Apr 24, 2024  
2015-2016 Undergraduate Catalog 

Education B.S. Contract Major

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Contract Major - Education

The College of Education offers students opportunities for constructing two types of individualized programs of study which differ from the university’s regular major and minor programs. These individualized programs, the B.S. contract major and the Bachelor of General Studies (B.G.S.) degree, utilize existing university courses.

Each of the two programs offered by the College of Education addresses a different set of educational objectives. The B.S. contract major allows a student with unusual and well defined academic interests to design a major with the advice of a faculty sponsor. The B.G.S. degree, by contrast, requires no formal major; it is a minimally structured program built around a general curriculum of courses offered primarily in the College of Education. The B.G.S. degree is expected to appeal primarily to mature students with broad academic interests whose educational objectives may not include preparation for a specific professional career.

The student learning outcomes for this degree are located at http://www.niu.edu/assessment/Outcomes/general.pdf.


A student may formulate a proposal for a major program of study appropriate to the College of Education which differs substantially from existing major programs but utilizes existing courses. The student must select a faculty sponsor from the college’s faculty and formulate the proposal in consultation with the sponsor. The program must be logically structured around a meaningful and interesting theme or topic, for example, adult services for persons with disabilities. Students desiring to build programs of this kind using a core of courses offered by other colleges should consult with those colleges. An example of such a program would be a contract major in early childhood facilities management, which might couple work in early childhood education and business. Students desiring programs involving a substantial amount of course work in colleges other than the College of Education will be required to secure a cosponsor from the discipline housing such course work.

The student who wishes to propose a B.S. contract major 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 study. These 50 semester hours
  • may not be used to fulfill general education requirements;
  • must include at least 35 semester hours of course work offered by the College of Education;
  • must include at least 30 semester hours of course work at the 300-400 level (of the 40 total upper-division hours required by the university);
  • must include at least 15 semester hours outside the department in which courses for the contract major are primarily offered; must include a capstone experience; and
  • must complete 45 semester hours after the semester in which the program is approved.

A student’s program of study must be approved by the student’s faculty sponsor, the curriculum committee of the department in which the majority of course work is being taken, the associate dean of the college, and the College of Education Curriculum Committee.

A student who completes an approved contract major and all other graduation requirements will receive the degree Bachelor of Science with a contract major in ______ (the theme specified in the contract).

The college reserves the right to deny contract majors that overextend the resources of a department.

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