Designing Your Major
Students are attracted to the Letters, Arts, and Sciences Degree for different reasons. Some of you enter as Adults with credits from an earlier college career that you’d like to put to good use. Some of you begin in a professionally focused major, but want a degree that is more broadly and flexibly designed. Some of you want to begin in a major that is unique to your individual interests or career goals. Whether you have earned an Associate Degree, have completed some college credits, or are looking to enter college for the first time, Letters, Arts, and Sciences may provide you the opportunity to design a program that touches upon several fields of study.
Here you’ll find worksheets to help you design your degree. Just click on the highlighted form for an Acrobat form. (If you need Acrobat, you can download the software free by clicking here.) Your worksheets will eventually be formalized in your Degree Proposal. Of course, you will work closely with your Academic Adviser during the entire process so that your Major will meet your needs and the Degree Requirements.
Building Your Theme-Based LAS Program
Even interdisciplinary majors have a focus—a coherent theme or common thread toward an educational goal. If you’re thinking about LAS, begin with this worksheet. Brainstorm some answers and talk with an LAS adviser.
Your proposal will investigate a theme from the perspective of three subject areas, without duplicating an existing major. The following are examples of some proposed LAS programs:
- Science Writing (science, writing, literary science, science fiction, history of science, women in science)
- Liberal Studies (philosophy, literature, history, communications with regard to a topic)
- Business and Dance (small business courses, interpersonal communication, professional writing, dance, education: for a student who wanted to own and run her own dance studio)
- Professional Communication (business topics, technical writing, business writing, speech communication, journalism, creative nonfiction, organizational communication, conflict resolution)
- Information Literacy (research, business and technical writing, writing for the web, interpersonal communication, IST)
- Technology and Society (writing for the web, advanced business writing, IST, history, science fiction, technical writing)
- Gothicism (literature, history, art, philosophy related to the Gothic Romantic and Gothic Revival movements)
- Victorian England (literature, history, art, medicine, philosophy, psychology, criminology, urban sociology)
- American History/Culture (literature, history, art, philosophy related to an American historical period or movement or subculture)
- Latino Studies (Spanish language, Latino, Chicano, Hispanic literatures and History)
- Diversity/Multiculturalism (Native American History, African American studies, Latino Literature, Asian Art, Biology, etc.)
- Environmentalism (Earth and Mineral Sciences, civil/petro engineering, agriculture/soils and water studies, animal sciences, politics/law and Green Movement, technical writing, literature of the environment/Romanticism)
- Crime and Culture (crime and detective fiction, criminology, social science research and writing, film, chemistry, law/law enforcement, abnormal psychology, sociology)
Before writing the Proposal, you may find it useful to draft a Preliminary Proposal for the Major. You may already have taken courses that will fulfill some of the requirements for the Core or the Individualized Option, depending upon your interests. Use your Degree Audit, which lists all the college courses you have taken here or transferred. And talk with your LAS adviser. In addition to regularly scheduled courses, you may consider independent studies, internships, undergraduate research assistantships with faculty, e-Learning and World Campus courses, as well. Review the Guidelines for any limitations.
Once you know what your focus is, you can plan when to take courses by looking at the list of courses typically offered at Wilkes-Barre and the course schedules and using a Semester Planner to help keep you on track. Of course, projected course schedules are subject to change, adding promising new courses or discontinuing courses you expressed interest in for your proposal. It’s ok to make a few adjustments to your proposal.
Writing the Proposal
Once you’ve earned 60-80 credits, you’re ready to write your formal proposal using the Proposal Guidelines and Proposed Plan of Study (Proposal Cover Sheet). Keep in mind that your proposal at this stage is a draft; be open to making slight modifications to take advantage of new opportunities, like a terrific research project or internship you hadn’t planned on. Your final proposal is submitted to the College—with your adviser’s approval—in the semester you plan to graduate. If you would like to see what approved proposals look like, see your LAS adviser for samples.