Self-Designed Major

As a liberal arts institution, AUBG encourages students to develop and utilize their knowledge across areas of study, and the Self-Designed Major (SDM) is designed to allow this by fostering a broader understanding of academic knowledge and methodologies. This degree offers students an opportunity for a unique, intensive educational and research experience through a self-designed program. Examples of interdisciplinary fields for an SDM might include the following:

Twentieth-Century Cultural Studies
Ancient Studies
Business Communications and Public Relations
Eastern European Studies
Early Modern Studies
Environmental Policy
Film Studies
Marketing and Communication
Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Modern Languages and Cultures
Performing and Visual Arts
Political Communication
Social Sciences
Theatre and Film
Visual Communications
Women’s Studies

NOTE: The Self-Designed Major is available only as a single-diploma American degree program.

This SDM is offered for students with exceptional motivation, vision, and creativity. In consultation with faculty members, the student creates a unique plan of study that is not part of the current AUBG curriculum and that bridges two or more content areas (other than two major program areas) and is not a subcomponent of one major or minor discipline. The result is an interdisciplinary degree that focuses on integrated learning in multiple areas with sufficient depth to conduct research across fields of knowledge.

Students completing an SDM will receive diplomas with their specific, interdisciplinary field listed as the title of the degree (e.g., “B.A. in Political Communication” or “B.A. in Women’s Studies”).

Students graduating with a Self-Designed Major will be able to do the following:

  • develop critical thinking skills by locating, identifying, and utilizing the relationships between academic disciplines;
  • synthesize theories, methodologies, and experiences gained from at least two disciplines;
  • demonstrate mastery of interdisciplinary praxis (i.e., the ability to turn multiple theories and knowledge bases into fully realized, concrete demonstrations of new knowledge and applications); and,
  • value the pursuit of academic knowledge utilizing creative and individualized objectives that result in intellectual growth.

Requirements for Self-Designed Major

A self-designed program requires well-developed thinking skills, a strong sense of academic motivation, a keen interest in exploring linkages in fields of study, and strong self-discipline. Working with a discipline-appropriate faculty member, the interested student must develop a proposal for a Self-Designed Major that is intellectually cohesive and does not duplicate other educational learning opportunities available through minors and other majors, singularly or in combination. The student will work with this faculty member to develop an academically sound and intellectually rigorous SDM proposal that will be reviewed by the Self-Designed Major Committee for approval as a single-diploma major.


The proposal is written in conjunction with a faculty member who will serve as the chair of the student’s program. Proposal forms for the SDM are available at the Registrar’s Office.

The proposal will be reviewed by the Self-Designed Major Committee composed of three faculty members (one from the humanities, one from the social sciences, and one from the sciences or math disciplines). The committee will examine the proposal for clarity and precision of focus; the intellectual and methodological skills to be acquired from the proposed plan of study; and the plan’s divergence of content, intent, and ethos from currently offered programs.

Total: 36 credit hours

Required Courses (3 credit hours)

SDM 301 Capstone Project
SDM 401 Senior Thesis

Elective Courses (33 credit hours)

18 credit hours completed at the 300- and/or 400-level

No more than 18 credit hours from any one discipline

With approval, students may transfer up to sixteen credit hours from other accredited institutions and may take up to six credits of independent study. Policies on double-counting courses for majors and minors apply to this program, as do all General Education requirements.

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