Frequently Asked Questions
How can I make progress toward completing the major/minor before I take MDSC 100?
Consult with an MDSC faculty member about what courses you could take. Here are some possible options (for more information about what these are, consult the major form).
- complete the foreign language requirement
- take courses that satisfy the cognate requirements
- take cross-listed courses that satisfy a core competency or concentration requirement
How do I declare the major?
In consultation with your MDSC advisor, complete the major form. We suggest reading the major form and the course catalogue entries under MDSC before meeting with an advisor.
How do I declare the minor?
In consultation with your MDSC advisor, complete the minor form. We suggest reading the minor form and the course catalogue entries under MDSC before meeting with an advisor.
Where do I find a major/minor form?
You can find copies of the major/minor forms on the program website. You can also find copies by going to the Forms page on the HWS website and looking under “M” for MDSC.
Where do I find a list of courses that I can use to satisfy the requirements on the major form?
There is a list of courses that can be used to satisfy each requirement on the major form. These lists are found in the course catalogue. You can also find a copy by going to the course catalogue button on the MDSC curriculum page.
How should I choose a concentration?
Review the list of courses that satisfy each concentration in the course catalogue, and select the concentration that includes the courses that most interest you. Some MDSC majors switch concentrations if their interests change after they declare the major. You can change your concentration by completing an updated major audit form with your advisor. Some courses satisfy more than one concentration.
How do I get an MDSC advisor?
Consult MDSC faculty members with whom you have taken a class: they will help you identify which faculty members can serve as MDSC advisors. If you have not yet taken an MDSC course, contact the Program Chair, who can direct you to a faculty member you can work with. There is a list of MDSC faculty office hours posted outside the main office on the first floor of Demarest each semester. When you meet with your advisor to declare the major/minor, please bring a completed declaration form to your meeting. You should complete the form before your meeting rather than during the meeting and then present the completed form to your advisor for their review and approval.
How many MDSC courses do I need to take to complete the major/minor?
You are required to take four courses with the MDSC subject designation in addition to MDSC 100 and MDSC 400. You may count courses designated as “approved equivalents” for this requirement.
What is an “approved equivalent” course? How many “approved equivalents” may I count toward the major/minor?
Approved equivalents are courses taught by program affiliated faculty members that may not have the MDSC subject designation but which we count toward the four “MDSC” courses that you are required to take. In the course catalogue, these courses are noted with “(eq).” Not all cross-listed courses are approved equivalents: only courses that are marked “(eq)” are approved equivalents.
How many courses must be “unique” to the major/minor?
You need to take six courses that are unique for the major, and three for the minor. This means you are using these courses only to satisfy the MDSC major or minor, not any other major or minor. You may, however, use them to satisfy a goal.
How many courses from a study abroad program may I count toward the major/minor?
A maximum of two courses completed during a study abroad program may be used toward the major, one toward the minor. Courses must be approved by your advisor in advance.
How do I figure out which study abroad courses count and how they count toward the major/minor?
You should discuss your course selections with your advisor before you leave: they may request course descriptions and/or discuss the courses with other MDSC faculty before determining whether or not you can count the course.
How many transfer courses may count toward the major/minor?
A maximum of two transfer courses may count toward the major, one toward the minor. The first step is to consult with your Dean to have the course approved as a transfer course to satisfy HWS graduation requirements. Then in order for a transfer course to be approved toward the MDSC major/minor, you will need to consult with your advisor: they may request course descriptions and or/discuss the courses with other MDSC faculty before approving the course. Transfer courses may not be used as one of the required MDSC courses for the major/minor, and they may not count as “approved equivalents.”
May I count an internship toward the major/minor?
May I count a C/NC course toward the major/minor?
May I use the same course to satisfy more than one major/minor requirement?
May I use the same course to satisfy a major/minor requirement and a goal requirement?
What is a senior seminar?
All majors must complete a senior seminar, which is a capstone course for the major. Topics for the course vary by faculty member, but they are all writing and research intensive courses. Typically, students take this course during their Senior year, but Juniors may inquire about whether or not they can register for the senior seminar. Minors do not need to complete the senior seminar and may only register for MDSC 400 with the permission of the instructor.
What are my advisor’s responsibilities and what are my responsibilities?
Ultimately, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are on track to graduate and to fulfill all the requirements of the major/minor. Nevertheless, all majors/minors should meet with their advisor at least once a semester to discuss their progress toward the degree and to discuss future course selections. Advisors are responsible for providing guidance. This guidance may include: different pathways through the major, course selections that fit students’ needs and interests, and other academic issues.