Why study a Self-Designed Major at Westminster College?
Students with particular interests may prefer to design their own program of study in concert with a team of teacher-scholars. This goes far beyond the possibilities of taking the classes you wish within a particular degree program -- you actually tailor your own major based upon your specific interests and career plans. This option is hard work, but it engages your creativity and will make your Westminster College experience all the more enjoyable and meaningful.
Major Highlights and How It Works
Westminster’s Self-Designed Major allows a student to design a personalized program drawing upon the strengths of several disciplines and departments. When the Self-Designed Major is approved, completion will satisfy the general degree requirement for a major. All other degree requirements must also be fulfilled. The members of a student’s Self-Designed Major Committee and the Associate Dean of Faculty must approve the major description and the list of courses for the major. Any changes to the Self-Designed Major must be approved by the student’s committee and the Associate Dean of Faculty. Upon satisfactory completion of the work prescribed in a student’s plan, the student will be certified as having met the graduation requirement for a major.
To complete an individualized degree program through the Self-Designed Major program, a student identifies a faculty advisor and one other faculty member. The faculty members must be from two different academic departments that best represent the courses listed for the major. The student, with the aid of the faculty committee, develops a proposal for the major under the Self-Designed Major program.
One of the members of the committee must be designated as the student’s primary advisor. The proposal should consist of a general description of and justification for the self-designed major, list specific courses to be taken, and indicate the semester in which each of the courses will be taken. Self-Designed Majors must contain a minimum of 32 credit hours. Additionally, all Self-Designed Majors must have a capstone experience (e.g. a course, a concluding research project, an internship). Courses transferred from other institutions may be used to satisfy the requirements of Self-Designed Majors, with the permission of the student’s committee.
Generally, a student will begin work under the Self-Designed Major after the freshman year, but in no case later than the start of the second semester of the junior year. Any exceptions to the start of a student’s Self-Designed Major program must be approved by the Dean of Faculty. The academic advisor must meet with the student at least once each semester to review progress. A minimum of three semesters must be spent working under an approved plan.
Self-Designed majors may also be created through a joint program with William Woods University. Working with WWU expands the range of options for a student, so students are encouraged to study the list of academic programs on both campuses as they design their major or minor. The faculty advisor must be a Westminster faculty member, and the other faculty member of the committee must be a member of the WWU faculty. At least half of the courses must be taken at Westminster. Preferential registration (registering after WWU current students but before incoming students) will be given to students with an approved course of study. No additional tuition is required; course fees must be paid directly to WWU.
Westminster is not a large school, and this works to your benefit. Individual attention is what every student needs, especially if you are trying to find your way on uncertain ground. Students have designed unique majors in Advertising, Biological Psychology, the Classics, Communication, Organizational Leadership, Public Relations, and many other interdisciplinary majors.
Whatever your choice, you will have at your disposal all the resources of a highly respected liberal arts institution.Westminster has a great history, full of exciting events of which you can be a part. We have clubs covering business, marketing, chemistry, leadership and service, women's issues, English and literature, and events associated with all of them that will help you get involved and become a dynamic, multi-dimensional person. Westminster is respected in science, language, political science, history, economics, and sociology; if you name it Westminster has it. There is no need for you to be limited in options.
No matter what kind of major you designed, you will have a future when you leave Westminster. Our placement of graduates in careers and graduate schools is staggering to say the least; far above the average at 96%. A liberal arts degree from a school such as ours will always be an asset in the world outside of school.
If you designed a science or mathematics major of some sort there will be jobs available for you in the private sector at technology firms, business firms, the government, and more. Graduate school is always an option. With the research facilities and opportunities at Westminster you will be well-prepared for whatever field you wish to enter.
If you designed a major in communications, English, foreign languages, history, political sciences, or a unique combination of those areas, there will be jobs for you in advertising, public relations, business, consulting, teaching, and law to name just a few. Employers are always looking for people with great oral and written expression - skills you will attain during your education at Westminster.
In short, the sky is the limit. Westminster provides you all the resources it has to offer, enabling you to achieve your own unique successes in life.
2016-2017 Self Designed Majors and Minors
Name: Dr. Ingrid Ilinca
Position: Assistant Dean for Student Academic Success
Office: 125 Westminster Hall
Phone: (573) 592-5323