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Office of the President

Approval for Revised Special Major Program; Supercedes EM 90-017; Superceded by EM 07-008

Executive Memorandum 01-009 April 23, 2001

From: Manuel A. Esteban, President

Subject: Approval for Revised Special Major Program; Supercedes EM 90-017; Superceded by EM 07-008


Upon the recommendation of the Academic Senate and with the concurrence of the Provost, I approve changes to the Special Major Program, effective fall 2003.


It is the policy of California State University, Chico to support the efforts of well-qualified students to design and pursue rigorous courses of study which cross disciplinary lines in such a way that no existing degree pattern is appropriate. The primary consideration in the approval of such a course of study is the quality of the program. In order to gain approval, the student must show that, as a graduate having completed the proposed course of study, she/he will reflect well upon the University. The Special Major Program has been established to evaluate proposals and administer courses of study which meet the intent of this policy.


The Special Major Program is a component of Undergraduate Education. The organizational structure includes the Coordinator of the Special Major Program and the Special Major Committee.

The Special Major Committee is responsible for the evaluation and approval or rejection of individual proposals. It may also initiate proposals for changes to this document.


The Coordinator of the Special Major Program is appointed by the Provost in consultation with the Dean of Undergraduate Education.

The Coordinator administers the Special Major Program in consultation with the Special Major Committee and the Dean of Undergraduate Education. In addition, the Coordinator chairs the Special Major Committee and submits a report each April* to the Educational Policies and Programs Committee. At a minimum, this report must include the names of special programs under which students graduated the previous year and names of the special programs that were approved for students to pursue since the last report. A brief curricular summary should follow the title of each program approved.

*The Administrative Analyst/Specialist of the Faculty Senate will send a reminder each March.


The Special Major Committee is structured as follows:

  • The Coordinator of the Special Major Program is a voting member and serves as Chair of the Committee.
  • After consultation with the Coordinator, the Dean of Undergraduate Education shall appoint one faculty member from each college. One of these faculty should be a member of EPPC. All will serve staggered three-year terms. All are voting members.
  • One student is appointed by the Associated Students from a list of acceptable Special Major students provided by the Coordinator. The student is a voting member.

Criteria for the Approval of a Special Major Proposal

An acceptable student proposal must include:

  • Evidence of a cumulative GPA of 2.5 with a minimum of 30 semester units completed prior to entry into the program
  • Satisfactory evidence of unity, coherence, presence of intellectual principle and practicality
  • Satisfactory evidence that the student's goals cannot be adequately met by an existing major
  • A list of upper- and lower-division courses in the major, including an approved writing proficiency course and a minimum of 30 upper-division units
  • An appropriate title for the proposed special major including approval by all department chairs/school directors and departmental curriculum committee chairs of units which offer courses that include important words from the proposed special major title in their course titles or course descriptions
  • At least two signed faculty evaluations of the student proposal. By signing, the faculty indicate their willingness to serve as sponsors. Sponsors should be faculty with appointments in the two departments/schools from which the largest numbers of units have been selected for the proposed special major
  • A recommendation and supporting statements, if necessary, from the Coordinator regarding the appropriateness of a B.A. versus a B.S.
  • In addition to all general university graduation requirements, Special Major students will sign a statement agreeing that
    • Approval of a Special Major does not constitute waiver of any code requirements
    • Courses used to meet General Education requirements may not also be used as a part of the special major
    • Thirty units, not necessarily in the major, must be completed at California State University, Chico after the submission of the proposal
    • Changes to an approved special major require the approval of all sponsors and the Coordinator
    • Faculty advisers will be consulted each semester

Modifications to the Special Major Program

Modifications to the Special Major Program are made in the same way as other programs, except that the Special Major Committee acts as the equivalent of a department curriculum committee.