Self-determined majors (SDM) integrate more than one discipline to achieve a clearly developed and coherent course of study not available through the existing majors and minors at Skidmore. A self-determined major, therefore, extends the depth and interdisciplinarity of double majors or interdepartmental majors.
Recent self-determined majors include ethnomusicology, film studies, Italian studies, Chinese, media studies and communications, computational neuroscience, arts administration, the physics and sound of recording, and public health.
Director: Catherine White Berheide, Sociology
Office of Academic Advising: Ryan Homesy
Scribner Library: Michael Paulmeno
Psychology: Sheldon Solomon
English: Melora Wolff
Self-Determined Major B.A./B.S.
A qualified student (3.00 GPA or better) may propose a major curriculum other than one among the current list of majors at Skidmore. The self-determined major transcends the boundaries of Skidmore’s majors and minors and reflects the integration of more than one discipline toward the attainment of a clearly developed and coherent course of study.
The degree program must contain a core of not fewer than 10 courses pertinent to the student’s central interest, one of these being an independent-study project that integrates this core of courses, or a senior seminar or colloquium in which a main project achieves the same goal. Self-determined majors must meet the all-College requirements, including the maturity-level requirement.
The student proposes a course of study to the SDM Program through the director and its SDM Committee. Normally, students will apply by February 15 during the spring of their sophomore year. A self-determined-major proposal must be submitted no later than October 15 of their junior year or its equivalent.
Detailed procedures for establishing a Self-Determined Major may be obtained from the director of the SDM Program and/or on the SDM website.
To be eligible for departmental honors, a student must meet the requisite grade-point average (3.00 GPA minimum in all work at Skidmore and a 3.50 GPA minimum in all SDM core courses) and complete a final project that receives honors.
Students seeking departmental honors at graduation must submit their final project to the SDM Program Director for evaluation. There are two conditions for giving a final project honors:
- The final project must receive a grade of “A” or better and the two readers must both recommend the project for honors; and
- The Self-Determined Majors Program, based on the advisors’ assessments and its members’ judgments, deems it worthy of honors.
In instances when the director and the Committee are not sufficiently knowledgeable about the subject of a final project to assess it, a faculty member knowledgeable in the subject will advise them.
Students seeking Honors in SDM must present their final projects in a public forum in the spring of their senior year.
Detailed procedures for establishing a self-determined major may be obtained from the director of the SDM Program and/or on the SDM website.
Preparation and successful execution of a well-designed self-determined major (SDM) final project proposal. As part of the final project proposal, the student will complete an annotated bibliography that reflects the scholarly or artistic conversation in the relevant areas of study. The final project, which is the culminating capstone experience, must be original work that reflects and integrates the various components of the student's self-determined major. The student must submit the final project proposal to the SDM Committee for approval. In short, this course is designed to guide the student in writing the final project proposal, including the annotated bibliography. This course fulfills the senior coda requirement for self-determined majors.
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