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Self-Design

Create a one-of-a-kind Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree that aligns with your personal and professional goals.

Program Overview

The self-design B.A. and B.S. degrees allow undergraduate students to design a major in an area of academic interest that crosses disciplinary boundaries and creates a unique educational experience.

The program is only open to students who have already earned at least 12 credit hours at NC State. First-year freshmen and external transfer students cannot apply to the university as self-design majors.

Additionally, students can’t apply to the program through the online Change Of Degree Application (CODA). Students must apply to the self-design program directly through the self-design program coordinator.

Admission

Admission to the self-design major program is by application only.

Start by identifying a faculty sponsor/mentor. This sponsor will help you develop an academically sound major in a chosen interdisciplinary area. If you need help choosing a faculty sponsor, self-design coordinator Sharon Setzer can assist you in your search.

Application

Students complete and submit the self-design application via email to program coordinator Sharon Setzer. The application must be approved by the Self-Design Major Advisory Committee, which meets twice a semester to review candidates.

Your application (which must be typed or word-processed) consists of seven pieces:

  • A completed application form.
  • A description of your chosen, coherent and named concentration. This explains how you became interested in the self-design path you want to follow. Mention academic and personal experiences that have led you to want to understand something in a way that can be achieved only with courses from different disciplines.
  • A list of courses in your concentration.  Please include course numbers, titles, and catalog descriptions.
  • A list of learning outcomes with identification of the courses you will take to help you achieve the outcomes. Courses representing different disciples will confirm the interdisciplinary approach to your learning.
  • A semester-by-semester plan showing how you expect to complete all of the courses required for your interdisciplinary studies self-design degree.
  • A copy of your degree audit.
  • A copy of your unofficial transcript.

Note: Download, rename and save the application with your entered information with a different file name. A suggestion is to replace the word “template” with your personal name; for example, “Self-Design-BA(or BS)_application_template” renamed as “Self-Design-BA(orBS)_application_YourName.”

student pointing to presentation on white board

Course Selection

Your chosen courses must make one coherent academic course of study. The concentration description that you submit as part of your application package should clarify how the courses relate to each other and to the theme (title) of your concentration.

  1. Concentration courses must come from at least two disciplines. No more than 15 hours in the concentration may come from a single discipline. At least five courses must be from the humanities and social sciences, defined as follows:
    1. Courses offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences
    2. Economics courses (College of Management)
    3. Courses on the General Education Plan lists of humanities and social science courses
    4. At least three of these five courses must be taught in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences
  2. No more than 12 hours of concentration courses should consist of external transfer credits.
  3. The concentration should include eight courses at the 300 and 400 levels and at least two of the courses must be at the 400 level. The concentration will not, as a rule, include 100-level courses. Foreign language courses at the 202-level and above may be allowed in the concentration. Students who wish to include a 500- or 600-level course must submit written permission to take the class from the instructor with their application package.
  4. At least 18 hours of concentration courses must be taken after you have begun the self-design application process. Students are encouraged to apply to the program as early as possible.
  5. Students who use independent studies (except for the independent studies listed in No. 7), special topics courses, internships, and studio and practicum courses must submit attachments to the application with a full description of these courses, explaining their relevance to the concentration.
  6. The concentration will include IDS 490, Interdisciplinary Methods and Issues, to be taken in the senior year. This three-credit capstone course will involve readings in interdisciplinary thought, service learning, a 30-hour service experience with a community partner, and a final presentation. Please see the self-design FAQ page (question 7) for a more detailed description.
  7. Students may not include concentration courses for which they do not have the prerequisites or any other necessary qualification to take the course, unless they submit written permission to take the course from the course instructor with their application package.
  8. The concentration as approved by the self-design Major Committee is fixed. A substitution is sometimes possible, but only if the request for the substitution and the reason are submitted in writing with the endorsement of the faculty sponsor or self-design coordinator/advisor prior to beginning the course.

Self-Design B.A.

The interdisciplinary studies self-design B.A. degree requires students to identify a 30-hour course concentration that includes at least two courses at the 400-level. Preferably, five of the courses in the concentration are those offered within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Self-Design B.S.

The interdisciplinary studies self-design B.S. degree requires students to identify a 27-hour course concentration. This concentration will include at least two courses at the 400-level. We prefer that five of the courses in the concentration be offered within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The B.S. degree also requires 15 credit hours of Advanced Science/Technology course work. For more information see the Advanced Science/Technology Requirement form, which is included with the self-design B.S. application. These courses must underpin the concentration of the self-design B.S. degree.

Capstone Course

Toward the end of your coursework, you will complete a capstone course requiring you to use skills and knowledge obtained during the degree to design and implement a service-learning experience to benefit an organization in the community. Please see the self-design FAQ page (question 7) for a more detailed description.