The student-designed major is an interdisciplinary program available to any student who wishes to develop a more individualized program of study than those provided by existing majors. It is a coherent program of study that crosses disciplinary lines. One of the major disciplines must be chosen as the primary discipline to provide a coherent focus for the major. In planning the interdisciplinary major, the student selects an advisory committee of three faculty members, two from the primary discipline (including the department/school chair or dean) and one of the secondary disciplines. The Associate Vice-President of Academic Administration also serves on the advisory committee.
All students interested in developing an interdisciplinary major or in applying to the major must meet with the Associate Vice-President of Academic Administration. The requirements are intended to ensure that the interdisciplinary major is integrally related to the goals of a liberal arts education and appropriately reflect the disciplines involved. Each course of study is approved only on a case-by-case basis.
Interdisciplinary major is a privilege granted by the University to students who display unusual motivation to study an area not included among its degree programs. Although the individual student is responsible for the design and planning of the program, he or she must fulfill the following requirements:
- Completion of General Education requirements (including the intermediate level of a foreign language for B.A. Degree).
- The advisory committee must approve the admission to the major. Applications must be made no later than fall semester of the junior year. An applicant should have a minimum grade point average of 3.50. Continuation in the program requires a grade point average of at least 3.30 each semester.
- Majors will be approved only where university faculty and courses can provide a degree program of high quality. New courses will not be created for a student; however, a directed study course may be provided. In special cases up to nine (9) hours of transfer credit from another institution may apply to a major, particularly of specialized courses not available at Southern.
- Bachelor of Art degree majors must have 30 hours, of which a minimum of 14 hours will be upper division. A second major or a minor from Southern’s degree programs must be included.
- Bachelor of Science majors must have 42 hours, of which a minimum of 18 hours will be upper division.
- Courses for the major shall be chosen from at least two and not more than four disciplines.
- Both B.A. and B.S. majors must include a three (3) hour research project (accomplished under a directed study number). Students will provide a defense of their project before their advisory committee.
- In order to graduate, the student must have a minimum of 124 semester hours, 40 upper division hours, and three writing classes.
At least 30 of the semester hours in the major must be taken in residence after the student’s application and proposal for the major have been approved by the advisory committee. A grade of C or better must be obtained in all courses in the interdisciplinary major.
For the students who design their major, their transcript will give the degree and major: “Interdisciplinary” with the concentration as approved by the Advisory Committee.
It should be noted that any students receiving VA education benefits must have their interdisciplinary major and course of study submitted to and approved by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission as the State Approving Agency before certification to the VA.