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

  • Video: Meet Art History Major Seán Cotter

    Seán Cotter

    Majors in art history gain a broad understanding of Western art along with opportunities for in-depth examination of particular periods, such as ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, and modern art. “There’s something I really love about the challenge that comes with the unexplored,” said Cotter. “I love the tradition that can emerge from that, and I love that I’m part of that tradition.” Read More >

  • Army Officer Earns Economics Ph.D. in Record Time

    Carl Wojtaszek

    Two years and nine months. That’s how long it took Army Maj. Carl Wojtaszek to complete his Ph.D. in Notre Dame’s Department of Economics—a little more than half the typical time. An assistant professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point since 2008, Wojtaszek received a prestigious, yet finite, award from the Army—full funding to pursue his advanced degree, but a three-year time limit to complete it. Read More >

  • Unique Collaboration Brings Scholar of Ancient Philosophy to Campus

    Diego De Brasi

    An Italian-born, German-speaking scholar of ancient philosophy will spend the 2015-16 academic year at the University of Notre Dame, supported by the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Notre Dame’s Institute for Advanced Study and Workshop on Ancient Philosophy teamed up to help secure the post-doctoral fellowship for Diego De Brasi, an assistant professor of classical philology at the University of Marburg, Germany. Read More >

  • Two Arts and Letters Faculty Members Awarded ACLS Fellowships

    Eileen Hunt Botting and John Welle

    Two faculty members from Notre Dame’s College of Arts and Letters have won fellowships this year from the American Council of Learned Societies. John P. Welle, a professor of Italian in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures and concurrent professor in the Department of Film, Television, and Theatre, was awarded the fellowship to complete his book, The Poet and the Diva: Print Media from the Golden Age of Italian Silent Film. Eileen Hunt Botting an associate professor in the Department of Political Science, received the award to support her book project, Frankenstein and the Question of Human Development. Read More >