Skip to Content

Search: {{$root.lsaSearchQuery.q}}, Page {{$}}

RC Majors and Minors

RC Majors give students the unique opportunity to study academic programs unavailable elsewhere. The four RC Interdisciplinary Majors are Arts and Ideas, Creative Writing and Literature, Drama, and Social Theory and Practice. All RC majors and minors are available to all LSA students. 

More details about each major are below: 

Arts and Ideas in the Humanities

Note: The Arts and Ideas in the Humanities Major is open to all LSA students.

The Arts and Ideas in the Humanities Program offers a broad array of interdisciplinary courses in literature, the visual arts and music. Many courses focus on specific historical moments or contexts ranging from ancient times to the 21st century understood in global terms. Students are encouraged to encounter different cultures through their distinctive artistic production, and to develop the interpretive and analytical skills appropriate to an understanding of these works. Courses in visual studies, dance, studio art and music provide training in comparative analysis as well as in the actual practice of these art forms. By combining studio practice with the academic study of art, the Arts and Ideas curriculum enables students to understand global art production from three important perspectives: thoughtful analytic engagement; historical depth; and in the active space of studio discovery.
Arts and Ideas in the Humanities courses stress interdisciplinary and comparative methodologies. Students investigate how different forms of art speak to one another: how they argue or agree, how they overlap or diverge in form and content. In addition, by combining theory with practice, many Arts and Ideas courses encourage students to reflect on the material origins of art. To understand art at its deepest level, one must have some experience in its production. Through intensive discussion, writing, and studio practice, students become more sophisticated analysts, critical historians, and well-informed producers of culture.

Concentration Requirements
To major in Arts and Ideas in the Humanities, students combine three academic courses in history and theory with two courses focusing on visual studies, studio arts, dance, and music. To complete the concentration, students then construct an individualized program of specialized study in two areas of focus, a total of seven courses. In the specialized study portion of the Arts and Ideas Concentration, different area combinations are possible, depending on the interests of the student. Possible combinations include: philosophy and art history; literature and psychology; Southeast Asian studies and musicology; or African-American studies and photography. The full program requires a minimum of 12 courses, or about 37 credit hours of work.

Click here for a more detailed description of the RC Arts and Ideas concentration requirements.


Creative Writing and Literature

Note: The Creative Writing and Literature Major is open to ALL LSA Students.

Check out the new RCWriters Website, for the Residential College writing community.

This major teaches the sustained practice of fiction or poetry writing combined with the study of literature. Creative Writing concentrators write fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction under the close guidance of individual faculty. Seminars and one-on-one tutorials provide students with structure and mentorship as they develop voice and proficiency in their chosen genre. For many students, this concentration is a way to combine a serious interest in writing with another LSA or RC concentration.

To fulfill the writing requirement, students take a series of courses in the RC that combine class meetings with private critical feedback in weekly tutorials with instructors. The concentration emphasizes self-directed, intensive writing opportunities, both in class and in extracurricular activities that encourage students to find an audience for their work through readings, informal peer review opportunities, and publication in student-run literary journals, such as the RC Review and Xylem. Concentrators also take five upper-level literature courses, one of which must be in classical or medieval literature.

Creative Writing graduates pursue successful careers as writers, editors, educators, advertising professionals, and many other writing related-fields. Every year our graduates are admitted to competitive graduate school programs in the fine arts, education, law, business, public policy, social work, and other courses of professional study that demand proficient writing skills and creative approaches to problem solving.

RC Creative Writing students have demonstrated unparalled success in the esteemed U of M Hopwood Awards, winning 108 awards since the 1994-95 school year.

Please call 734-763-0032 to make an appointment with Laura Thomas for more detailed information or to declare a Major in Creative Writing and Literature.


Note: The Drama Major is open to ALL LSA Students.

