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

  • Notre Dame Reports Highest Level of Research Funding in a Non-Stimulus Year

    research

    The University of Notre Dame received $113 million in research awards for fiscal year 2014, the highest ever recorded at the University in a non-stimulus year and a $17 million increase over the previous year. Notre Dame received $119 million in 2010, but approximately $30 million was from government stimulus grants through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Read More >

  • Notre Dame Hosts Parenting Conference for Local Parents and Practitioners

    Darcia Narvaez

    On Saturday, September 27, the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Children and Families and the Department of Psychology will partner with Attachment Parenting International to host a day-long parenting conference, Nourishing Parents for Child Well-Being, bringing together scholars, practitioners, and professionals who work with children and families. As part of the Pathways to Child Flourishing symposium, presenters at the workshop will address a variety of topics, including birth, breastfeeding, sleep, discipline, and adult-child relationships. Read More >

  • 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 >