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About the Program

While William & Mary offers 115 majors and minors for undergraduates, some students benefit from a course of study that doesn’t quite fit in a single major. Perhaps your interests are better served by courses from several academic disciplines. Perhaps you want to develop a secondary major that more directly links your academic interests with career plans. If so, a self-designed major may be right for you.

To do this, you will need to find a faculty advisor in a department or program that is closest to the field of study you have in mind. They will guide you on what makes a good major and how to build a coherent course of study with classes from different majors and minors. You might also consult W&M’s catalog for curricular models, or even review catalogs from other universities for examples in fields close to yours. Once you and your advisor have a proposal in place, a faculty committee will review it and either accept, reject or offer suggestions for revision.

Examples of Self-Designed Majors

Self-designed majors have previously been on topics including:

Biophysical chemistry
European politics
Environmental economics
Global ethics
Health analytics

Honors Project

Self-designed major students are encouraged to complete an honors project as part of their course of study. Just like honors students in set majors, you will begin working with an advisor no later than spring of your junior year to formulate a proposal. During your senior year, you will pursue your research and present your findings in the spring.

Previous projects have been on topics including:
Remittance behavior of highly-skilled Albanian migrants
Social media practices and cybernationalism
Welfare reform and American exceptionalism
Risk factors of wildlife-vehicle collisions in Virginia
Oppression in contemporary young adult fiction

Alumni Spotlight

Jamie Holt '22 self-designed a photojournalism major while completing a French and Francophone studies major. While at William & Mary, she became the photographer for the Theatre, Speech & Dance Department as well as photographing almost every home football game. She is now the director of arts photography at the University of Virginia.

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