Individual Major

Designing an Individual Major

The Individual Majors program allows a student to design a course of study which is not represented in one of the major currently offered at Wellesley.

Program of Study

A student interested in designing an individual major must explain why the student's academic interests are not adequately addressed through these existing departmental and interdepartmental programs. Likewise, the proposed individual major must represent and be described as a meaningful program of interdepartmental coursework built around a specific departmental concentration. The major should lead to the cumulative development of knowledge and expertise in the student's fields of interest. Finally, it should include both theoretical and methodological work at the advanced level. The statement of intent should indicate the assumptions or questions to be explored in the major, with a clear rationale for the selection of courses.
An Individual Major ordinarily will include at least:
  • Eight units of coursework above the Grade I level -- for courses taken away from Wellesley, catalog descriptions must be submitted with proposal
  • An area of concentration (a minimum of four units of coursework in one department above the Grade I level)
  • Two units of coursework at the Grade III level


A student planning an individual major must have two advisors representing two different departments included in the major. One advisor should be from the department from which the area of concentration is drawn. A student whose individual major includes a substantial number of MIT courses may wish to have an MIT advisor in addition to the two Wellesley advisors.

In becoming individual major advisors, faculty are agreeing to work closely with the student to assure that their selection of courses and their proposed sequencing represent a strong and coherent program of study. The two faculty advisors are expected to meet jointly with the student to develop the student's major plan and should continue to meet once each term after the major has been approved. Prior to graduation, both advisors are required to certify that the student has fulfilled all requirements for the major as outlined in the approved plan of study.

Once the plan has been discussed and approved, the proposal form should be completed by the student and the statement of intent signed by both advisors. Both advisors should write a statement as to why the student's plan of study cannot be accomplished within an existing major. An unofficial transcript is also required. Please return to Registrar's Office for presentation to the CCAP for final approval.


A student seeking approval for an individual major should submit a proposal as early as possible, customarily in the second semester of sophomore year (unless the student is planning on studying abroad during junior year, in which case the student should submit the proposal by mid-November of the sophomore year at the latest). The Committee on Curriculum and Academic Policy will not ordinarily accept individual major proposals in the senior year.
After an individual major has been approved, the student must complete the courses planned for the major as described in the proposal. Any changes to an individual major must be approved by both advisors (as indicated by their signatures) and submitted to the Committee on Curriculum and Academic Policy normally no later than the end of the add/drop period in the first semester of the senior year. The Committee on Curriculum and Academic Policy must approve all changes to an individual major.