Preparing the Proposal
- Obtain preliminary guidance for the construction of a Self-Determined major, including examples of majors approved in the past, from the SDM Program Director.
- 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 SDM Advisory Board 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 SDM Program Director the completed application materials by March 15th of the spring term of the sophomore year. (Under no circumstances will applications be accepted after October 1st 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 SDM Advisory Board 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 SDM Advisory Board, the student and the adviser(s) may be invited to attend a meeting of the Advisory Board for clarification of the proposal. If the SDM Advisory Board approves the program, it will constitute the student's declared major, and the Office of the Registrar will be notified. If the Advisory Board finds the proposal unacceptable, it will deny approval, or it will withhold approval pending the student's satisfactory revision of his or her program.
- Following final approval, submit to the Registrar a Declaration of Major as well as the SDM Declaration of Major form (available on the SDM web site.)
- All revisions that the student makes in his or her approved course of study must be submitted to the student's advisors and the SDM Advisory Board for further approval prior to registration. Any request for change to the approved SDM core courses requires a detailed rationale for both dropping and adding course(s). The ADD/DROP form is available on the SDM web site. Any and all requests for change to the SDM core courses must be approved prior to enrollment in the new course.
- Should the student find it necessary to change advisor(s), the student must ask for the Advisory Board's approval. In the event that the student has difficulty finding an appropriate advisor (or advisors), the Advisory Board will assist the student.