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

  • Fulbright Foreign Language Teachers Introduced to American Culture at Notre Dame

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    The University of Notre Dame is hosting its ninth Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) orientation for the upcoming academic year. Sixty teachers from 28 countries, representing 15 languages, are staying on campus Aug. 9-13 (Saturday-Wednesday) and will attend a series of workshops designed to enhance their teaching in the United States. Read More >

  • Grammy Award-Winning Baritone Nathan Gunn to Serve as Artist-in-Residence at Notre Dame

    Nathan Gunn

    Internationally acclaimed, Grammy Award-winning baritone Nathan Gunn will return to his hometown in September to inaugurate his artist-in-residence series with the Department of Music at the University of Notre Dame. Gunn, a South Bend native, will spend one week each semester for the next four years teaching Notre Dame vocal students, visiting classes, coaching students as they prepare for OperaND’s annual performances, and participating in public colloquia with faculty. Read More >

  • Video: Meet Russian Major Kellie Travis

    Kellie Travis

    “To be able to read some of the very famous poems by Alexander Pushkin and other Russian poets and writers—and speak about it in Russian—is very challenging but also very rewarding,” said Kellie Travis ’14, a Russian major in the College of Arts and Letters. Russian majors at Notre Dame take a full complement of courses covering language, literature, and culture. As a student in the Russian Honors track, Travis completed a senior thesis on the Soviet Gulag forced labor camps, specifically methods of resistance in the camps. Read More >

  • ND Expert: Persecution of Christians Not Confined to Iraq

    Daniel Philpott

    As some 100,000 people flee the town and region of Qaraqosh, the largest Christian town in Iraq, international attention is being drawn to a worldwide human rights violation that has received too little notice for too long, according to Daniel Philpott, professor of political science and peace studies and director of the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Civil and Human Rights. Read More >