About the Self-Determined MajorA self-determined major is a course of study that an individual student develops based upon his or her intellectual, personal, and career interests that transcends the boundaries of the majors and minor that departments and programs at Skidmore College offer.
A student may discover within a major field, for example, intellectual connections to another area of study not possible within the requirements for a traditional, a double, or an interdepartmental major. Alternatively, he or she may discover specific ways that disciplines converge to form a unique body of knowledge rich in its potential for sustained academic study. Students may realize connections between the College's degree programs and the professional world. These connections can provide serious and motivated students with exciting, intellectually demanding, and academically rewarding study: a Self-Determined Major. Regardless of its focus, a self-determined major goes beyond merely pulling together a random list of disparate courses to create an independent, liberal arts major.
The SDM Advisory Board is composed of five members. Advisory Board members representing the College’s four major divisions (Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Science and Pre-professional programs) are appointed for a three-year term. The SDM Director is appointed by the Dean of Faculty/VPAA; three faculty representatives serving staggered terms are appointed by the DoF/VPAA in consultation with the SDM Director; a representative from the Office of Academic Advising will be appointed annually by the Dean of Studies. The SDM Advisory Board is charged with overseeing the Self-Determined Major Program, including evaluating and approving the proposals for Self-Determined Majors. The SDM Advisory Board works in close contact with the Registrar to monitor the progress toward the degree of each self-determined major. The SDM Advisory Board may also consult department chairs to assess the feasibility of proposed programs and the availability of departmental resources. After a student’s program has been approved and the student’s major declared, the SDM Advisory Board functions as the student’s “department,” with the Director of the SDM Program functioning as the student’s “department chairperson.”