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Major Requirements

  1. Students proposing the Independently Designed Major (IDM) must fulfill the appropriate all-College degree requirements as listed in the catalog. A minimum of 12 units or a maximum of 15 units may be counted toward this major. Students proposing the Independently Designed Major must explain in their applications why the proposed goals of the major cannot be achieved through a departmental major or through outside courses taken in addition to the requirements of a departmental major.

  2. Prerequisites for more advanced courses should not be counted as a requirement for the major in most cases. The Committee reserves the right to deny any major that does not meet the guidelines as stated.

  3. Up to four units at the 100 course number level can be counted toward the major. (Language courses at the 100 level cannot be counted as part of the major). At least ten and no more than thirteen of the units designated as constituting this major must be above the 100 course number level. A student should select courses that achieve the objectives of the major. The courses above the 100-level courses required for the major must achieve both breadth and depth in the major as described. Courses should be progressively more rigorous and complex (200, 300, and 400 level courses). Prerequisites for advanced courses should not always be required in the major and can be listed as complementary to the objectives of the major. One or two of the units for the major may be General Studies thesis courses: GS 400, Senior Thesis I; GS401, Senior thesis II. 

  4. Thesis Preparation and Proposal: A student declaring an Independently Designed Major should work during the spring semester of the sophomore year and fall semester of the junior year, in consultation with his or her or his Major Advisor, to identify potential thesis topics as well as the courses that will prepare the student to write the thesis. In particular the student should address which courses will provide the methodological and theoretical skills to write a successful thesis on the anticipated topic.  

    • A student pursuing an Independently Designed Major must submit a written thesis prospectus, approved by both the first and second thesis readers, by the end of the junior year.
    • A student pursuing the Independently Designed Major should, in consultation with her/his Major Advisor, identify a first and second reader for the senior thesis by the beginning of Spring Semester of the junior year. (The Major Advisor for the IDM Major can serve as one of the readers for the thesis. A student may also identify faculty other than the Major Advisor and Associate Advisor as thesis readers because of their expertise in the thesis topic the student is developing.)
    • Students may take an optional thesis workshop adjunct course (GS 399) during the spring semester of their junior year or fall semester of their senior year.
    • The thesis for the Independently Designed Major must be completed and turned in to the first reader for the thesis no later than the last day of Block 7 of the Senior Year.
    • The first reader for the thesis, in consultation with the second reader, determines the grade for the thesis.
    • If the thesis involves human subjects research (interviews, surveys, focus groups, participant observation) the student works with the IRB to ensure that the research is carried out in an ethically and legally acceptable way. The student should contact the IRB chair as soon as she/he determines that such research methods will be used, and completes an IRB proposal (reviewed and approved by the Major Advisor) as soon thereafter as possible. Research cannot begin until this proposal has been approved by the IRB and the Major Advisor informed of IRB approval.
    • IDM applications involving English faculty supervision will have to be approved by the entire department before they are submitted to the Dean’s Advisory Committee for final approval. 
  5. The Registrar will designate courses on the student’s transcript that constitute the Independently Designed Major.

Revised 5/2013