The LSA Drama Major, administered by the Residential College, offers a unique course of study at U-M: approaching dramatic literature through performance. Students examine all the stages of the dramatic process and attune their sense of theater aesthetic through practice and experimentation. Students immerse themselves in the dramatic process as actors and directors as well as learning about all the aspects of production: costuming, scenery, lighting and sound design.

The LSA Drama major combines the strengths and faculty resources of the Residential College (RC) drama faculty and the faculty of the Department of Theatre and Drama in the School of Music.

• Courses taught by RC faculty emphasize a unique text to performance approach to the study of acting and directing, combining script analysis with exploratory work in rehearsal and performance.

• Courses taught by faculty in Theatre and Drama introduce students to design, production, and practicum work, thereby enriching their appreciation of the production aspects of theater.

The curriculum offers students a variety of hands-on experiences and opportunities to study, explore, and perform. The LSA Drama Major requirements consist of 35 credits that move from introductory courses to those along two distinct upper-level tracks. The LSA Minor in Text to Performance is 16-18 credits and also culminates in a play production capstone seminar that brings all elements of drama study into focus.

Click here for additional requirements of the LSA Drama Major.

Student Projects in the Drama Major



Drama students and faculty acting in medieval French. San Martinu Wine Festival in Corsica, 2014.



Students rehearse a scene from "Blue Stockings" by Jessica Swale in the Keene Theater.



Scene from Shakespeare in the Arb's "The Winter's Tale", directed by Kate Mendeloff.




Rehearsal in the Keene Theater. 







Konstantine and Arkadina in "The Seagull" at Matthaei Conservatory.



Arkadina and Trigorin in Anton Chekhov's "The Seagull". Performed as the capstone of the Play Production Seminar course, April 2017.



Scene from Shakespeare in the Arb's "The Winter's Tale", directed by Kate Mendeloff and featuring Martin Walsh, June, 2011.



Rehearsal for original play, "Murder by Chanel" by student playwright Skyler Tarnas in the Keene Theater.



Scene from Shakespeare in the Arb's "The Winter's Tale", directed by Kate Mendeloff, June, 2011.




RC Players rehearsal in the Keene Theater.



Arkadina and Trigorin from "The Seagull" by Anton Chekhov, April, 2017. Capstone performance for the Play Production Seminar course.



Arkadina and Konstantine from "The Seagull" by Anton Chekhov, April, 2017. Capstone performance for the Play Production Seminar course.

Social Theory and Practice (STP)

Note: The Social Theory and Practice Major is open to ALL LSA Students.

The RC Social Theory and Practice Major supports students in developing the analytical and practical skills necessary for active engagement in the world and for building careers that promote equality and responsible citizenship. Faculty whose work encompasses sociology, political science, history, anthropology, economics, education, environmental justice, sustainable agriculture, geography, and psychology provide students with multi-disciplinary approaches to current issues in U.S. society and the global environment. Students learn theories, methods, and strategies that enable them to understand and critique social structures and processes and to become effective actors in struggles for justice. They take core courses together, and create individual major plans tailored to their specific interests. Recent STP concentrators have pursued such topics as “Health Policy in the United States,” “Tracking Globalization in Detroit,” “Juvenile Justice in the U.S. and Senegal,” “Urban Youth Empowerment,” “Sustainable Agriculture in Michigan and Cuba,” “Peace, Policy, and Public Health,” and “Community Dialogues.”

The STP Major Advisor advises students about requirements and course options, tracks their progress through the major, and signs release forms.

The student’s faculty mentor is an intellectual guide and companion who shares the student’s academic interests. STP students are linked with an initial faculty mentor during the semester they submit a major proposal (See “c” below), however a student might have multiple faculty mentors over the years.

Individualized Major Program (IMP)

The Residential College offers the opportunity to formulate an individualized major to RC students unable to find an existing degree program that meets their specific academic needs and interests. Highly-motivated students with strong academic records wishing to pursue this option must have a good idea of what they want to achieve, consult with RC faculty and (where appropriate) other UM faculty, and develop a carefully thought out academic plan of study. Many students’ interdisciplinary interests, however, can be pursued through the RC Social Theory and Practice or the RC Arts and Ideas in the Humanities Programs, making an individualized major unnecessary.

