Aerial photograph of the Immaculate Conception Chapel

Self-Defined

While many thematic clusters have been defined and developed by the faculty, you may choose to define a cluster for yourself. This option is especially relevant to students who study abroad. although any student may develop a self-defined thematic cluster

  • Self-defined thematic clusters must meet the goals of clusters:
  • To facilitate an integrated view of knowledge,
  • To enhance familiarity with the domains of knowledge that are part of general education, and
  • To build on the humanities base.
Students wishing to develop a self-defined thematic cluster must write a proposal that:
  • Clearly identifies the theme for the cluster.
  • Develops a statement of rationale for the theme that explains why the theme is appropriate for general education.
  • Lists the courses that will be taken to complete the cluster and explains how each course contributes to or supports the theme. There must be a minimum of three courses. Each course must come from a different domain of knowledge (Arts Study, Historical Study, Philosophy and Religious Studies, Physical and Life Sciences, and Social Sciences). Under certain circumstances, such as study-abroad, one course may be from a domain not included in general education. If such a course is included, the proposal must explain how that course meets the cluster goals. Such a course does not replace a general education domain requirement. Students must still complete all of the general education requirements. If a course is in one of the general education domains of knowledge but is not approved for general education, the proposal must explain how that course meets the goals of general education. Such a course will count for the general education requirement. Students should ordinarily define a cluster before beginning the coursework.
The approval process is as follows:
  • Proposals must be signed by the student's academic advisor and chairperson.
  • Proposals are then sent to the Associate Dean for Integrated Learning and Curriculum in the College of Arts and Sciences. The Associate Dean will review the proposal. If the proposal is approved, the Associate Dean will notify the student and the academic advisor in writing. If the cluster is not approved, the Associate Dean will notify the student and the advisor in writing with a rationale. Students may revise and resubmit proposals.