B.A. Special Major

The Bachelor of Arts: Special Major is an interdisciplinary program offered by San Francisco State University for students who have unique and well-defined academic goals which cannot be satisfactorily attained through one of the undergraduate major programs at SF State or with a major and minor combination.

The interdisciplinary Special Major program must be planned in advance to focus on an integrative and coherent theme identified by the student. To be approved for a Special Major students must prepare a written statement that thoroughly describes the major, identifies the academic theme of the major, and provides justification as to why selected departments and courses for the major are necessary to complete the identified field of study.

Students pursuing a Special Major will work with Assistant Director, Herman Lee, from the Undergraduate Advising Center (UAC) to define, develop and declare their major.

Review the requirements and FAQs below to learn more about the Special Major. After reviewing the information and next steps below, interested students should contact Herman Lee via email at hklee@sfsu.edu to coordinate a meeting to discuss the possibility of a Special major. 

Requirements and FAQs

It is not possible to be admitted to San Francisco State as a Special Major; therefore, students interested in becoming a Special Major must apply and be accepted to SF State as undeclared or another major. Upper-division students may not apply to SF State as undeclared; instead, they must apply into a different major even if their ultimate goal is to become a Special Major.

Students who answer yes to all of the following statements may be eligible:

  • Are you a current SF State Student?
  • Do you have a minimum of 45 and a maximum of 90 semester units of university study with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0?
  • Do you have unique academic goals which cannot be satisfactorily attained through one of SF State's undergraduate major programs or through a combination of a major and minor at SF State?
  • Can you identify a focused theme for the major you plan to create? 
  1. The major must be planned through the Special Major Statement and then receive approval by the Special Major Advisor (Herman Lee), Department Chairs (or designees) and the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies.
  2. Must be a minimum of 45 approved units of which at least 36 units must be upper division.
  3. Courses must be selected from at least three different departments within two or more colleges at SF State. Review the list of academic departments and colleges in the bulletin
  4. At least 30 units of work in the Special Major Program must be completed after final approval has been obtained.
  5. Review detailed requirements in the Special Major Guidelines PDF, and discuss further with Assistant Director, Herman Lee in the UAC.
  6. Further guidelines and forms for completion will be provided by Herman Lee for students moving forward in developing their Special Major.
  • You may begin some courses; however, the Special Major must be approved in advance of completing the majority of the coursework. You will need to have at least 30 units still to be completed for the Special Major when you declare. It is best to meet with the UAC's Assistant Director Herman Lee to discuss the Special Major before planning your courses.
  • If you have read the Special Major requirements and you answered yes to the eligibility requirements above and feel the Special Major may be a match for you. Please contact Herman Lee at hklee@sfsu.edu to schedule a meeting to discuss planning a Special Major further.
  • Meet with Assistant Director Herman Lee to develop your Special Major proposal. Note: typically, this may take a full semester (or more) to draft and revise. Please plan accordingly.
  • Approve your Special Major Statement and proposed courses with the Special Major Advisor (Herman Lee), Department Chairs (or designee) and the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies.
  • Upon approval of the Special Major proposal, a change of major will be confirmed to declare the Special Major.
  • Meet with Assistant Director Herman Lee to discuss the Special Major further. He will serve as your Special Major Advisor throughout your Special Major program. Email Herman Lee at hklee@sfsu.edu to coordinate a meeting time.
  • You also may want to meet with a department chair, or faculty member from the departments you plan to draw from for your Special Major to discuss subject specific topics in more depth.

Department contacts can be found in SF State's A-Z campus directory

  • Special Majors are hosted through the Undergraduate Advising Center.
  • You will meet with Assistant Director Herman Lee to discuss the Special Major further, and outline your course plan. He will serve as your Special Major Advisor throughout your Special Major program.
  1. Review information above under Requirements and FAQs and in the Special Major Guidelines PDF.

    • Does the Special Major seem like a good match for your idea?

      • Unsure
        If you have read through the information and are still unsure about how the Special Major program will match with your idea, check-in Assistant Director Herman Lee through UAC drop-in advising to discuss if it looks like a good match to move forward with to step 2.
      • Sure
        Great, we’re excited for you to develop your idea! Move forward to step 2.
  2. Start drafting your idea.
    Think about your theme for the Special Major and how it could be represented by courses from 3 main departments.
  3. Use the Bulletin to list majors and courses.
    Note departments and potential courses you feel connect to your Special Major theme.
  4. Draft a brief description summarizing your Special Major theme (one to two sentences).
    Think of this as an elevator pitch—you are taking an elevator ride with a potential employer and they ask you what you are majoring in.  How would you describe your Special Major so they understand what you are studying?
  5. Outline your timeline.
    When will you complete your Special Major Proposal, and when will you finish courses for the major if approved?
  6. Consult with Assistant Director Herman Lee.
    Herman Lee, the Special Major advisor with the UAC, will discuss your idea in greater depth and plan the next steps of your proposal.

    • Email Herman Lee at hklee@sfsu.edu to coordinate a meeting time to discuss your ideas.  
  7. Revise.
    Expect to go through several drafts and an in-depth revision process to arrive at your final approved Special Major. This may take as long as a full semester, and you may need a few meetings with Herman Lee to finalize everything.