The University Major

The University Major affords first and second-semester sophomores the opportunity to design a program that responds to their individual interests and aptitudes, that provides the excitement and the challenge of using the methodologies of two or more disciplines, and that gives sophomores the chance to work independently on an entire program, developing the necessary background and integrating the courses chosen in order to achieve the objectives that are set.

A student who wishes to arrange a University Major should 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.

The proposal and supporting documents should be submitted to academicadvancement@wesleyan.edu by November 1 for fall admission to the University Majors program and by April 1 for spring admission. The Committee on University Majors meets twice yearly, normally in November and April.

If your University Major proposal has not been reviewed by the major declaration deadline, you still must declare a major.  You must be truly prepared to major in what you declare, since not all applications are successful.

The Senior Concentration form of University Majors must be signed by a principal faculty sponsor and by the University Major Coordinator.

First and second-semester sophomores who are interested in the University Major can find more information and an application at University Major Application.

Guidance for Faculty Advisors to University Major Students 

Faculty advising is especially important for students undertaking the university major. In the absence of an established major curriculum that provides structure to the student’s academic plan, guidance from the advisor is crucial in helping the student to build a robust program of study for their university major that is both feasible and flexible. 

There are many things to consider when a student is designing a university major. 

  • Can the student realize their educational goals through an established major or combination of majors?
  • Can the student realize their goals through an established interdisciplinary program such as CIS (College of Integrated Sciences) or Environmental Studies?
  • Does Wesleyan offer enough upper-division courses to ensure that the student’s program is feasible and flexible? Are multiple course pathways available to allow the student to adjust their program as their understanding of their field of study 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?
  • Is robust advising available to the student? If the program is built from two or more academic departments, does the student have support from an advisor in each department?
  • Does the program have a coherent framework that binds the interdisciplinary work?  Would a capstone project hold everything together?

The university major 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.  Students who wish to apply for the university major must do so before the end of their fifth semester of enrollment (i.e. by the end of the first semester of their junior year).  

After a student is accepted into the university major, each faculty member who sponsored the 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. 

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. 

Sample Proposals:

Click here to review theses from prior University Majors.