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: Arts and Letters Major Researches Perceptions of Race at National Library of France

    Curran Cross

    During the summer of 2014, Notre Dame French and history major Curran Cross traveled to Paris to conduct research at the Bibliothèque nationale de France. His project examined the differing views of Arab and African immigrants in modern France. “My hypothesis is that the French have had centuries of experience racially mixing with people of African ancestry and this is why they view black and white race as a continuum,” said Cross, “whereas they haven’t had this kind of contact with Arabs, and so it’s viewed more starkly.” Read More >

  • A Professor, His Students, and the Power of Design

    Robert Sedlack

    On the second floor of West Lake Hall, a group of Notre Dame students is making big plans. They are focused on addressing the plight of those afflicted with HIV/AIDS in South Africa. They’re even planning a trip to Johannesburg next spring to offer hands-on assistance. But these are not biology or preprofessional studies majors. They are graphic design students exploring ways to use their talents to promote awareness and prevention of HIV/AIDS. Read More >

  • 'Gay in Christ' Conference to Be Held at Notre Dame

    ICL 'Gay in Christ' Conference

    A two-day conference, “Gay in Christ: Dimensions of Fidelity,” co-sponsored by the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Church Life (ICL) and the Gender Relations Center, will convene Friday, October 31 to explore appropriate pastoral strategies for Catholic parishioners who regard themselves as non-heterosexual, but who accept Catholic Church teaching on marriage and sexuality. Read More >

  • English Professor Kate Marshall Wins Media Ecology Book Award

    kate_marshall_icon

    Kate Marshall, Notre Dame’s Thomas J. and Robert T. Rolfs Assistant Professor of English, has been awarded the 2014 Dorothy Lee Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Culture for her book Corridor: Media Architectures in American Fiction. The award, presented by the Media Ecology Association, honors works that focus on the ethnographic or intercultural analysis of communication, perception, cognition, consciousness, media, technology, material culture, and/or the natural environment. Read More >