In cooperation with Haverford College, the College offers the majors you would expect to find at a liberal arts college and some you might not expect. Traditional fields like Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology continue to attract and be transformed by new generations of students and scholars. Bryn Mawr’s Growth and Structure of Cities program, founded in 1971, was the first interdisciplinary major at the College and an important pioneer in liberal arts colleges more generally. Now Cities, as most people call it, is joined by numerous other interdisciplinary programs, most recently International Studies. For many students who want to develop solid expertise and skills in a field and also prepare to work in fields that cannot be addressed through one disciplinary lens, combining their major with one or more minors or concentrations is the perfect approach. A much smaller number of students opt to pursue a double major. And between five and ten students each year create and declare independent majors.
Writing in the Major
All the majors have certain elements in common. All use introductory-level courses to ensure that students have a broad understanding of the field; all have one or more required upper-level courses to ensure that students have a shared vocabulary and understanding of the methods of their field.
Beginning in 2014 and 2015, each major will require a writing-intensive course within the major designed to help students learn how to adapt core writing skills to the particular conventions and demands of their field. Students select electives within the major and often in allied fields to explore areas of interest within the field. Finally, all the majors offer the opportunity for a senior project incorporating research, writing or other production, and sustained one-on-one work with a faculty member. When all the major requirements are taken together, a major constitutes approximately one third of a student’s undergraduate coursework.
Minors and concentrations are like mini-majors; almost all require six courses, ranging from the introductory to the more advanced. Minors are not required, but many students opt to include one or even two minors in their program of study.