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Skidmore College
Self-Determined Major

A Self-Determined Major (SDM) integrates more than two disciplines to achieve a clearly developed and coherent course of study not available through the existing majors and minors at Skidmore. 

Mission Statement

The Self-Determined Major transcends the boundaries of Skidmore's majors and minors and reflects the integration of more than two disciplines toward the attainment of a clearly developed and coherent course of study.

Recent Self-Determined Majors include arts administration, Chinese language and culture, film studies, Italian studies, media studies and communications, the physics and sound of recording, and public health.

Director of SDM Program: Catherine White Berheide, Sociology, x. 5415 (2017-present)

SDM Committee:

A student interested in a Self-Determined Major must propose a course of study to the Self-Determined Major (SDM) Committee.

Students proposing a Self-Determined Major should identify two faculty advisors in different disciplines related to their SDM and thoroughly discuss their proposal with those advisors. The formal proposal must be typed and carefully written, edited, and proofread. The detailed information on writing the SDM proposal is available here. 

Student learning goals

Below are the departmental learning goals mapped to College-wide goals for student learning.

A Self-Determined major will learn to:

  • Engage in and take responsibility for designing an approved self-determined major curriculum. (IIe)
  • Think in an interdisciplinary manner. (IIa)
    Write well, i.e., in clear, concise English prose. (IIc)
  • Speak well, extemporaneously and formally. (IIc)
  • Locate and effectively use primary and secondary sources. (IIb)
  • Design and execute a substantive, culminating capstone project that produces scholarship/creative work that bridges traditional disciplinary lines. (Iva)
  • Reflect on and evaluate the achievement of their academic and personal goals. (IIIa)
  • Demonstrate advanced learning & synthesis in the self-determined major. (Ic; IVd)