University of Vermont

University of Vermont

A Closer Look at

The Self-Designed Major

College of Agriculture
and Life Sciences
Dean's Office

Core Courses:

  • Foundations
  • Written Communication
  • Oral Communication
  • Information Technology
  • Mathematics
  • Statistics
  • Physical and Life Sciences
  • Social Sciences
  • Humanities and Fine Arts
  • Race and Culture
  • Physical Education

    Advance Level Courses:

  • Students design this part of their program.
  • Looking for your niche at UVM? Are you innovative? Are you a motivated, hands-on learner, who wants something more from a college education? Consider the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Self-Designed major.

    The Self-Designed Major is for highly motivated students with strong academic goals. Maybe your ideal major is missing from traditional programs offered at the university, or maybe it encompasses two areas of study that you want to combine. If you are a hands-on learner--thus experiential learning is critical to your academic goals--then check out the Self-Designed Major. It allows students to expand their educational opportunities by creating a major that is not offered by the university. The program allows students to prepare for a new generation of careers that are not accessible in traditional majors. It is flexible, rigorous and emphasizes experiential learning. Graduates develop knowledge and skills that twenty-first century careers demand.

    What Will I Study?

    Students are attracted to the programís innovation and flexibility. As an integrated and interdisciplinary program, students may draw on the expertise of faculty across the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and University of Vermont (UVM). All students who enroll in the program must complete the basic core requirements for a bachelor of science degree from the CALS. In addition you will be required to complete courses which you selected in the program you designed. If the courses which you would like to include are not offered at UVM, you may arrange to take them elsewhere. The classes you take should prepare you for your internship experience. The following list provides an example of the diversity of topics in which previous students have designed their majors: Ethnobotany, Botanical Medicine, Restoration Forestry, Ecological Design, Diversified Agriculture, Agriculture Education, Communication and Management, Sports Management and Nutrition, and Advertising.

    Exciting Field Experience

    Undergraduates in the Self-Designed major are expected to include experiential learning activities as part of their program. These internship activities are an essential component of our studentsí education. They provide students with direct experience, important career contacts and they help build their resume. Students in the Self-Designed major have interned for the Green Mountain Audubon Center, Burlington Intervale Living Machine, The Media Group in Williston, Vermont, the Vermont Expos, the US Olympic Track Team in Sidney, Australia, MTV/House of Style in New York City, Spinazzola Foundation in Massachuesetts, Aprovecho Sustainable Research Center in Oregon, and the Council on International Educational Exchange Consortium in Sao Paulo, Brazil.




    Looking to the Future

    Students graduating from the Self-designed major develop knowledge and skills for their specific career interests. They are ready for the twenty-first century, which requires graduates who are innovative, flexible, and self-directed. All of our graduates are working in areas for which their major was designed. Our graduates often receive job offers from the companies where they intern. Students also pursue graduate studies.


    Faculty and Area of Expertise

    Jonathan G. Leonard, Ph.D.,
    Program Director and Committee Chair
    Community Development and Applied Economics; information technology, public speaking, and ecology
    Animal Science; dairy cattle breeding (especially Holsteins), genetics and animal breeding, dairy cattle judging, computerized dairy herd management
    Botany and Agricultural Biochemistry; introductory biology and plant physiology
    Catherine A. Paris, Ph.D.THE UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT
    Botany and Agricultural Biochemistry; plant systematics, biogeography, and New England flora
    Thomas F. Patterson, Jr., Ph.D.INDIANA UNIVERSITY
    Community Development and Applied Economics; organization behavior and experiential learning

    Last modified September 11 2007 11:35 AM

    Contact UVM © 2016 The University of Vermont - Burlington, VT 05405 - (802) 656-3131