The College of Engineering and Engineering Technology offers students the opportunity of constructing individualized programs of study which are different from the university’s regular major and minor programs. Such an individualized program of study, termed a contract major, utilizes existing university courses and leads to the degree Bachelor of General Studies (B.G.S.). To receive the degree, a student must satisfy all university graduation requirements. The requirement of the contract major replaces the requirement of a regular departmental major. (See “Other Graduation Requirements.”)
Contract major programs are offered by other colleges in the university. The student interested in pursuing a contract major should discuss the matter with an adviser in the college offering the majority of the academic work proposed for inclusion in the program.
The contract major program allows a student who has at least junior classification and unusual and well defined academic interests to design a major with the advice of a faculty sponsor. The program must be logically structured around a meaningful and interesting theme or topic, for example, noise control technology. Program proposals must be submitted to the associate dean of the college and must be approved by the college’s Contract Major Committee.
The student learning outcomes for this degree are located at http://www.niu.edu/assessment/Outcomes/general.pdf.
The student who wishes to earn a degree through the general program must
- have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.50.
- justify the new curriculum and define the goal to be achieved.
- design a multidisciplinary program that may be accommodated within existing university resources and facilities. (The program may include internships, independent study, or special projects on or off campus, but no more than 12 semester hours of course work for these kinds of activities will be permitted in the contract.)
- include in the program at least 50 semester hours of credit in courses basic to the area of concentration. These 50 semester hours
- may not be used to fulfill general education requirements.
- must include at least 15 semester hours of course work offered by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
- must include at least 30 semester hours of course work at the 300-400 level.
- must not include more than 24 semester hours from the offerings of a single department.
A student who completes an approved contract major and all other graduation requirements will receive the degree Bachelor of General Studies with a contract major in _______ (the theme specified in the contract).
NOTE: The degree Bachelor of General Studies is not as well understood outside the university as traditional baccalaureate degrees. Students earning this degree may be required to convince prospective employers or graduate schools that the degree will enable them to succeed in a particular job or a future educational endeavor.