Students May Design Own Major Fields

CEP Votes No Action On Chalmers Plan

Bruce Chalmers, Gordon McKay Professor of Metallurgy and Master of Winthrop House, has proposed that the University make it easier for students to arrange a program of undergraduate study outside normal fields of concentration.

Under Chalmers' plan, discussed Wednesday by the Committee on Educational Policy, an undergraduate could take a special plan of study to his Master or Allston Burr Senior Tutor who would find out whether any department would waive normal concentration requirements and accept the student.

May Create Majors

If the student's program couldn't be fit into any department, but was judged to have academic merit, Dean Ford or the CEP would set up an ad hoc Committee on degrees--effectively allowing the student to create his own major.

The CEP decided to recommend no immediate action on the proposal to the Faculty. But the CEP will confer with the Masters, Dean Ford said Wednesday, to encourage the houses to take the initiative for screening special programs of study.

Requirements Redefined

Ford said that he would ask the Masters whether they know of specific cases in which students have been unable to set up the program of study they wanted. "Nine out of ten of these problems are solved by a department allowing its requirements to be redefined, he commented.

Chalmers agreed in an interview Wednesday, but added, "While there are very few programs which are impossible to arrange now, some are very inconvenient. Many students aren't aware of any way to set up regional studies or a study of a particular period--like 18th Century Europe."