Self-Designed Major, B.A.

The College of Arts and Sciences supports optional self-designed majors and minors for students with an expressed interest in an area of study not otherwise available at JCU. While the traditional departmental majors and minors are the backbone of the University, there are times when cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary majors and minors are both possible and desirable. These majors or minors may take advantage of the opportunity for cross-registration at other local universities, though the first priority is to draw upon the facilities and the expertise at John Carroll University.

Creating these self-designed majors or minors is not an automatic process, but the process and its results can be very rewarding. The major or minor should be proposed and approved during the student’s sophomore year. A proposal should include the following items:

 A rationale for the proposed major or minor that:

  1. Discusses the focus of the program and the expected benefits;
  2. Articulates learning goals for the major or minor
  3. Explains how those learning goals connect to University Learning Goals and to selected departmental goals

A plan of courses for the junior and senior years that:

  1. Lists specific courses and the reason each course is included;
  2.  Indicates which courses will provide the basis of assessment of which learning goals and what form that assessment will take;
  3. Provides alternative courses in case first choice courses are not be available. Care should be taken in planning this sequence of courses since too many alternatives or too many subsequent requests for alterations can complicate the approval process and invalidate the major’s or minor’s approval.

The proposed program should be constructed in consultation with an advisor and the CAS Associate Dean for the appropriate division. The advisor could be the student’s freshman/sophomore advisor or another faculty member who is willing to oversee the student’s progress toward fulfillment of requirements. It is best to select an advisor who has some competence in the general area or areas of the proposed major.

The appropriate divisional Associate Dean in CAS should be consulted when a student is first considering a self-designed major and should be shown drafts of the proposed
major as it is being developed. Once the proposal has been constructed with and approved by an advisor, the proposal is then submitted to the divisional CAS Associate Dean and, subsequently, to the CAS Dean for approval. Forms for the development of the Self-Designed Major can be found on the Student Academic Resources page of the College of Arts and Sciences website.