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Home of Interdisciplinary Studies,
Self-Designed Major, & the Progressive Program
GMC's ALTERNATIVE LEARNING PROGRAMS embrace the ideals of a liberal arts education through literature, languages, philosophy, history, mathematics, and science. According to ancient Greek tradition, the liberal arts educate the free human being through broad mental training, the cultivation of the analytical mind, and an understanding of civilization and the processes of the physical universe.
Students who understand and express these ideals often have goals that lie outside of a single major course of study. Alternative learning options at Green Mountain College allow students to help shape their education. Several paths toward “Charting Your Own Course” are available, and each of these majors requires an application process:
Interdisciplinary studies provides a framework for the student with more than one area of interest, such as art and ecology or biology and law. In addition to the required ELA program coursework, students complete 36-48 credit hours in their fields of interest and a senior capstone experience.
Self-designed major course plans are similar to interdisciplinary studies but usually are undertaken in conjunction with the progressive program. On its own, the self-designed major encourages broader exploration by limiting the number of credits in the areas of study; there may even be three distinct content areas. Majors also have opportunities to complete internship experiences where appropriate. In addition to the required ELA program coursework, students complete 36-48 credit hours, and a senior capstone experience, but are limited to no more than 21 hours in any area of focus.
Progressive program members demonstrate their ability as independent learners. The writings of educational thinkers like John Dewey, who believed that education "is a process of living and not a preparation for future living," provide much of the foundation for GMC’s Progressive Program. Through seminar work and personal reflection during the college years, students exhibit their mastery of the liberal arts ideals via portfolio preparation and public presentation. Students in this program complete a traditional course of study or utilize the self-designed major. The ELA core courses are required; seminar and portfolio work substitute for ELA distribution courses.
Note: All students are required to complete 33 credits of upper-division work (3000-4000 level courses). See catalog for specific requirements in all majors.
Jennifer Leigh Baker M.A.
Associate Professor of Arts and Sciences
Director of Self-Designed Major, Interdisciplinary Studies and Progressive Program