Design Your Own Major

The UMass Amherst undergraduate program, Bachelor's Degree with Individual Concentration (BDIC), offers highly motivated and self-directed students the opportunity to design their own major. As an alternative to traditional majors, the BDIC Program allows students to pursue their educational goals in areas not available within existing departmental curricula. With the help of a faculty Sponsor, students focus their major and select courses on the basis of a unifying issue, topic, theme, culture, period, or question called an area of concentration.

BDIC concentrations must be interdisciplinary, drawing from at least three fields or disciplines, and may not duplicate an existing major. Courses may be chosen from any of the departments within the University, and from the other campuses in the Five College Consortium. Internships and Independent Studies are strongly recommended for most majors. Students are also encouraged to participate in the Domestic and International exchange programs when relevant.

Basic guidelines:

BDIC students earn a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science with Individual Concentration.

Students may apply to the BDIC Proposal Writing Class as a second-semester freshman, a sophomore, or a first-semester junior. Students in the second semester of their junior year or beyond must consult with program staff.

To enroll into the BDIC major, students must apply to the BDIC 396P Proposal Writing course. Students officially declare the BDIC major after acceptance of a formal concentration written during Proposal Writing Class.

All requirements that apply to any bachelor’s degree apply to BDIC requirements. Students may enroll as a primary or secondary major.

On the student’s diploma, the title of the concentration will be “Bachelor’s Degree with Individual Concentration.” The concentration title will be listed on the official university transcript. Graduates will also be awarded a certificate recognizing their individualized degree concentration.

BDIC now offers an exploratory track in interdisciiplinary studies, ET-INT, for incoming freshman. To find out more about the Interdisciplinary Studies Exploratory Track, contact the BDIC Assistant Director, Rebecca Schwartz (rschwartz@bdic.umass.edu).