PROPOSAL DEVELOPMENT AND APPLICATION PROCEDURES
1. Students who believe they might like to construct their own major should begin plans as soon as possible, but the application for the major cannot be filed until the student has completed at least 30 graduation credits.
2. Once a student has tentatively decided on the theme for the proposed study, the Undergraduate Bulletin should be reviewed to verify that no existing major encompasses that theme. The Bulletin and the Schedule of Classes should also be used to identify possible courses which might be included in the proposed major and, based on the courses they teach, possible faculty who might be willing to serve as sponsors for the major.
3. Before deciding on all the details of the proposed major, the student should speak with several faculty for the following reasons: (a) to determine the likelihood of finding two faculty sponsors for the program; (b) to solicit suggestions on how to further refine, limit, or expand the chosen theme; (c) to solicit further suggestions of individual courses or sequences of courses which might be included in the major; and (d) to determine whether or not the student’s goals in creating the major are likely to be met by the combination of course chosen.
4. Once the theme of the proposed major has been decided, the student should work with the two faculty sponsors to draw up the Major Proposal. It must be remembered that the student-initiated interdisciplinary opportunity is intended to encourage a student’s concentration in an area which has sufficient coherence, importance, and scholastic merit to be the subject of a major, even though no formal major program currently exists.
5. In explaining and justifying the proposed course of study, the student’s statement should demonstrate the academic legitimacy of the study. It should also indicate how the program will contribute to fulfilling the student’s overall academic goals, and why these objectives cannot be met within existing Albany programs. This statement should be precise and specific, as well as understandable to readers not familiar with the subject matter. The statement may be as long as the applicant desires to defend the proposed study. The more unusual the subject area, or the less readily apparent its integral character, the more careful this justifying statement ought to be.
6. A list of all courses to be included in the major (36-53 credits) or in the combined major and minor (54-66 credits) must be provided, with an indication of the credits each course is worth, course title, the grade (if completed), and the semester and year in which the course has been or will be taken. (The schedule of future courses is not binding, but the sequencing of courses may be important in judging the major as a whole).
7. Should the actual content of a course in the program differ substantially from the bulletin description or should the program include courses taken at other institutions, a brief description should be provided. The same should be done for any course to be included in the program where the relevance of the course may not be readily apparent. Most important, a specific description must be provided for any independent study courses to be included in the program.
8. The completed Application with an uploaded Major Proposal should be submitted on this form for presentation to the Interdisciplinary Studies Committee.
9. There is no “deadline” for the application; but the sooner it is submitted, the sooner the applicant will know whether the major proposal is acceptable. Since the committee may refuse the proposal, may return the proposal for revision, or may reject some of the proposed courses from the proposal, the student should attempt to submit the proposal before the senior year. Otherwise, the student may have difficulty graduating on time.
10. The Interdisciplinary Studies Committee holds meetings during the fall and spring semesters. Since proposals and applications must be submitted to committee members for consideration prior to a meeting, those submitted after December 1st or after May 1st may not be considered by the committee until the following semester.
11. Once a proposal has been approved, a form listing the approved title and courses is sent to the Office of the Registrar. The list of approved courses will be entered into the DARS Degree Audit for the student. Therefore, any changes or exceptions in the approved program, however small, must be approved by the Committee so that information on file with the Registrar can be appropriately revised for degree clearance.
12. Current contact information in the Undergraduate Education Office (LC 30): Karen McNeill, (518) 442-3950 or firstname.lastname@example.org.