What is IDP?

The Individualized Degree Program (IDP) is an academically sound, interdisciplinary degree program developed by the student in collaboration with a faculty advisor and the Center for Individualized Learning to meet specific educational goals not met by other majors and minors at the university. Since 1976, the IDP (and formerly Contract Major) has had around 5,000 graduates.  

For more information about the IDP process for students see the IDP Student page.

Faculty Advisor Roles & Responsibilities

An IDP faculty advisor is a full-time faculty member who mentors an IDP student to design their degree plan. 

The faculty advisor’s main responsibilities are to give advice on the student’s coursework, brainstorm IDP titles, and provide field-specific career and graduate school advice. 

 Advising commitments vary based on the level of each student’s self-directed capacity, complexity of content, and your availability.  

What does the IDP Faculty advisor do?

  • Collaborates with the student and their IDP advisor to design an academically sound and cohesive major or minor. This collaboration may be limited by the student’s timeline for graduation. IDP advisors depend on faculty members for their subject matter expertise, their career guidance, and their knowledge of departmental curriculum. 
  • Consults as needed with faculty from other disciplines when those disciplines compose a significant part of the student’s planned program of study. 
  • Reviews and approves the student’s degree plan.  The IDP advisor and director, the department chair from which most credit is drawn, and the appropriate dean review the proposal. 
  • In collaboration with the student’s IDP advisor, the faculty member continues to act as advisor for the student throughout their enrollment and assists with program adjustments as needed. 

Benefits in faculty supporting IDP

  • Provide meaningful and valuable service to the university to add to your promotion/review portfolio 
  • Help students create their dream degrees 
  • Share your expertise with students outside your department 
  • Promote cross-department collaborations, enhancing the university community 
  • Empower students who have experienced barriers to complete their degrees  
  • Expand students’ horizons and yours by encouraging and exploring interdisciplinary studies 

Interested in testing out a new major or minor?

The Faculty Designed IDP serves as a testing ground for faculty to develop new academic programs to meet emerging needs in the community and workplace. This provides faculty members and programs the opportunity to track demand and experiment with the relevant curriculum before submitting the new program for review through the established curriculum approval process. 

We also house Faculty Designed IDPs that do not easily fit within one department including the International Studies Concentration, Aerospace Systems Engineering Technology (ASET), and Aerospace Physics. 

CIL Faculty Oversight Committee

The Faculty Oversight Committee serves in an advisory role for CIL programs and meets twice each year. The committee includes the Associate Deans (or designee) responsible for IDP approvals from each College/School, two faculty members from each College/school appointed by their respective Dean, the CIL faculty associates, and the faculty liaisons. A representative from any department with a new Faculty Designed IDPs is also welcome to participate. All professional staff members of the Center for Individualized Learning attend meetings as appropriate. 

IDP Faculty Associates

Each year, three faculty members are selected to work with the Center for Individualized Learning. These faculty work with CIL staff to support IDP students, enhance awareness of the program across campus, and support special projects. For example, projects could include data analysis, outreach to alumni, policy development, and assessment.  

  • Michael Botyarov, Ph.D. (Aviation and Aerospace Science) 
  • Nicole Vowels, Ph.D. (Marketing) 
  • David Klein (Industrial Design) 

IDP Faculty Liaisons

Faculty liaisons are representatives from academic departments who support the IDP program. These faculty may serve as faculty advisors for specific IDP students, or they may recommend other faculty with expertise that fits a student’s interests. Faculty liaisons also serve as a point of contact for CIL news and updates and help share information within their departments. 


Do you have questions about the Individualized Degree Program (IDP)Are you interested in a role as a faculty associate or faculty liaisonPlease contact CIL Director Sara Jackson Shumate, Ph.D. at [email protected]. 

Faculty Guide for Metro Meritus

The CIL appreciates the role faculty play in the lives of our Metro Meritus participants. Please review the Metro Meritus faculty information should you have questions regarding the program. Thank you

Metro Meritus Faculty Information Sheet

Contact Us

We have moved! We are now located at 1027 9th Street Park in the historic section near Colfax at Auraria Station. From the station, we are in the second house from the right. From Los Molinos, we are the second-to-last house on the left. Feel free to phone us at 303-615-0525 or email us at [email protected].

Contact Us

Want to make more of an impact with MSU Denver Students? You can donate to our many programs and crowdfunded projects by clicking the link.


Want to know more about our staff or find your advisor? Click this link.