Contract Major


The purpose of the Contract Major (CM) is to allow highly motivated students to follow a course of study outside the boundaries of established majors. In offering the option of a CM, Williams College encourages students to draw upon the wealth of coursework offered at the college to develop a major that corresponds to their particular interests and goals.

Initial Considerations:

  • Cannot be pursued in conjunction with another major
  • Alternatives
    • A regular major + coordinate programs
    • Two majors
    • Working outside a major field in courses of special interest


  • Coherent study of an interdisciplinary subject not covered by a regularly offered major
  • The major is an area suitable to the talents of the faculty residence
  • The major does not consist of minor modifications to an existing major
  • A cumulative study that moves from an elementary to an advanced level

NOTE: Once the student has determined that their major interest cannot be attained by existing majors offered by the college, they are to do the following:

  1. Consult with at least two full time members of the faculty, from different departments who expect to be in residence during your senior year, are willing to endorse the CM, and undertake a central role in supervising its implementation, criticism, evaluation, and ultimate validation
    1. These sponsors, in essence, will substitute for your major department due to their important role
  2. Develop, in conjunction with the faculty sponsors, a written proposal. The proposal should be developed with the advice and support of a faculty member from the field with the greatest number of credits represented. (This person should be your advisor.) The document should include:
    1. Sound and persuasive rationale for the major
    2. Specific list and a brief description of courses to complete major
      1. Minimum of nine courses
      2. One much be designated the senior major course (and taken during senior year)
    3. Meet with CMA no later than November 15th to submit the CM application
    4. Completed initial draft of the proposal is due to the CMA by the end of the second week of spring semester classes to discuss and further develop.
    5. Final proposal, AND endorsement forms from two faculty sponsors, are due to the CMA no later than March 15th
      1. Student is proposing to transform an existing coordinate program into a CM
      2. The chair of that program should also submit to the CMA a statement attesting to the validity of the proposal


Contract Major with Honors

Contract Major Approval Process


On-Line Forms

Contract Major Questionnaire

Contract Major Application

Faculty Sponsorship Endorsement and Evaluation for Contract Major