Preparing the Proposal
- Obtain preliminary guidance for the construction of a Self-Determined major, including examples of majors approved in the past, from the Chair of the SDMS or from the Dean of Studies.
- Consult with a faculty member or members knowledgeable in the area(s) of special interest about your proposed Self-Determined Major. These faculty may later become the student's SDM advisors and guide the student as he or she develops an individual plan of study. At this stage in the process, the SDMS also recommends that students consult with the department chairperson in the field most related to their intended major.
- In consultation with the advisors and/or department chairpersons, and following the SDM Guidelines, design a program of at least ten courses that constitutes a coherent and substantial major. One of these courses must be an independent study project or an already constituted core course that will serve as the integrative capstone for the major. In addition, a significant part of the self-determined major core work (normally eight courses) must be earned in Skidmore College courses.
- Submit to the chair of the SDMS the completed application materials by March 15 of the spring term of the sophomore year. (Under no circumstances will applications be accepted after October 15 of the junior year.) Any student who cannot prepare a proposal by these dates must follow a conventional major program.
- Include with the proposed program all accompanying documentation for review of the program and its rationale by the SDMS to ensure that the student can pursue the subject area in both breadth and depth and that it is consistent with the rationale. At the discretion of the SDMS, the student and the adviser(s) may be invited to attend a meeting of the SDMS for clarification of the proposal. If the SDMS approves the program, it will constitute the student's declared major, and the Office of the Registrar will be notified. If the SDMS finds the proposal unacceptable, it will deny approval, or it will withhold approval pending the student's satisfactory revision of his or her program. The SDMS presents all approved Self-Determined Major programs to the College Curriculum Committee. The SDMS may also decide to consult with the Curriculum Committee on especially problematic proposals.
- Following final approval, submit to the Registrar a Declaration of Major.
- All revisions that the student makes in his or her approved course of study must be submitted to the student's advisors and the SDMS for further approval prior to registration. Should the student find it necessary to change advisor(s), the student must ask for the SDMS's approval. In the event that the student has difficulty finding an appropriate advisor (or advisors), the SDMS will assist the student.