Major Themes

Some of the themes around which students have constructed individualized majors are listed below (for a list of some recent majors, see Recent Major Titles). The listings include links to thematic information sheets as well as links to the websites of relevant academic programs and/or existing minors. These can be useful starting points for designing your own major.

This listing is just a sample of what is possible! Meet with an IISP advisor to discuss your ideas.


Individualized majors often combine the study of the physiological determinants of health with the social and cultural determinants of health. The scope varies from the microscopic to the global, depending on the problems addressed by the major. Some recent titles include:

  • Health, Environment, and Society
  • Global Health
  • Health Care and Social Inequality
  • Health Policy
  • Population Health
  • Healthcare in an Aging Society

Info Sheet: Health

International/Global Studies

Individualized majors in international/global studies have focused on regions as well as global themes including political economy, food security, child welfare, social justice, trade, and development. Some recent titles include:

  • Global Studies
  • East Asian Studies
  • Economic Development
  • European Studies

Info Sheets: Global Studies, Global Studies Thematic Course List
Useful Links: European Studies Minor; Middle East Studies Minor; India Studies Minor

Social Issues and Policy

Complex social issues often require an interdisciplinary approach. Major plans of study in this area draw from disciplines across the whole continuum of the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Some recent titles include:

  • Public Policy
  • Disability Rights
  • Mind and Religion
  • Sustainable Urban Development
  • Child Development and Social Welfare Policy
  • Interdisciplinary Study of Economic Inequality
  • Marine Fisheries Management and Policy

Info Sheets:Public Policy
Useful links: Public Policy Department; Religion Minor

Media, Culture, and the Arts

There are many topics in media, entertainment, culture, and the arts that are suitable for individualized majors. Plans of study in this area often include courses from the humanities and the fine arts. Some recent titles include:

  • Environmental Writing
  • Social Interaction and New Media
  • Social Justice and Visual Media
  • Film Studies
  • User Experience Design
  • Video Storytelling and Film

Useful Link: Film Studies Minor

The Sciences

The natural sciences have inspired numerous individualized majors in recent years. Many of these majors combine courses across the sciences, but they may also include courses in the social sciences or engineering. Some recent titles include:

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Computational Neuroscience
  • Biochemistry
  • Plant Biotechnology
  • Computational Linguistics
  • Marine Chemistry

Useful Link: Neuroscience Minor

Food and Agricultural Studies

Interdisciplinary approaches to the study of food and agriculture such as:

  • Food Economics and Manufacturing
  • Equine Business Management
  • Sustainable Farm and Ranch Management

Useful Links: Minors in CAHNR have often served as inspiration for these majors.

Criminal Studies

Some individualized majors are focused on the issue of crime and justice in the United States. Plans of study in this area draw from sociology, psychology, political science, human development and family studies, and sometimes the natural sciences. Some recent titles include:

  • Crime, Law and Justice
  • Forensic Science
  • Criminal Behavior
  • Crime, Gender, and Justice

Info Sheet: Criminal Studies


Sport-themed majors often incorporate elements of business, communication, social sciences, and sometimes health. Some recent major titles include:

  • Sport Promotion
  • Sport Operations
  • Youth, Sport and Society
  • Sport Analysis
  • Elite Athletic Performance

Info sheet: Sport
Guidelines: Business courses, Sport Management courses

Deaf Studies

Many students interested in American Sign Language have created majors in Deaf studies. Plans of study in this area usually include courses in linguistics, American Sign Language, and sometimes Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. Some recent titles include:

  • Families and Deaf Culture
  • American Sign Language and Deaf Culture

Useful Link: American Sign Language Studies

Consumer Behavior

Consumer Behavior is an interdisciplinary area of study drawing on a wide-range of social science disciplines.

Info sheet:Consumer Behavior
Guidelines: Business Courses

Other Areas

There are many other possibilities. We strongly encourage you to meet with us to discuss your ideas.