Statement of Philosophy:
The self-designed interdisciplinary major is intended for mature and motivated students whose academic interests and goals would be best met outside the structure of any single departmental major and/or minor. Coursework is integrated around a basic theme or focus and culminates in a capstone experience. This interdisciplinary major can serve as an excellent preparation for a variety of graduate school programs and professional careers.
Study Abroad Opportunities:
Courses taken abroad can be included in a self-designed interdisciplinary major or minor.
Self-Designed Studies Major Requirements (45 Credits)
- Develop an interdisciplinary focus that combines either three or four academic disciplines. The definition of a “discipline” and examples of interdisciplinary foci are included at the end of this document.
- Identify a primary and a secondary advisor, each from a different selected academic discipline.
- Complete a minimum of 45 total credits in the selected disciplines. To ensure that coursework is suitably distributed across disciplines and levels, students must:
- Complete at least 6 credits per selected discipline. In each discipline, at least 3 credits should be at the 200-level or above.
- Complete a minimum of 12 credits at the 300/400 level. With permission of the students’ advisors, three credits of LAS 410 may count toward this requirement when it fits into the student’s area of focus.
- Count a maximum of 10 credits at the 100-level toward the 45 credits required for the major.
- Complete a 2-3 credit interdisciplinary senior capstone experience. The capstone must be approved and supervised by the student’s primary and secondary advisors. The capstone experience may take a variety of forms: a senior honors thesis, a research project for an existing disciplinary capstone course, an art exhibit or final performance, or another approved culminating project. Note: The capstone experience is not included in the 12 credits completed at the 300/400 level, and students may not use transfer credit to satisfy the capstone requirement.
- Note: Students with a self-designed interdisciplinary major may not declare another major. Minors may be declared as long as less than 50 percent of the credits between the self-designed interdisciplinary major and proposed minor overlap.
Self-Designed Studies Minor Requirements (minimum of 21 credits):
- Develop an interdisciplinary focus that combines two or three relevant academic disciplines. The definition of a “discipline” and examples of interdisciplinary foci are included at the end of this document.
- Identify a faculty advisor from one of the selected academic disciplines. This faculty advisor should be outside of the student’s declared major.
- Complete at least 21 credits in the chosen disciplines. To ensure that coursework is suitably distributed across disciplines and levels, students must:
- Complete at least 6 credits per selected discipline, with a maximum of 3 credits at the 100-level per discipline.
- Complete a minimum of 3 credits at the 300/400 level from each discipline, unique from the courses counted for the student’s major(s).
- Note: This minor may be declared with a major as long as at least 12 credits used for the self-designed interdisciplinary minor are different from those taken for the major(s). Students with an interdisciplinary minor may not declare another minor unless the coursework is 100% unique.
Approval Process for a Self-Designed Studies Major or Minor:
Self-designed interdisciplinary majors and minors require approval from the Curriculum Approval Committee. A student’s self-designed interdisciplinary major or minor should be approved by the end of their sophomore year, and in no case later than the first semester of their junior year. To propose this major or minor, students should consult with their selected advisor(s) to complete:
- A declaration form, listing the courses constituting the proposed major or minor.
- A typed, 2-3-page proposal that clearly articulates:
a. The goals, topic, or theme of the proposed major/minor.
b. How the self-designed interdisciplinary major/minor helps meet the student’s educational and vocational objectives better than existing Central College majors and/or minors.
c. A plan for the student’s intended final capstone experience (for the self-designed interdisciplinary major only). When preparing the declaration form and proposal, students and their advisors are encouraged to consult with the Curriculum Approval Committee or a Committee designee. Students will submit their completed forms and proposals to the Registrar’s Office. Final approval of the major is received from the Curriculum Approval Committee.
Proposing Changes to a Self-Designed Studies Major or Minor:
After initial approval, any subsequent changes to the students’ proposed courses must be made in writing in advance. These changes should be approved by the primary advisor and then submitted for approval to the Curriculum Approval Committee.
Students should consult with both primary and secondary advisors when planning their self-designed interdisciplinary majors or minors, when proposing changes, and when completing their capstone experience. The primary advisor is responsible for approving any proposed changes and for overseeing the final capstone experience.
Typically, a “discipline” is defined as a course of study that has a major or minor listed in the Central College Course Catalog. Exceptions can be made on a case-by-base basis (e.g., for disciplines like Geography or Data Science).
Examples of Interdisciplinary Foci:
Students are strongly encouraged to develop their own individualized interdisciplinary focus. Advisor(s) could be sought from relevant disciplines. The following are some examples of how this might be done:
- Students focusing on Allied Health could consider courses in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Psychology, Communication Studies, and Exercise Science.
- Students focusing on American Studies could consider courses in History, English, Political Science, Sociology, Anthropology, and Religion.
- Students focusing on Arts Management could consider courses in Business Management, Art, Music, and Theatre.
- Students focusing on Food Systems could consider courses in Anthropology, Biology, Environmental Studies, Political Science, and Chemistry.
- Students focusing on Gender Studies could consider courses in Psychology, Sociology, English, Anthropology, and Exercise Science.
- Students focusing on Global Health could consider courses in Anthropology, Biology, Economics, Exercise Science, Environmental Studies, Political Science, Mathematics, and Psychology.
- Students focusing on Not-For-Profit Management could consider courses in Business Management, Accounting, Communication Studies, and English.
- Students focusing on Geography could consider courses in Geography, Economics, English, History, Political Science and Sociology.
- Students focusing on Visual Communication could consider courses in Art, Computer Science, and Communication Studies.