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Skidmore College
Self-Determined Major

Final Projects

A well-designed and successfully executed final project is the culminating capstone experience of a Self-Determined Major (SDM). The final project must be completed during the student's senior year of study and must integrate the various components of the student's Self-Determined Major. The final project takes the form of a one to four credit Independent Study (SD-375). On rare occasions, other courses, such as a Professional Internship (399) or a senior-year seminar (if it includes a major project of an appropriate nature), may fulfill the final project requirement with the approval of the Self-Determined Major Committee.

Every final project must have two faculty readers, at least one of whom functions as the instructor of record for the Independent Study and is responsible for assigning the grade for the final project. SDM advisors may act as readers, but depending on the specific final project, it may be more appropriate for other faculty to serve in this role. 

The student is responsible for submitting copies of the completed final project to his or her readers no later than two weeks prior to the end of classes during the term of study in which he or she is registered to complete the project. The readers must then submit their comments and evaluations to the SDM Committee by the beginning of the final examination week for the term. In addition to the evaluation of final projects by the faculty sponsors, the SDM Program Director reviews each completed project to confirm that the project fulfills the plan approved by the SDM Committee.

SDM seniors are expected to make a formal presentation on their final project to the SDM Committee at the end of their final semester at Skidmore. In most cases, the presentation is part of the college’s Academic Festival, held the day after the last day of classes in the spring semester.


Prior to undertaking the final project, the student must submit a formal proposal for the final project to the SDM Committee and must receive approval of the proposal before registration for the spring semester. The proposal should be approximately six pages; must describe the final project clearly and precisely, including methodology, purpose, goal, and timeline. The student must include an annotated bibliography of no fewer that twelve references with the proposal.

Both readers must submit comments on the proposal when the student submits the final copy of the proposal to the SDM Program Director.

The one-credit course (SD-374/Self-Determined Major Final Project Prep) required for self-determined majors is offered in the fall of the senior year. It is designed to guide the student in writing the final project proposal, including the annotated bibliography.

Examples of Final Project Proposals