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College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Individual Major

An Individual Major is a self-designed program for students who find that their educational objectives cannot adequately be met by any of the University’s existing majors. The Individual Major allows students to incorporate courses from several academic areas into a unique program of study intended to prepare them for employment or graduate study in a specific field of interest. In keeping with the interdisciplinary mission of the University, all Individual Majors must consist of coherent programs of study that are interdisciplinary in nature.

The Individual Major must also conform to all of the University’s requirements for graduation and be approved by:

  • The Associate Dean of College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • At least one faculty advisor selected by the student
  • The Individualized Learning Committee

It is highly recommended that students interested in an Individual Major have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above.   All the necessary approvals for an Individual Major must be completed no later than the end of your junior year.

Eight steps to developing an Individual Major

  1. Identify your interests and research your career objectives and educational needs.
    • Discuss your career plans with others (faculty, family, professional contacts).
    • Use the Internet and other resources to find additional information.
  2. Discuss your plans with potential faculty advisors and then with the Associate Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
    • Contact a member of the faculty who is knowledgeable in the area of your Individual Major. The faculty member also should be willing to guide your studies and to recommend approval of your program.
    • After choosing your faculty advisor, discuss your plans with the Associate Dean. Students should bring the proposal to the Associate Dean at the beginning of their junior year to ensure timely graduation.
  3. Prepare your Individual Major proposal.
    • Work with your faculty advisor to prepare a proposal three to five pages typed, double-spaced. The proposal should describe and explain why and/or how an Individual Major will allow you to achieve your objectives.
  4. Proposals should include the following:
    • Title (which will appear on your transcript)
    • Personal background: relevant experience and interests
    • Career goals
    • Explanation of why you want an Individual Major
    • Description of how the courses represent a cohesive program of study
    • Explanation of why the proposed Individual Major is unique from an existing major, a double major or a major/minor on campus
    • Examples of similar programs at other institutions
    • Timetable for completion
    • Post-graduate plans
  5. List all courses you propose to complete for your Individual Major.
    • Divide your list into lower-level and upper-level courses. In creating the list, you should consult not only with your faculty advisor, but also with faculty teaching in programs in which you will be taking courses.
    • List the course number, credits and title, and anticipated completion date as shown in the example below.
    Courses, credits, and titles When completed Where taken
    PSYCH 102 (3 cr) Psychology Enrolled UW-Green Bay
    HUM STUD 201 (3 cr) Humanities Spring ’16 UW-Green Bay
    ART 105 (3 cr) Drawing Fall ’17 UW-Oshkosh
    Your list must contain at least 30 upper-level credits organized around an interdisciplinary theme. Keep in mind the Individual Major is an interdisciplinary program; your courses must come from at least two different academic areas/fields of study.
  6. Get a letter of support from your faculty advisor.
    • If the draft proposal and the list of courses are acceptable to the faculty advisor(s), request a letter of support from the advisor(s) to include with the proposal. Letters should indicate that the faculty advisor is confident that you will be able to manage the major and that he or she is willing to serve as an advisor.
  7. Discuss your proposal with the Associate Dean.
    • The Associate Dean will review your proposed program of study to assure it is clearly written, fulfills all University requirements, reflects the University emphasis on interdisciplinary study, and can be completed in a timely manner.
  8. Submit your final proposal to the Associate Dean. The Associate Dean will schedule a meeting with the Individualized Learning Committee. The completed proposal should contain:
    • Your narrative
    • The list of courses and timeline for completing the Individual Major
    • An unofficial copy of your transcript
    • A letter or letters from the faculty member(s) who will be your advisor(s)

    The Individualized Learning Committee will review your proposal and will:

    • Approve the proposal;
    • Request revision and resubmission of the proposal; or
    • Deny the proposal

    The Chair will notify you of the Committee’s decision.

Examples of completed Individual Major Programs

  • Sports Management
  • Women’s Health Issues
  • Nutrition Ecology
  • Music and Society
  • Environmental Health Management
  • Cross Cultural Health Studies
  • Dance Pedagogy

For more information contact

Donna Ritch, Associate Dean
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
2420 Nicolet Drive
Theatre Hall 335
Green Bay WI 54311-7001