A Student-Designed Major should begin with conversation. Any student interested in an SDM should start by discussing it with their academic advisor or a faculty member with expertise in the SDM topic or an area related to the topic. They may also contact faculty who chair/coordinate programs that will be contribute to the major.
Students who want general information about the SDM process, or who have an idea for a major but are uncertain as to which faculty might be appropriate advisors for the major, should contact the Associate Dean of Curriculum.
At any of these meetings, students should be prepared to:
- Discuss the topic of their SDM and why they are interested in it;
- Ask if there are other faculty whose expertise connects them to the major;
- Refine their approach to the SDM;
- Begin discussing courses that will contribute to the major.
Is It Right for Me?
Students should also note that the learning outcomes for a Student-Designed Major must clearly map to the courses included in the major. This means that while a course or set of courses can be repurposed to serve the curricular aims of an SDM, SDMs are ultimately limited in scope by the curricular components available at the College. Students should not expect to be able to design a major at SMCM for which we do not offer the majority of curricular opportunities required for the major to be viable. For example, a student interested in nutrition could design a major that takes up nutrition by studying the biological and cultural processes that shape food choices; they could not, however, design a major narrowly focused on nutrition and food service or agricultural science, as we don’t offer courses in those areas.
Any student proposing a Student-Designed Major should be in good academic standing. Students proposing an SDM should have at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA at the time that their proposal is submitted to the CRC for approval. Proposing and managing a Student-Designed Major requires extra time and effort from the student; students with GPAs under 2.5 should concentrate their efforts on improving their academic standing, not designing a major.