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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/minors at the university.
The faculty advisor must be a full-time faculty member who:
The student’s diploma lists IDP majors as “Bachelors of Arts OR Bachelor of Science in Individualized Studies: “Title”. Titles are developed and approved as part of the proposal process. Titles may not replicate existing majors and minors. Titles must be approved by the relevant chair(s) of any disciplines implied or explicitly referred to in the title. The determination of whether an IDP is a BA or a BS depends on the degree(s) offered by the primary department represented in the IDP major.
The student’s transcript will reflect that a student’s major or minor is Individualized Studies. The specific IDP title is listed on the transcript above the final GPA. An IDP minor is not included on the diploma, but the IDP title is indicated on the student’s transcript.
As in any major or minor, courses may be substituted and requirements adjusted using a “CAPP Adjustment” or “Degree Exception” form. The form must be signed by the chair of the department where the program was originally approved. The adjustment form is submitted to the Center, reviewed by the director, and submitted to the Registrar.
Previous graduate surveys indicate approximately 30% of IDP graduates enroll, or expect to enroll, in graduate school programs or professional schools in medicine and law. The surveys suggest graduate schools respond positively to an IDP student’s initiative to take responsibility for their own education. IDP students are strongly encouraged to research specific graduate school requirements before finalizing their IDP proposal.
Many universities and colleges across the country offer individualized majors. These programs range from programs housed within Honors (e.g., Duke University, Drexel University, James Madison University) to General Studies/completion programs (e.g., University of North Texas), with many programs in between (e.g., University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Arkansas State University, Ithaca College, California College of the Arts). MSU Denver’s IDP staff interact with these programs on a regular basis, attending the yearly Individualized Majors Conference and collaborating with colleagues throughout the year. More information about other programs is available here: https://impnetwork.wordpress.com/im-programs/ and here: http://impnetwork.org/.
The IDP program houses the International Studies concentration, an interdisciplinary major drawing from Political Science, Anthropology, Geography, Economics, History, and languages. Students complete a core set of courses and then, in consultation with a faculty advisor, choose additional courses; typically, a student will choose courses related to a specific geographic area or global issue. The International Studies program requires an IDP proposal, like any other IDP major or extended major. More information is available here: International Studies Concentration flyer.
Additional faculty advisors from one or more additional disciplines may assist the faculty advisor and the student, reviewing the student’s proposal as needed.
The student may also invite a practicing professional with expertise in the student’s field of study to serve as a community consultant.
In addition to transfer credit already accepted by the University, other credit from regionally accredited institutions that is appropriate for the student’s IDP major or minor may be approved for transfer by the faculty advisor, student’s chair, and the Center director even though it does not normally transfer. For example, credit in fashion merchandizing does not generally transfer to MSU Denver but can be approved for transfer as part of an IDP program with a focus in Marketing, Costume Design, or cultural studies
While approved senior experience courses listed in the MSU Denver Catalog may be appropriate for some IDP programs, another senior level course which meets the university’s criteria for a senior experience may be more appropriate for a particular IDP major and can be approved as such. Internships and independent study or directed study courses may also serve as a senior experience.
IDP students often engage in internships and research as part of their IDP, working with the appropriate academic department and the Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship Program.
Previous graduate surveys indicate approximately 70% of IDP graduates are employed in fields related to their fields of study. Designing a major with specific workplace needs in mind can be beneficial in the job search. In working with IDP students, we hope that faculty advisors will assist students in thinking about how to frame their learning skills to meet the expectations of employers. We also work closely with the C2Hub in this area.
Through the IDP, the university can respond more quickly and more flexibly to changing needs in the community through programs such as Aerospace Systems Engineering Technology, Aerospace Physics, Asian Studies, and Human Resources Management . See Faculty Designed IDPs.
The IDP provides an incubator for new academic programs. Using the IDP, faculty members develop programs, experiment with the curriculum, and chart the demand for new majors and minors prior to putting them forth for approval. Some of the majors and minors developed through the IDP that are now formal programs in the MSU Denver catalog include Convergent Journalism, Genders and Sexuality Studies, Water Studies, and Fire and Emergency Response Administration.
The Center for Individualized Learning would be happy to meet with any faculty member to discuss individual student needs or to clarify any questions regarding program policies and processes. Center staff is also glad to attend any departmental faculty meetings to discuss how the IDP incubators and other Center programs can better support departmental goals.
The Center for Individualized Learning 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!