How to create your own major

College is a huge place with so many academic options that you might get a little dizzy just looking at the course catalog. While you often have at least a year to decide what your major will be, some students never really know what route to pursue, especially if they have competing interests. Of course, rather than choosing a major at random (or instead of playing academic major roulette, and changing so often that you never graduate), you could try creating your own academic plan. That way you’ll get to do what you love while earning a unique degree. Interested? Read on:

Think seriously. If creating your own major seems like something you might like to do, then get serious about what your interests are. For example, if you’re interested in a particular time period (say, the 19th century), then think figure out why. In other words, write out all of your interests and find the common thread that runs through them.

Scan the college catalog. After you’ve plotted out your interests, take a close look at your college’s catalog and highlight all the courses that might apply. For example, if you want to create a degree specific to the 19th century, then you could pull classes from the departments of history, English, music, and art. That way, you get exposure to a wide variety of fields while also working towards a precise goal.

Prepare your arguments. Chances are high that your school won’t let you just start your academic plan unless they’re convinced it’s both attainable and strong. Therefore, map out your arguments for why you’re proposed major is a good one, and find several professors and mentors who have your back and who can serve as your academic advocates while getting your plan approved.

Get started. If you’re creating your own major, then you’re not exactly electing for a cookie cutter education, meaning you’re going to have to take more ownership of your degree than most of your peers. After all, your academic plan will be new to even your academic advisor, so give yourself a gut check. Are you as responsible as you think you are? Are you persistent? Willing to roll with the punches? If yes, yes, and yes, then go ahead and get started.

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