Students with the talent and energy for working independently and with the strong support of two primary faculty sponsors may undertake a Contract Major: a coherent study of an interdisciplinary subject not covered by a regularly offered major. A Contract Major must be in an area suitable to the talents of the faculty in residence and cannot consist of modifications to an existing major. A Contract Major also must conform to the structure and have the coherence of a departmental or program major—it must embody a disciplined study that moves from an elementary to an advanced level and culminate in a synthesis similar to a senior major course.
Developing a Contract Major proposal is both interesting and demanding. Due to these demands, students should carefully consider the advantage of working within existing majors or programs, taking note of the considerable intellectual pleasures involved in sharing similar educational experiences with other students working within the same area of study. Students might also consider whether their interests could be met by any of the following combinations of regular offerings: two majors, a major and concentration, a major and coordinate program, a major and supplemental courses of special interest. Because the Contract Major represents an exceptional opportunity provided for students whose interests cannot be met through existing majors and programs, it cannot be pursued in conjunction with another major.
Students who wish to explore or propose a Contract Major should consult with the Contract Major Advisor and with potential faculty sponsors as early as possible in the fall semester of the sophomore year. More information can be found on the Contract Major website.