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

  • Arts and Letters Faculty Win Grants from Notre Dame Research

    Great Hall windows

    Notre Dame Research has provided awards to more than a dozen College of Arts and Letters faculty members from its Internal Grants Program for 2016. The grant awardees spanned the University in four program categories: Faculty Research Support (Initiation), Faculty Research Support (Regular), Equipment Restoration and Renewal, and Library Acquisitions. Read More >

  • Four Arts and Letters Students Honored with Undergraduate Library Research Awards

    Hesburgh Library

    Sponsored by the Hesburgh Libraries and the Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE), the ULRA competition honors those who conduct original research and draws focus to the extensive sources and methods of scholarly inquiry that modern-day research libraries offer today’s students. Read More >

  • 13 Arts and Letters Faculty Honored For Exemplary Work in Undergraduate Teaching

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    Eleven faculty members from the College of Arts and Letters have won 2016 Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C., Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and two have been honored with Dockweiler Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising. The awards are presented by the Office of the Provost, and the recipients are selected through a process that includes peer and student nominations. Read More >

  • Seniors Teresa Kennedy and Connor Hayes to Receive 2016 Yarrow Award in Peace Studies

    2016 Yarrow Award Winners

    Notre Dame seniors Teresa Kennedy and Connor Hayes have been selected to receive the 2016 Yarrow Award from the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. Kennedy, an anthropology and peace studies major from Wilbraham, Massachusetts, and Hayes, a political science and peace studies major from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, will accept their awards at the Kroc Institute’s undergraduate recognition ceremony on May 13. Read More >