Jul 15, 2024  
2015-2016 Undergraduate Catalog 

Visual and Performing Arts B.G.S. Contract Major

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


The College of Visual and Performing Arts 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 course 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 “University Graduation Requirements.”) 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 with 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. Program proposals should be submitted to the associate dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts and must be approved by the College Contract Major Committee.

The student who wishes to propose a 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 up to a maximum of 12 semester hours.)
  • include in the program at least 50 semester hours of course work comprising courses basic to the area of study. No more than 36 semester hours should be taken in any one disciplinary area.
  • earn at least 30 semester hours of the contract major program in upper-division courses.

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).

Examples of contract themes that have been proposed include musical theatre, audio engineering technology, photography, scientific illustration, arts management, and art therapy.

NOTE: Because it is an innovative program, 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.

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