Alumnus Jeff Spoonhower Brings Digital Media Expertise to FTT

    Jeff Spoonhower ’99

    Jeff Spoonhower ’99 has been appointed assistant professor of film and digital media production in Notre Dame’s Department of Film, Television and Theatre (FTT). A 12-year veteran of the video game and animation industries, Spoonhower shares with students the very same production techniques and tools he uses in his award-winning professional work. Read More >

  • Video: Economics Alumnus Credits Success in International Finance to Liberal Arts Education

    Bill Kennedy

    “Arts and Letters forces you to go and think beyond what is traditionally and conventionally accepted,” said Bill Kennedy ’90. Kennedy, who majored in economics at Notre Dame, is a portfolio manager for Fidelity Investments in London, where he runs Fidelity’s International Discovery Fund. Read More >