Student Designed majors

Special Majors for BLS students


BLS students with special interests, or who desire a major program that is not offered at UMW, may work with a faculty advisor to design a special major. This option allows a student to develop a major by selecting credits from at least two different academic disciplines that combine to form a coherent academic concentration. Special majors allow students to incorporate transfer credit from their previous colleges and universities, with courses at UMW to design a major that suits their interests and needs. It’s your academic career, take charge. All forms will be provided by the BLS office.

UMW students have designed special majors in:

  • African American Studies
  • Arts Management
  • Biochemistry – new major Fall 2017
  • Business Healthcare w/ Economic focus*
  • Business Healthcare w/Sociology focus*
  • Digital Business*
  • Media Studies
  • Studies in Social Work
  • Italian Studies
  • Journalism
  • Linguistics
  • Middle Eastern Studies
  • Speech Pathology*
  • Sustainable Development
  • Urban Revitalization

BLS Special Major Requirements

A minimum of fifteen (15) credits required for the major must be earned at UMW. There should be a balance between lower level (100-200) and upper level (300-400) courses in the major.  Courses must be selected from at least two disciplines. All majors must include a capstone course clearly identified on the degree plan. No more than six (6) credits that count toward the major may be earned as Individual Studies. Additionally, no major courses may be taken on a pass/fail basis.

In order to have a special major considered for approval, the student must prepare a plan that outlines the courses that will be required. It is up to the student to determine that the courses will be offered by the department during your academic stay. The special major must be approved by the faculty mentor in one of the disciplines included in the special major. The student is asked to submit the special major documents to the Director of BLS program. The BLS Committee reviews, and gives final approval of all special majors.

The proposal for a Special Major must include the following:

  • A title for the field of concentration
  • A written rationale (approximately four paragraphs in length) of the major’s core idea or theme
  • A list of the courses to be included

Students planning to prepare a Special Major must meet for advising with the Director of the BLS program who will guide students through the process. Please contact the BLS Office for the Special Major Form.

After the special major has been approved by the BLS Committee, students must obtain written permission from the BLS Committee in order to make any course substitutions.

Changes to an Approved Special Major

Changes may be made to an approved Special Major in consultation with the student’s major advisor. A revised BLS Special Major Request form must be submitted to the BLS Committee for final approval along with a rationale explaining the need for the change.


Send an electronic copy of the Special Major form to the BLS Director one week prior to the next scheduled BLS Committee meeting. The form must be signed by the student’s advisor prior to submission. Paper copies can be dropped off at the BLS office Combs Hall 108.

Meetings of the BLS committee are usually the second Tuesday of the month, starting in September of the fall semester. For more information please contact: BLS Director, Ana Chichester

* Templates available in the BLS Office, see BLS Advisor.