Vassar College has long recognized that knowledge is not neatly divided into ready-made compartments. The Independent Program allows for the study of multidisciplinary subjects that are not already available through one of Vassar’s several interdepartmental or multidisciplinary programs.
Examples of Independent Program majors range from forensic archaeology to mathematical modeling in the ecological sciences, from peace studies to technology and global development. The variety of major concentrations is made possible both by the breadth of Vassar’s curriculum and by access to courses at other institutions through various exchange programs.
The Independent Program is available to students at Vassar College who wish to elect a field of concentration that is not provided by one of the regular departments, interdepartmental concentrations, or multidisciplinary concentrations of the college.
Prospective majors make formal applications (see Independent Major for procedure) to the Committee on the Independent Program, usually during their sophomore year. Once admitted to the Independent Program, each student follows the agreed-upon course of study, culminating in the senior thesis, under the continuing guidance of two faculty advisors.
The range of possible major concentrations is impressive, a variety that is made possible both by the breadth of Vassar’s curriculum and by access to courses at other institutions through various international programs and domestic study away programs .