I’m not sure that it’s a case of either or.
At its basic level, the Plan is a student designed major with faculty guidance and support. But the way this major is designed is through Plan essays that involve a thesis or a question that holds your Bennington education together: what connections to do you make between the disciplines you study? What questions do you think about in all of your classes?
Within your Plan essay, you will usually outline one or two core disciplines in which you will concentrate your time, and then some supporting disciplines. These line up fairly well with majors and minors at other schools.
For instance, I “major” in music, and I’ve supported my studies with classes in literature and drama.
Your diploma can list your core discipline(s) (Music for me), or your Plan Title (Performance and Composition for me).
I hope that makes some sense. Shoot me an email if you want to talk about how it might work for you (firstname.lastname@example.org).