Areas of Study


Students who discover they have a highly specific career plan that requires a specific degree or a unique combination of courses may benefit from the self-directed major. The self-directed major is designed to maximize opportunities for students to tailor their education to better achieve their post-graduate outcomes.

Requirements for admission to the Self-Directed Major program:

  • A B or higher in ASL and English courses required for the Core Curriculum, or equivalent for transfer students.
  • A GPA of 3.0 or better
  • A copy of your Gallaudet and relevant unofficial transcripts;
  • No fewer than three semesters from planned graduation;
  • Must adhere to the Senior Year Residency policy; and
  • A proposed course plan.
    • The course plan should include a sequence of 36-45 credit hours that includes at least 24 credits from upper level courses, possibly including a capstone course and internship course. The course plan with upper-level courses must be distinct from an existing degree program. Self-Directed Major students, with support of their academic advisor(s), may determine a capstone course possibly housed in the academic program where a majority of SDM courses are housed. They have the option of taking two capstone courses from two different academic programs. They should also pursue an internship opportunity.
    • The proposed degree name must not replicate an existing name of a degree program.
    • A maximum of two courses may be independent study. Students should provide the course topics and descriptions and identify possible instructors.
    • A maximum of two courses may be completed through the consortium or external institutions. In special circumstances a third course is needed, please include an explanation for it and how it meets the SDM goals. Students should provide a menu of acceptable consortium courses in case the first choice course is not available.
    • Each student is expected to complete at least one internship relevant to their SDM studies. Students should provide a detailed description of the kind of internship they will seek. This description can include desired organization/companies, skills they would want to develop, or a specific sub-area of their major they are interested in.
    • A maximum of 15 upper level credits in a proposed major may be courses they have already completed prior to applying for a SDM.
  • A carefully composed essay in ASL or English outlining the applicant’s educational goals, and why traditional majors or double majors will not meet these goals along with a justification of the selection of courses, internships, and other components used for the Self-Directed Major. Make sure to include information about whether a vocational rehabilitation counselor would approve the SDM and whether the graduate school or prospective employer would accept the SDM.
  • Approval of chosen self-directed major advisor(s).
  • Approval of the self-directed major committee.

Self-Directed Majors must maintain a 3.0 GPA to remain in the program. Faculty advisors will monitor the academic direction and quality of work and effort with the major.

Any changes to the student’s course plan (including internships and consortium courses) must be approved by the self-directed major committee in advance. (If last-minute changes are necessary, the committee will rush decisions during add/drop week.) Changes independently undertaken by the student or their faculty advisor(s) without prior approval may not count towards graduation.

Students who are not approved by the Self-Directed Committee may appeal to the Dean of the Faculty. A one-page letter in ASL or English should be submitted to the Dean of the Faculty within ten academic days (excluding weekends and holidays). The Dean of the Faculty shall respond with a decision within ten academic days.


Contact Us

Self-Directed Major

Khadijat Rashid

Hall Memorial Building S400


(202) 651-5000

9:00 am-5:00 pm
9:00 am-5:00 pm
9:00 am-5:00 pm
9:00 am-5:00 pm
9:00 am-5:00 pm
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