Special Major Guidelines

The Special Major is an individually designed course of study leading to a BA or BS degree when an existing university-level SJSU undergraduate degree major does not adequately accommodate academic professional aims. The purpose of the Special Major is to give a student with a definite educational objective the opportunity to accomplish that goal. The Special Major is not to be used to bypass either normal graduation requirements or projected programs of the University, or to complete an existing degree major in which a student might enroll. Students who complete a Special Major shall be able to demonstrate the characteristics of "intentional learners" who can adapt to new environments, integrate knowledge from different sources, and continue learning throughout their lifetimes.


  1. Students must formally request admission to a Special Major program through the Office of Undergraduate Studies.
  2. The student must cite academic and professional objectives and describe the nature of the proposed major.The student must have more than one full year of academic work still to be completed to meet the minimum degree requirements.
  3. Courses used to meet GE requirements may not be applied to the major, nor may any courses in the major field be used for GE.
  4. Students must self-identify any disabilities for which reasonable accommodations are necessary to complete the proposed degree program.
  5. The student must have both a cumulative and an SJSU GPA of at least 2.75.


Initial consultation with the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies. During the consultation, the following required components of the proposed major will be discussed.

A written reflective statement that includes:

  • academic, professional, and personal objectives
  • description of the proposed major
  • discussion of why existing majors are not suitable
  • a reflection on what it means to you to be an "educated person" and how this special major will help you to become one
  • description of any disabilities that may require accommodations (if applicable)

A preliminary major Course of Study that includes:

  • 40-45 total units in the major
  • 24 units in residence at SJSU
  • 30-40 units in upper division

A suggested Major Advisor

  1. Completion of the three components in consultation with the suggested Major Advisor and other departments involved in the program.
  2. Preparation of the Special Major worksheet and evaluation of General Education and graduation requirements in consultation with the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies. Approval of Special Major Worksheet.
  3. Regular meetings with Major Advisor.
  4. Approval of modifications in Course of Study by Associate Dean.
  5. Submission of an essay addressing:
  • How has your Special Major helped you to meet your academic, professional, and personal objectives?
  • How have your experiences inside and outside of the classroom helped you to become an intentional learner?
  • When you tell someone to whom you are close (e.g. friend, relative, co-worker) about "what you got out of college and how your special major contributed to that," what will you say?

Completion of Application for Graduation and approval of Major Form by Associate Dean; submission of all materials to Admissions and Records at least 6 months prior to graduation.

Diploma and transcript will contain the title (Special Major) followed by the exact title of the major listed on the Major Form.

updated 2/15/07