Students, after completion of one semester of study at Dickinson (2nd semester of first year), who believe their academic goals cannot be met by the current 22 disciplinary and 20 interdisciplinary majors, 8 stand-alone minors, 3 certificates and use of electives, may make a proposal for a self-developed major.
A proposal for a self-developed major must be:
- in a coherent area of study;
- relevant to the liberal arts; and
- not substantially addressed by existing programmatic options at the college.
Pursuing a self-developed major is a rigorous and time-intensive process. The Academic Program and Standards Committee (APSC) reminds students and faculty that self-developed majors
- Will meet the same rigorous review as any new or revised major at the college ;
- Are expected to have the structure of an existing major: learning goals, hierarchy, depth, senior capstone;
- have at least 10 and no more than 16 courses and at least half of the courses completed in residence (i.e., either Carlisle or Dickinson course on a Dickinson program);
- must include courses taught by at least two different faculty members; and
- will be the student’s only major since such a proposed course of study when approved acknowledges that the student is released from the structure of a major offered at the college.
Early on, a student interested in a self-developed major will identify four (4) faculty members who will serve as the core faculty members for the self-developed major. These faculty should have expertise and/or research experience relevant to the proposed self-developed major field of learning. One of these faculty members will be the student’s primary advisor.
Once the proposal is finalized, the student will submit the completed Self-Developed Major Proposal form, the completed and signed statement from the faculty committee via email to the Academic Program and Standards Committee (firstname.lastname@example.org) for approval. Deadline for submission to APSC is: End of Add/Drop in the semester in which the student will complete his/her 16th course toward graduation.
If approved by the Academic Program and Standards Committee, the student will work with the primary advisor from The Core Faculty Committee. The student is expected to complete the program as proposed and approved. Should changes become necessary, the student will submit a request for change of the approved program, along with written support from the primary advisor.
Upon the completion of every semester, the student will submit to the Academic Program and Standards Committee (with a copy to the primary advisor) an evaluation statement of progress and commitment to the major as a whole, experience in individual courses, and work with the primary advisor. The primary advisor submits to the Academic Program and Standards Committee, and to the student, an evaluation describing the student's progress, achievement, and commitment.
At the conclusion of the student's work, the transcript describes the major as follows: Self-Developed Major: (Title).