Western Washington University · Bellingham, Washington
What Is a Student/Faculty Designed Major?
The Student-Faculty Designed Major allows students to consult with appropriate faculty and together with them design individualized major programs in subject areas or with educational objectives not served by existing departmental majors. Programs may have either an academic or pre-professional focus. Academic standards for the SFDM are not less rigorous than those of “regular” majors.
Why Should I Consider this Major?
Where the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, or CHSS in conjunction with course offerings from another college, has the resources needed for a course of study but does not offer a formal major that can accommodate a student's needs, it is appropriate to consider constructing a Student-Faculty Designed Major (SFDM).
How to Declare:
Students who wish to explore the option of a Student-Faculty Designed Major in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences should make an appointment with the Chair of the Liberal Studies Department. To arrange for an appointment, please contact the department office.
Prospective Freshmen and Sophomore Transfer Students
Normally freshman and sophomores will spend time becoming familiar with Western's resources. You may find that an established major, possibly combined with a minor, will, in fact, serve your interests well. If not, plan to start developing your SFDM contract during the second half of your sophomore year.
Junior Transfer Students
As with any other major, it is important to establish your program of study quickly. Some departments with large numbers of regular majors restrict access to upper division courses. You should consult the University Catalog and advising page for each department. Contact
the Liberal Studies Department to begin the process of formulating a contract.
Other Information about this Major:
(A SFDM can be a BA or BS.)
Students desiring concentrated study in areas not listed as majors by departments of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences may design a major in conference with faculty members. Details of this procedure are available at http://www.wwu.edu/liberalstudies/basfd.shtml or the chair of the Department of Liberal Studies.
Among important policies are the following: The major must include at least 70 credit hours and no more than 110 credit hours. It must include at least 45 credit hours from within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Each major must be approved first by a committee of faculty advisors, who must meet together with the student as a committee and review the student’s proposal. It then must be approved by the chairs of every department from which the student will take two or more courses, and those chairs must agree to arrange for access to courses in their departments. Finally, it must be approved by the Curriculum Council of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences in a meeting which the student should attend together with the chair of the faculty committee.
No more than half of the credits in the proposed major may be completed before the contract is approved by the Curriculum Council. The contract must include a plan for completing the Writing Proficiency requirement. The contract cannot substantially duplicate an existing program in the University.
Ordinarily a student should apply for the major not later than the beginning of the junior year.
In the initial meeting you will receive and discuss two forms. The first sets out policies and procedures for applying for the Student-Faculty Designed Major. The second is a contract for the major, which you will fill out together with your committee of faculty advisors. It includes a list of all the courses you will take which will be
included in your major. In practice, most of these courses must be upper division courses.