Students interested in this option should start by discussing the matter with the designated facilitator for the RC Individualized Major Program (IMP), whose name can be obtained at the RC Academic Services Office in 1813 East Quad. With the assistance of the IMP Facilitator, the student will need to identify one or two faculty members -- at least one of whom is usually on the RC faculty -- willing to serve as her or his IMP advisor(s). The student's IMP advisor(s) will help the student formulate an appropriate academic plan of study, and that plan must be approved by the advisor(s), the IMP Facilitator, and the RC IMP Review Committee before the student can formally declare the individualized major.

After the major is declared, the student should continue to consult with her or his IMP advisor(s) at least once a term before registering for courses in the following term. Students should also meet regularly with the IMP Facilitator to review their general academic progress. Completion of the major will be certified by the IMP Facilitator in consultation with the major advisor(s).

Note: Students who wish to declare an IMP degree are strongly advised to do so by the end of their sophomore year. Under exceptional circumstances an IMP degree may be approved as late as during the junior year, but in no cases during the senior year.



Students who wish to declare an IMP degree must prepare a proposal that includes the following elements:

1. A descriptive title for the major (as brief as possible).

2. A characterization of the major, describing in a coherent fashion the intellectual themes and issues to be studied, how they are related, what disciplinary or interdisciplinary approaches will be brought to bear, and why the student cannot attain her or his educational objectives within any existing RC or LSA major (this statement ordinarily requires 3-4 pages of well-considered text).

3. A cumulative listing of all proposed coursework organized to reflect the intellectual themes described in the proposal. The listing should distinguish between (a) pre-requisite courses (below the 300 level); (b) upper-level courses the student has already completed (or is currently enrolled in); and (c) tentative upper-level courses that the student expects to take in the future to complete the study plan. Each course* should be identified by title, division or department, course number, section number (if applicable), credit hours, term and year of completed. No more than half the proposed major courses may be completed and/or currently elected at the time the IMP proposal is submitted.

4. The final page of the proposal should include the name(s) of the student’s IMP major advisor(s), followed by their signature(s) indicating approval of the proposed major and plan of study. At least one of the advisors approving an individualized major is usually from the RC faculty; but a second advisor may be associated with any other UM unit.

The IMP proposal is typically around five pages in length (3-4 pages of text, plus lists of courses). Once the proposal is completed as outlined above, a dated copy must be submitted to the IMP Facilitator who will pass it on to the RC IMP Review Committee. After approval, the IMP Facilitator will then sign the official declaration form to be filed with the RC Academic Services Office.

* Note: in the case of courses taken at another university and/or in a foreign country, at least the course title and (transferred) credit hours must be provided.



The academic plan of study of an individualized major must meet the following requirements:

1. at least 30 credit-hours of upper-level (300-level or above) courses;
2. no more than 6 credit-hours outside of the College of LSA;
3. IMP students may elect a second major, but no courses may be used for both an IMP and a second major (a maximum of one course may be used for both the IMP and a minor);
4. no courses used for an IMP may be included in a distribution plan (courses for second major may be used, but IMP courses are always excluded);
5. courses from departments where an IMP student has 12 or more credits in the IMP plan may not be used for distribution credit;
6. a graduating essay, a non-Honors thesis project, or an Honors thesis in the senior year.

The graduating essay is a concluding report that summarizes the student's experience with the individualized major. Ordinarily about 10-12 pages in length, it is intended to be (a) in part a reflective intellectual autobiography describing the development of the student's understanding of her/his chosen field, and (b) in part an evaluation of the strengths and the weaknesses of the major. The graduating essay is to be submitted to the IMP Facilitator and to the student's IMP advisor, with whom the student may sign up for one credit-hour of independent study.

