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Offices & Services > Academic Affairs > Faculty Handbook > Guidelines Relating to the Curriculum

H. Self-Designed Majors

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Guidelines Relating to the Curriculum

An Self-Designed Major is a coherent, interdisciplinary program of study focused on a set of intellectual issues or themes which involve several different disciplines, and which cannot be pursued within an established major. Proposals for Self-Designed Majors require approval of the Curriculum Committee.

Proposals should be submitted to the Self-Designed Major Subcommittee (of the Curriculum Committee) for evaluation. The Subcommittee consists of the Dean of the College, a faculty member and student member of the Curriculum Committee. Applications to the Curriculum Committee should be submitted at least six weeks before the end of the sophomore year, and in no case later than the end of the second term of the junior year. Double majors which include an self-designed major must by approved by the Curriculum Committee.

Before preparing a proposal, a student should discuss his or her tentative plans with several members of the faculty, especially prospective advisors for the major. A student should also discuss his or her plans with the Dean of the College prior to submitting the proposal. The final application must have the support of two faculty members who have agreed to serve as advisors for the major.


  1. The major should be comparable in difficulty and in depth to a regular major.
  2. The major should include at least 11 and no more than 13 credits, including:
    1. no more than 2 credits at the 100-level
    2. no more than 2 credits of independent study
    3. at least 4 credits of course work (i.e., excluding independent study) at the 300-level
    4. courses from at least 2 and not more than 4 departments
    5. one credit in the Self-Designed Major Senior Project 399
  3. No more than 2 courses (specifically identified and approved) may be used to satisfy requirements in both majors of a double major.
  4. The senior project is an independent study project which requires the student to bring together the principal elements of the major as a whole. The specific form of the project is determined by the major advisors and the student. The project is completed in one of the last two terms of the senior year.

All proposals should conform to the above guidelines. Requests for an exception to the above guidelines must be addressed explicitly in the application. Requests for a course substitution for an approved Self-Designed Major must be made in writing to the Curriculum Committee and have the support of both advisors.

Knox College

Printed on Wednesday, October 01, 2014