The University Major

Welcome to the University Major Support Page 

The University Major program allows first and second semester sophomores the opportunity to create a major program of study based on their interests. Students are expected to incorporate the theories and methods of two or more academic disciplines to develop an interdisciplinary program of study that will challenge their academic interests. Under faculty guidance, students work independently while collaborating closely with support staff to meet learning outcomes set in their program proposal. Program proposals must be supported of 3 faculty members and must be approved by the University Major Proposal Committee. Students must apply for the University Major no later than the first semester of their junior year.

Navigating the University Major Proposal 

Interested students may contact Dean Jennifer Wood for guidance and support. Dean Wood is available to connect students with resources and to help organize your plan for a successful proposal. Below are steps to help you prepare for your application. If you have any questions, please contact Dean Wood at Students should also discuss their intended program with members of the faculty in the student’s fields of interest. The purpose of the discussions is to help the student clarify preliminary plans and select the three faculty members who will serve as sponsors.

University Major Proposal Guidance:

Self-Critique your University Major interests for academic merit and confirm that no other major or interdisciplinary program at Wesleyan will support your academic goals.

A common reason a University Major proposal is denied is that Wesleyan already offers programs to support your academic interests. Secondly, ensure that the Wesleyan curriculum is able to support your areas of interest. For example, a proposal with aerospace engineering courses would not be approved, simply because the necessary coursework is not offered.

  • The purpose of this step is to help clarify preliminary plans to engage in productive conversations with the faculty members who may serve as sponsors.
  • This will also help you answer if your plans are feasible and confirm that no other programs meet your academic interests
  • The University Major requires students to work independently, which requires time management and organization skills. Consult with Dean Wood to develop strategies to best support your goals.

As you clarify your goals, research the offerings in WesMaps to ensure that you have a viable curriculum. University Majors must build a major plan with their major advisors that includes at least eight courses numbered 201 or higher. A minimum of six of those courses must be core courses and at least one course is required to support the senior essay/thesis/project.

  • Make sure that your plan offers a wide breath of courses to support your learning. Have you listed courses that are regularly offered to support your program?
  • Are there any course requirements that may prevent you from enrolling? If so, include the course requirement in your plan.
  • Double check that there are enough upper-division courses to ensure that your program is feasible and flexible. Are there multiple course pathways available to allow you to adjust your program as your field of study understanding evolves? Is the course list sufficiently robust to allow for completion of the major if courses become unavailable due to cancellations, sabbaticals, or scheduling conflicts?

Submitting your Proposal 

  • The application consists of a proposal essay, list of courses, unofficial transcript, and letters of support. The deadline is November 1 (fall) or April 1 (spring). Applications are reviewed by the university major committee, which is appointed by the EPC. 
  • Applications must be submitted no later than the end of your fifth semester of enrollment,
  • Once accepted into the university major, each faculty member who sponsored your application will become advisor to the student in WesPortal, one of whom will be designated as primary advisor.  Any changes that the student may subsequently make to their academic program must be approved by each advisor.

Example of Proposal for University Major

 Capstone Project and Graduation  

  • University major students are encouraged to undertake a capstone project, but it is not required.  If the student wishes to undertake an honors thesis, the thesis proposal must be approved by the Honors Committee as a thesis in general scholarship.  A student undertaking a university major honors thesis is not permitted to pursue dual department honors through a single thesis.
  • In their final semester, the student must submit a major certification form through WesPortal. Each course that the student is using to complete the major must be imported into the certification form using the “request override” link.


Can University Majors double major? 

This is discouraged, as the university major itself is ostensibly already a double and sometimes triple major by design. 

Do University Majors have to be stage II Gen Ed compliant? 

Being Stage II compliant is not required for the major. However, you must have completed both stages of your General Education Expectations if you’d like to pursue Honors in General Scholarship.