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Student on computer in hammock on campus.

Design Your Own Major

Do you think outside the box and see connections between many areas of study? Students who are particularly creative, independent, and interdisciplinary-focused may choose to design their own special major (or minor). 

Degree Types
Major , Minor
Distinctive Requirements
Number of Options

Pursue Your Passion

Designing Your Own Major empowers you to work closely with faculty across disciplines and develop the academic program that uniquely suits your interests and prepares you for the professional career you seek. Your intellectual creativity and development will be supported through work with faculty mentors and your major will culminate in a final capstone project.

Program Expectations

Your major/minor must be comparable in size and expectation to a conventional major/minor. Particularly, it must be cohesive, integrated, and possess significant breadth and depth.

Process for Approval

The initial proposal for a student-designed major/minor should be submitted to the Curriculum Committee by the end of the sophomore year.

This proposal must include a reason for the proposal and evidence that a standard major/minor will not satisfy the student’s goals. The complete program should be presented (including specific courses to be included in the program and specific areas from which choices must be made). A student-designed major program of studies must include a Capstone Experience.

To submit a proposal, students must obtain an advisor willing to oversee the entire program. This program advisor may or may not be the student’s regular faculty advisor, though in any case the regular advisor can obtain the required forms and help in the early stages of program planning. The program advisor will assist in preparing the final form of the proposal.

The student and program advisor are encouraged to consult with the Curriculum Committee during the planning stages of the major/minor in order to avoid problems later. Proposals should be acceptable if the student and program advisor plan thoroughly.

Kelly Novak presenting research

Forecast: Bright future ahead for senior with self-designed Meteorology major

Kelly Novak teamed up with Physics professor Jeff Marx to design her major in Meteorology, a concentration of physics and math courses enriched with chemistry and environmental studies, which earned the Honors student a competitive summer research experience in atmospheric science and offers of funded graduate studies.

McDaniel Commitment in Action

The McDaniel Commitment—a series of opportunities guaranteed to all students—provides enhanced mentoring and coaching, and ensures every undergraduate student completes at least two meaningful experiential learning opportunities.