The Interdisciplinary Concentration

The Fairhaven Interdisciplinary Concentration is an individually designed major for the Bachelor of Arts degree. 

The majority of Fairhaven's characteristically independent students choose the Concentration as their major. It allows students to formulate a degree program to meet individual personal and career goals, bringing together each student's vital interests from more than one discipline into a cohesive whole.  Within a set of carefully structured classes, processes and advisement students create a plan of study which combines coursework, usually from several disciplines, with independent studies and other experiences personally suited to their needs, interests and goals. 

Students who pursue the Interdisciplinary Concentration as their major assemble a faculty committee who support them in articulating sound rationales for their areas of study and advise them in developing a detailed plan of study.  Students are assisted in completing the Concentration by faculty and other advisors and by the Concentration Seminar Course (FAIR 303a). At the conclusion of the program students enroll in an Independent Study Senior Project (FAIR 401a) representing the culmination of their academic work in their Concentration.  A Summary and Evaluation written in the Advanced Seminar (FAIR 403a) helps each graduate evaluate their own work and to look toward the future.

Declaring the Concentration as a Major

Fairhaven College students may officially "declare" the Interdisciplinary Concentration as their WWU major at any time after their acceptance to Fairhaven.

Just as any other choice of academic major at WWU, the Fairhaven Interdisciplinary Concentration is recorded as a student's major officially only after submission of the Student Academic Declaration and Change Form through the Registrar's Office. To complete the form, please visit their FAQ's and find "How do I declare/change a major, minor, certificate?" for the information and links.  Students do NOT need to complete FAIR 303A: Concentration Seminar or file their Concentration before "declaring" the Interdisciplinary Concentration as their major. The Declaration of Major form must be filed before a student has accrued 105 credits.

Contact the Fairhaven College Curriculum & Records Manager, Emily Marrs or at 360-650-3701 for any questions about the Declaration of Major process.

Building the Concentration

Each Fairhaven student designing his/her own degree must plan for a minimum of the following to complete his/her Interdisciplinary Concentration

Total Number of Credits required in Concentration:

The total number of credits in a concentration is negotiated between the student and their committee.  Sixty credits is the minimum and 120 credits too many.  The average number of credits in a concentration is 80-90 credits

Quarters of enrollment required after filing Concentration:

It is a Fairhaven College policy that students are required to be enrolled for a MINIMUM of three quarters AFTER the quarter in which they file their concentration with the Fairhaven College Records Office prior to graduation and need to enroll in AND complete a MINIMUM of 36 credits over the span of those three quarters.

Independent Study Proposal (ISP) Credits

Students are encouraged to include ISPs (Independent Study’s) in their Concentrations.  The maximum number of ISPs allowed in the Concentration is 25% of the total Concentration credits.  The Senior Project, although it is part of the Concentration Class List, is not counted in the ISP credits.

Non-Fairhaven Credits

There is no required number of credits outside Fairhaven required in the Concentration.

Please note that you do need 50 credits of non-Fairhaven credits within your degree.  This is a Western graduation requirement and includes transfer credits as well as Western credits outside of Fairhaven.

Upper-Division Credits

There is no requirement for a minimum number of Upper-division credits within the Concentration. 

However, you must record the number of upper-division credits along with your total number of credits, ISP credits and non-Fairhaven credits (upper-division credits are courses at the 300-400 level)

Double Counting

A student can include one minor within their Concentration (and also receive a minor indicator on their transcript).  Students may count 30 credits of a second major within their Concentration. Major or minor credits do not need to be separated within the concentration.

The Concentration Seminar

The Concentration Seminar (FAIR 303a) is required of all students pursuing the Interdisciplinary Concentration as their major. The Concentration Proposal must be completed and filed at least three quarters before graduation. Prerequisites: Fair 101a, 201a, 203a and 305a. See the courses page for further descriptions of these courses.

This seminar is designed to assist you with your development and writing of an interdisciplinary self-designed concentration. It will serve as a forum for discussion, guidance, and support during the proposal writing process. While your Concentration Committee must finally approve your proposal, you will work collaboratively in small groups, meeting with each other weekly, and meeting with the instructor individually in order to write your learning proposal and identify relevant courses and experiences to help you achieve your educational goals. Here are some of the questions we will examine through this process:


  • What are the appropriate guidelines and requirements involved?
  • What exactly is it you want to achieve in your degree?
  • How can your intentions be given effective shape and form?
  • Who should be on your committee?
  • How do the parts of your concentration work together conceptually?
  • What are the best vehicles for your learning?
  • What should you put in and what should you leave out of your concentration?