A non-Honors research project, typically completed in the final semester, is designed as a culmination of the student’s intellectual work. The project may be completed as part of a senior-level research seminar, an internship or field study leading to a critical, written report, or an independent study (typically 15-40 pages). A student may enroll in Core 410, Senior Project, and receive 1-4 credits for the project (which counts toward the 30 credits of the IMP).


Honors IMP

Students with an overall GPA of 3.4 or above who wish to pursue an Honors IMP degree should meet with the IMP facilitator before the start of their senior year in order to discuss a possible Honors thesis, a year-long empirical research and writing project (usually around 60 or more pages). Admission into an Honors IMP degree usually occurs after the student has already been approved for an IMP degree, but interested students may discuss this matter with the IMP Facilitator during the proposal stage.

A student deemed eligible to attempt honors must complete the following process:

1. By the beginning of the first term of the student’s senior year, the student must form an Honors Advising Committee consisting of a principal Honors advisor and one other faculty member. At least one of the advising committee members must be a member of the faculty of the Residential College.

2. The student must prepare a written proposal for the honors thesis project by the end of the second week of the first term of the student’s senior year. A meeting with the Honors Advising Committee (and the IMP Facilitator) must then be scheduled for a date prior to the end of the drop/add period, for the purpose of discussing the proposal and determining its feasibility.

3. If the honors project is indeed deemed feasible, the student will ordinarily enroll (under the section number of the principal and/or RC member of the advising committee) in RC Core 489, Honors Independent Research, for 1-4 credits. The number of credits will be determined by the principal honors advisor in consultation with the student.

4. At the end of the first term of the student’s senior year, the student’s Honors Advising Committee will evaluate the research the student has accomplished and determine if the student may proceed to complete an honors thesis.

5. If the student is allowed to write an honors thesis, the student will register for Core 490, Honors Thesis, for 4 credits.

6. If the student is not permitted to write an honors thesis, the student may either: a) totally discontinue the project; the student will receive credit for Core 489 at the discretion of the student’s advising committee (and the credit will be applied to the student's IMP plan); or b) if the advising committee permits, register for Core 410, Senior Project, and complete the project without the possibility of honors.

Levels of Honors:

RC Graduation Honors are awarded by the honors advising committee. Awarding Graduation Honors in the major for honors candidates is not automatic. Satisfying the eligibility requirements for honors and writing an honors thesis does not guarantee Graduation Honors. The student’s course work in the senior year must continue to be of very high quality, and the thesis project must meet one of the standards listed below.

As in LSA, there are three classes of Honors awarded within the RC: Honors, High Honors and Highest Honors. In all Honors awards, the honors thesis is of central importance. The Residential College interprets the awards as follows:

Honors certifies excellent intellectual and/or creative achievement and originality of thought in the honors thesis.

High Honors recognizes an unusually high level of achievement and is awarded only when the honors thesis is of outstanding quality and special originality.

Highest Honors is a rare award, given from time to time, for a truly brilliant honors thesis.

If the quality of the course work, honors thesis, and any other program-specific requirements justify the awarding of graduation with Honors in the view of the Honors Advising Committee, the student’s name and the level of the award to be received will be forwarded by the principal honors advisor to the head of the major program. The program head will forward this information through the Residential College’s Counseling Office to the University Recorder’s Office for posting on the final transcript and on the diploma.





You can download a copy of the RC Major/Minor Declaration Form below.
Please note that you must meet with a RC Advisor to complete your declaration.

For an appointment with a RC advisor please contact:

The RC Academic Services Office
1813 Greene (in the Admin Hallway near Greene Lounge) - East Quad

Advisors for RC Majors

Arts and Ideas in the Humanities: Catherine Brown

Social Theory and Practice: Jane Lynch

Creative Writing and Literature: Laura Thomas

Social Theory and Practice: David Burkam

Drama: Kate Mendeloff


RC Minors

You can learn more about the four RC minors here