Best Design Your Own Major Programs

Not sure what you want to major in? Or perhaps several majors sound good to you? Or maybe your desired career needs a little bit of column A and a little bit of column B when it comes to your education? No matter which category you fall into, you have options!

One choice is to design your own major. Not all colleges offer these, but they can be a great way of following your passions and getting on track for your career. In this article, we’ll explain what these are and highlight some of the best programs out there at various colleges.

What are Design Your Own Major Programs?

Design your own major programs can be known as individualized studies, interdisciplinary majors, individualized learning plan, self-designed majors, independent studies, or something similar – the name of the program varies from school to school.

These are intended for students who are motivated and want to create their own major out of the available courses at a particular college. How you can create your own major depends highly on the college in question, and some schools do not allow you to create your own major at all.

Most programs, however, are intended to be loosely based on existing majors, with your own flavor thrown in depending on your education and career goals.

How Can You Design Your Own Major?

To enter one of these programs, you will likely be required to work very closely with faculty members and your academic advisor. You can’t simply pick and choose majors and call it a day. Instead, you will have to explain what you’d like to major in, why, and how these various courses will help you achieve your goals.

Your school will then look at your plan and either approve it, deny it, or offer a conditional approval. Some majors that are designed by students at one school may also be an existing major at another.

Having a conversation with your academic advisor before jumping into designing an interdisplinary major is essential. You could very well find that a student before you already designed an approved program that can work for you!

What If Your School Doesn’t Have a Design Your Own Major Program?

As mentioned previously, not all schools will have a design your own major program. However, just because a college doesn’t advertise the program on their website, doesn’t mean they don’t offer it. If you’re curious about one of these interdisciplinary majors, make sure to talk to your advisor about your options. They may work with you or create a program just for your academic and career goals!

Best Design Your Own Major Programs

Here are just some of the best designs your own major programs out there. Even if you don’t see your school on this list, don’t fret! Many have excellent interdisciplinary major programs but don’t actively advertise them.

James Madison University

James Madison University has the Independent Scholars Program where students can select a unique combination of classes to design their own major. Those interested in the program need to talk to faculty in order to get permission to enroll in the introductory class for the program.

University of Washington

The University of Washington has Individualized Studies as an option for students and those interested have to apply to the program. The application requires you to submit an Individualized Learning Plan which includes your statement of purpose, learning goals, course plan, a plan B, signed faculty agreement form, and more.

Cornell College

Known as Individualized Majors, students interested in pursuing this major at Cornell College have to form a faculty committee that has three professors from two different disciplines. You will work with them to devise a plan of action. Recent majors’ students have created at the school have included disability studies, sports management, and zoology.

Indiana University Bloomington

Students interested in creating their own major can join the Individualized Major Program at Indiana University Bloomington. Working with a sponsor on faculty, students can design their own curriculum, but have to submit a final project. This can be an internship, performance, or thesis. The university also offers Individualized Minors which only require 15 credit hours.

If you’re interested in an interdisciplinary major, it’s important to talk to your academic advisor as soon as possible. They will be able to help you find the best courses for your academic and career goals, while also ensuring your plan of action is solid enough. This will help you garner an approval of your intended program!

Are you on the fence about your major? Our College Major search tool gives you the information you need about hundreds of majors including what you can expect from your classes, the top ranked schools for those area of studies, and top careers in the field.

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