Multi-Field Major

Multi-field Major

The multi-field major program is designed for students who wish to study intensively in a multidisciplinary field that is not available through an existing major. The multi-field major provides an opportunity for such students to design their own program of study that integrates substantial work from two or three fields (departments/programs) into a single coherent, intellectually substantive field.

A student intending to pursue a multi-field major must submit a proposal to the Academic Advising Committee for its consideration. In preparing the proposal, the student must consult with faculty in the departments/programs that will make up the multi-field major and may also wish to consult with the Associate Dean of Academic Advising, who acts as department chair for all approved multi-field majors and is a member of the Academic Advising Committee. The proposal, including both the rationale for the major and its required courses, must be approved by the student’s advisor in each department/program before submission to the Academic Advising Committee.

A proposal for a multi-field major should normally be submitted by the major declaration deadline in the second semester of the student’s sophomore year. The latest a proposal may be submitted is the third week of the second semester of the student’s junior year.

A student may graduate with honors from the multi-field major program. Honors for the multi-field major requires a minimum 3.5 GPA in the major, satisfactory completion of an interdisciplinary independent study SYE (Multi-field 489/490), and the presentation of the honors project results in some academic forum. Student must also receive their primary academic advisor’s recommendation for honors.

Multi-field major proposal form

Preparing a Multi-field Major Proposal

  • 9-12 courses (14 maximum)
  • Courses drawn from two or three fields (departments/programs)
  • At least four courses from each contributing field
  • At least four 300/400-level courses, including at least one from each contributing field
  • Minimum 2.0 GPA in the multi-field major

Students are encouraged but not required to pursue an interdisciplinary, independent SYE project (Multi-field 489 and/or 490) that provides a capstone to the major, integrating the perspectives and approaches of the contributing departments/programs into an original research study.

A multi-field major proposal must include

  • A narrative clarifying how the intended major comprises a unified and coherent field of study
  • A list of the major’s required courses
  • Approval from the advisor in each contributing field, with one designated as the overall major advisor (The Associate Dean of Academic Advising serves as the department chair equivalent for all multi-field majors)
  • An unofficial transcript

The narrative section of the proposal must provide a rationale for the proposed major. It must demonstrate how the proposed major forms a coherent field of study, with its own distinctive intellectual questions and methods/modes of inquiry. That is, what distinguishes the proposed major in terms of its approach to the generation of knowledge about the world? How does it integrate the analytical and methodological perspectives of the contributing fields of study into a unique field of its own?

After describing the proposed major’s approach to knowledge and its methodology, the narrative must show how each department/program contributes to it, including how the specific courses included in the proposal constitute an integrated, in-depth study of the multi-field area, with foundational/introductory courses, at least one course focused on methodology, upper-level electives, and (optionally) a capstone senior-year experience (SYE). While the narrative need not discuss every course listed, it should address those that the student considers particularly important in giving the multi-field major its coherence. If an off- campus study program is relevant the proposal should explain briefly how it relates to the overall plan.

Students may also explain in the narrative how the proposed multi-field major supports their intellectual and/or career trajectory, though the academic integrity and rigor of the proposed major remain essential to a successful proposal.

The multi-field major proposal form must list all required courses for the major, making sure to adhere to the above-described minimums (at least four courses in each field; at least one 300/400-level course in each field; at least four 300/400-level courses total).

  • Note that 3000-level courses are 100- or 200-level, while 4000-level courses are 300- or 400-level.

The list of required courses may include electives (e.g., DEPT-302 or -313 or -356; two 300-level DEPT courses).

The list may also include one or more associated courses—required courses from a field that is not one of the contributing departments/programs but that provide crucial content or skills for the major (like STAT-113 for the PSYC major or the allied MATH/science course for the GEOL major).

If the student intends to complete a capstone SYE, it should be included as MLFD-489 (Fall) or -490 (Spring), or both if a year-long honors project is envisioned. SYE courses count toward the required minimum of four 300/400-level courses.

Students proposing a multi-field major must have an advisor in each contributing field (department/program), with one of these acting as the primary academic advisor. Each advisor must approve the proposal before its submission to the Academic Advising Committee for consideration.

An unofficial transcript should be downloaded from APR2 and included as part of the proposal.

Students are encouraged to work with the Associate Dean of Academic Advising throughout the proposal preparation process, including sharing drafts for feedback.

When the proposal is complete, the student must provide an electronic copy to the Associate Dean of Academic Advising, who will forward it to the Academic Advising Committee.

The Academic Advising Committee may 1) approve the proposal, 2) approve the proposal contingent on specific revisions, 3) return the proposal to the student to revise and resubmit, or 4) reject the proposal.

Once the proposal has been approved by the Academic Advising Committee, the Registrar's Office will build a unique degree plan in APR2 reflecting the major requirements. Any subsequent changes from those courses specified in the proposal must be approved in writing by the student’s primary academic advisor and the Associate Dean of Academic Advising. Substantial revisions will also require the approval of the Academic Advising Committee.