Major Overview

You may be a particularly motivated student who wishes to define your own interdisciplinary course of study at AUP in a form unavailable in the traditional disciplines. If you have a clear vision of your objectives and are prepared to add the extra work, you may, under the supervision of two AUP faculty members from two separate departments, submit a proposal for a Self- Designed Major. The proposal will be considered by the Curriculum Committee. Only a few proposals are accepted each year so you should also have a traditional major in mind as an alternative.

If you are interested in a Self-Designed Major, you are expected to submit your proposal to the Curriculum Committee no later than the mid-term of the second semester of your sophomore year. Exceptions may be made for students with significant transfer credits. In the case of Self-Designed Majors, the University reserves the right to make special accommodations to the rule that, once matriculated, AUP students may transfer a total of 36 credits from recognized AUP study-abroad and other sources (with a maximum of 18 credits from other sources). A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.6 is required to apply for a self-designed major. Students who have only a self-designed major are not eligible for departmental honors. The proposal must focus on a problem, theme or question, and should not be defined in terms of a discipline.

While you must work with faculty advisors as you build your self-designed major proposal, it is required that you meet with a representative from the Curriculum Committee to ensure your proposal meets the basic formal guidelines to be considered. To request a meeting, please contact Lilyana Yankova at lyankovaataup.edu.  

Formal Guidelines

A Self-Designed Major proposal must include the following:

  1. A title for the proposed Self-Designed Major, which may require a shorter title to appear on the student transcript.
  2. A clear statement of the problem, theme, or question to be investigated in the major including a justification of the value and importance of the project.
  3. A statement of rationale including:
    1. An account of why the proposed theme, or question cannot be studied satisfactorily in an existing major or combination of majors and minors;
    2. A clear explanation of how the chosen courses relate to the problem, question or theme of the major.
  4. An alternate back-up major in a traditional field. The proposal should clearly demonstrate why the intended learning outcomes of the desired self-designed major are not achievable by pursuing a traditional major/minor or double major combination.
  5. The names of at least two appropriate AUP faculty members who have agreed to sponsor the student’s project, and evidence of their support. One project sponsor should be designated as the principal advisor.
  6. A basic interdisciplinary structure representing two different disciplines and including a minimum of 11 courses, as follows:
    1. Ten courses should be selected from at least two different disciplines including at least three courses from each of those disciplines.  Viable alternate courses should be listed;
    2. The major is completed by a 4-credit capstone in the senior year.
  7. A preliminary proposal for the capstone project, including a basic bibliography. If the student and the supervisors believe that the AUP Library sources are insufficient, they need to contact the Library at libraryataup.edu to request research help, the purchase of new materials, interlibrary loan assistance or referral to other libraries.
  8. It is strongly recommended that some elements of fieldwork be included in the proposal (i.e. internship, external activity, study abroad, outreach).
  9. An account of the objectives, which the student hopes to achieve in pursuing the major (i.e. graduate studies, professional objectives, etc.).
  10. A description of assessment criteria based on learning objectives.