Self-Designed Major Degree Requirements


Lebanon Valley College undergraduates have the option to self-design a major around specific interests and goals, provided the field of concentration is not substantially addressed by any singular academic program. Self-designed majors are in keeping with the tradition of liberal learning by allowing students to develop an interdisciplinary course of study between at least two academic programs.

Students who intend to complete a self-designed major must first select a primary advisor and secondary advisor. The primary advisor should be a faculty member from the department/discipline that will be most frequently represented by coursework in the major. The secondary advisor is a faculty member from the second discipline constituting the major. Students who do not know specific faculty members that might serve as either primary or secondary advisors should contact the respective department chairs for referrals.

In consultation with the primary advisor, a student pursuing a self-designed major should prepare an application that includes the following: a description of and rationale for the major, the major’s goals and measurable learning objectives, required and/or elective courses aligned with the major’s learning objectives, core competencies developed in the major, and a proposed four-year schedule of classes. The self-designed major should consist of at least 27 credits higher than the 100-level, with at least 12 credits at the 300-level or higher, including the capstone experience. A culminating experience should be included as part of the major.

Students in self-designed majors must complete a capstone experience that synthesizes the two disciplines included in the major and requires students to demonstrate achievement of the major’s goals and objectives.

The application for the self-designed major must be approved by the primary and secondary advisor before submitting it to the faculty Committee on Curriculum and Assessment. The committee will review the proposed major and either approve, approve pending modification, or reject the proposed program.

Final approval is determined by the associate provost of undergraduate studies. Any changes made to the courses required for the major must be approved by the Committee on Curriculum and Assessment and supported by a justification from the student and primary advisor.

Students planning on a self-designed major generally submit their proposals within their first four semesters at the College. The number of credits in the major that were completed before submitting a proposal may influence the committee’s decision concerning approval of the major. Except in unusual cases and with sufficient justification, proposals submitted after 60 percent of the coursework for the self-designed major has been completed will not be considered.

Because of the multiple steps in the review process, which can each require extensive revisions to the application, students should allow at least four to eight weeks (assuming revisions are made promptly) for a successful application to be approved. Please note that the CCA only meets in the fall and spring when classes are in session, and is therefore not able to consider applications at other times.

It is important to note that the self-designed major offers a creative alternative for students with definite, integrated educational goals. It is not a way for students to avoid specific requirements. Consistent with the grading policies for all undergraduate majors, students may not elect for the Pass/Fail option in courses that fulfill general education requirements or the requirements of the self-designed major.