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Make Your Own Major

Written by Mia Jackson
12/17/2009

planned studies at Ithaca

What can you do when none of the majors offered by IC feels quite right? You can build your own -- music administration or sociopolitical photography, for example -- through planned studies.

Interdisciplinary by design, a planned studies major may incorporate classes from all five of IC’s academic schools and the Division of Interdisciplinary and International Studies.

While the program can be liberating, it also involves serious work. “There are a lot of logistical details that someone who just falls into a major might not have to worry about,” says Natasha Tanner ’11. Like having to outline your courses for every semester, which she did in her program proposal to study the African diaspora.

Designed for highly motivated students with a strong work ethic and a solid idea of what they want to study, the program requires students to undergo a rigorous application process, including submitting course lists and writing a goal statement detailing how they developed an interest in their topic. They also need approval from the planned studies coordinator, department chairs, and deans.

In other words, basket weaving won’t fly, so slackers need not apply!

Many students aren’t aware of the program.

“A lot of people don’t know about that opportunity and tell me that they wish they would have known before declaring their major,” says Tanner.

As the program continues to develop, students are researching and building majors that create a personal and meaningful education.



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