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Spotlight on Custom Design

February 8, 2022

The Bachelor of Science in the Custom-Designed Major (CSDN) enables students to pursue an individualized interdisciplinary course of study at Drexel University. The typical type of student who majors in CSDN is the ones who “think outside the box.” They are the ones who want to look at problem-solving from an infinite perspective, not through just one academic area. CSDN students can pursue either the four years one coop or the five years three coop.

One of the unique pieces to the CSDN major is that students can get access to course work across the institution. For example, if a CSDN student studies areas from product design, the department has the jurisdiction to reach out on behalf of the student and get access to course works that might only be available to product design majors.

Another unique piece of CSDN is students take a combination of the core curriculum (CSC 101, CSC 102, CSC 203, CSC 210). That is where students do a three-term capstone base research project. The benefit is having the students complete a big project coming out from the institution, students could use it as they interview for grad schools and interviews for full-time jobs.

CSDN also allows students to change parts of their major at any time. For example, if students focus on chemistry and writing, but they went on a lab co-op and didn’t like it. They can make changes to their plan of study to adjust and edit where it fits their passions the most.

Many students from CSDN achieve great accomplishments. For example, one of the recent alums helped create a video game that received national recognition and won the Games For Change’s Best Student Game award during her senior year. After she graduated from Drexel University, she got into her dream job with one of the major tech companies. In addition to that, another recent alum helped the city of Philadelphia create local legislation.

To apply for custom design, the students require an application, and they must create their individualized academic plan of study. As incoming first-year students, we strongly encourage you to join our First-Year Exploratory Studies program first and get to know everything about what the university offers. The best time to decide on a CSDN major is between years two and years three.

A big piece of learning outcomes for CSDN students is to fully understand both qualitative and quantitative research and how to implement those skills into the desired field they are looking into. At a national level, only one-third of the American workforce is using what they’ve learned from school. On the other hand, CSDN students are more intentional, and they could visualize where their career is going in the future. So, with that, CSDN students usually end up exactly where they went to school for.

CSDN students are interested in so many fields of studies, sometimes it is difficult to decide which one area they should scarify and which one area they want to focus on. Another challenge that students face today is the rapidly changing landscape of education at Drexel University. If a student plans to take a course in the future, that course might not be available to them after two years or so. Another barrier for CSDN students is that a lot of people do not understand what a custom-design major is. Often during a job interview, the interviewers get mixed up with the major costume design. To break that barrier, the course curriculum teaches students how to talk about the CSDN majors, what it means to be a nontraditional major.

As for the faculties and professional staff within the department. They are working with every different major in the institution, sometimes it is difficult to maintain every single piece of information that has been updated. 

Also, there are so many thoughts and perceptions about the CSDN major that are inaccurate. It is best to talk to an advisor first when a student decides to major in custom design.

For additional information about applying to the program, please contact either:

“The best thing I like most about CSDN is they (the students) challenge me," says Santangelo, professional staff and academic advisor for CSDN. "Because our students in CSDN are multi-potential and critical thinkers, they are always thinking outside the box and thinking creatively. So when a student doesn’t like something, they tell us and let us know. They ask questions and they look for different alternatives to creating things as they are supposed to be done. This really keeps me on my toes all the time.”