On August 8, the College of Liberal Studies (CLS) held a virtual briefing session on student designed majors, with more than 100 students attending. While only CLS students have been able to pursue student designed majors to their full extent, policy changes set to be instituted next year will allow non-CLS students to do the same.
How to Prepare for a Student Designed Major
Academic adviser Ukjin Lee (College of Liberal Studies) highlighted important points of consideration for students who are interested in enrolling in a student designed major. Students should first determine their academic interests, and determine whether they could be fulfilled by the curricula of existing majors. In order to receive university approval, students must substantiate the need for their self-designed major. In addition, students must identify the goals, feasibility and applications of their curriculum. Lee explained that to construct an effective curriculum, students should extensively explore several courses and consult the professors in charge. Student-designed curricula must include courses from at least two different departments, and comprise 51-78 total credits. Finally, students must select a professor to be their major adviser.
Students navigating the process are not without resources. The homepage for student designed majors (https://sdm.snu.ac.kr/) includes a list of past curricula. CLS students have compiled a database (https://jeongongbible.miraheze.org/wiki) of information for all preexisting majors. In addition, the SNU Genie website enables students to check the status and availability of courses they are considering for their curriculum.
Filling in the Blanks of College Life
Several CLS students were also invited to speak during the briefing session. Jisoo Park’s student designed major, the Musical Aesthetics, consisted of courses from the College of Music, the Department of Korean Studies, the Department of Aesthetics, and the Department of Mathematical Sciences. Park suggested that students designing a major refer to the curricula of universities abroad. Yeonjoo Kim sought to expand upon existing methods of quantitative research in the social sciences. Her student designed major, Interdisciplinary Information Science, incorporates classes from the Departments of Statistics, Mathematical Sciences, Communications and Linguistics. Kim emphasized the importance of devising a detailed plan outlining the direction of one’s curriculum. Building off of his curiosity and passion toward food, Seunghoon Yang’s student designed major, Sustainable Food Systems, explores an interconnected array of topics that includes food production, crop production and environmental management. Yang also agreed that developing a detailed, concrete plan was vital in designing a major. All of the presenters emphasized the importance of seeking advice from experts and researchers throughout the process.
The briefing session concluded with a Q&A panel. Kim offered reassurance to students who are still uncertain about their major, encouraging them to “try whatever your interests led you to,” which is the first step towards discovering one’s major and career path. Yang reflected on his choice to pursue a student designed major, stating that “it was an invaluable opportunity to take charge of one’s own learning.”
Registration for student designed majors is set to begin in October. A recording of the briefing session can be reserved for viewing at the CLS Information Retrieval Center.
Written by Min Seo Ki, SNU English Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewed by Professor Travis Smith, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations, email@example.com