Thematic Emphasis

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To achieve flexibility in designing an original course of study, a student may propose a thematic emphasis. A thematic emphasis allows a student to retain the depth and breadth integral to an existing major while pursuing a specific focus relevant to his or her 253 interests. For instance a student majoring in English could select three or more English courses that would comprise an emphasis in Medieval Studies. A student majoring in History might select three or more courses from History, Political Science and English to create a thematic emphasis in American Studies.

Thematic emphases will showcase student initiative and creativity. They are intended to encourage active reflection upon the connections among emphasis courses. For this reason, students must submit a thematic emphasis proposal to the Curriculum and Program Committee no later than October 1 of their senior year. The proposal must include the following:

  • A one-page rationale for the thematic emphasis;
  • A list of courses that have been or will be taken to satisfy the academic major;
  • A list of a minimum of three courses that will comprise the emphasis, indicating when the student took or plans to take the courses (at least one of the courses proposed must remain to be completed);
  • A plan for the deliverable which completes the emphasis; and
  • Signatures of the student’s academic advisor, thematic emphasis supervisor, and Department Chairperson or Program Director for the academic major to which the emphasis is attached.

Thematic emphases must be student-designed, supervised by at least one faculty member, and approved by majority vote of the department or program steering committee offering the related academic major. Additional course information is available in the W&J College Catalog.

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