Student-Designed Major (B.A.)
Forge your own path.
If you’re passionate, motivated, and know your interests and goals, you might choose to create your own major. Clark provides the flexibility to combine several disciplines into an integrated program of study that is personalized and rigorous, preparing you for success in the field of your choice.
You’ll work with faculty advisers to determine the shape and direction of your academic journey, which can include such valuable hands-on learning experiences as study abroad opportunities, internships, and community projects. Examples of previous student-designed majors include Japanese studies, music and technology, the psychology of marketing, and religious studies.
Why Design Your Own Major at Clark?
- Explore your own educational and career interests by creating a personalized, relevant, and rigorous course of study that meets Clark’s academic standards.
- Benefit from the strong interdisciplinary interests of our faculty, who can advise and collaborate with you on research projects.
- Graduate with the skills and knowledge you need to make your own way in the world — one that is both meaningful and rewarding to you.
The Major Path
The student-designed major crosses divisions of study by integrating courses from several departments, allowing you to explore areas you’re most excited to learn about. Coursework creatively cuts across existing majors, drawing on our faculty’s wide range of expertise. The guidelines for the student-designed major are stringent and require that you conceptualize your major thoroughly. You will put together a committee of at least three faculty members, representing different areas, to determine your course of study.
Examples of student-designed majors:
- Japanese Studies
- Music and Technology
- Psychology of Marketing
- Religious Studies
- Social Praxis in Public Education
Nearly any course can count toward a student-designed major, as long as your committee approves it. Many committees approve study-abroad coursework as part of the curriculum. You also can take advantage of the Higher Education Consortium of Central Massachusetts, through which Clark sophomores, juniors, and seniors can enroll in one course each semester at any consortium school. Student-designed majors often take on a significant community-related project as part of their academic coursework.
Students who design their own majors are highly motivated, academically oriented, and passionate about their goals, and often complete an established minor in another area of interest. Because flexibility is central to the purpose of this program, there is no single formula for the development of a student-designed major, or a process to choose a minor.
Skills you will learn include:
- Collaboration through working with faculty and students from multiple departments
- Leadership skills, by taking ownership of your major and managing your committee
- Communication skills and self-reliance
- Critical thinking, through exploring your academic options
- Conceptualizing and executing a significant long-term project
During your junior year, you might be accepted into the student-designed major honors program. Joining the program means you’ll work closely with a professor to create a thesis on a topic of your choice.
Building your foundation
The Clark Experience
We structure our curriculum around Liberal Education and Effective Practice (LEEP), which connects classroom learning with action through world and workplace experiences.