Completing an academic major enables students to pursue their primary fields of specialization within the curriculum. Roughly a third of students’ courses are completed within a program of study structured by a department or interdisciplinary program. Because the major is the primary means by which students undertake depth of study, students work closely with academic advisors to choose fields for which they are personally and professionally suited. Students may change their majors while at Denison. By the end of the sophomore year, students should formally declare a major. If possible, students should select an academic advisor associated with the chosen major. The specific objectives and requirements of each academic major can be found within this course catalog.
The Individually Designed Major (IDM)
The Denison major promotes discipline of thought and depth of understanding as they are articulated within a specific field. The standard offering of Denison majors is carefully selected; each major is rigorously reviewed, and must meet a myriad of nationally accepted academic standards, and often follows a long tradition of academically sound pedagogy. Because the major is a distinctive hallmark of a Denison degree, the institution guards its majors with utmost care. The IDM option allows students to design their own majors that are not offered in Denison’s standard curricula. However, the Academic Affairs Council applies the very highest standards in accepting IDMs. Students must have a compelling and coherent case for pursuing an IDM.
Individually Designed Majors approved in the last few years include the following titles:
- “Comparative Medical Ethics,”
- “Cognitive Neuroscience,”
- “Poverty Studies,”
- “Medieval Studies,”
- “Language in its Social Context,” and
- “Middle Eastern Studies.”
Students who wish to design their majors should consult with their advisors and the Registrar early in their Denison careers. Students must submit their IDM proposal to the Registrar by March 1 of the sophomore year. Approval of the proposal by the Academic Affairs Council must be completed by May 1 of the student’s sophomore year.