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/minors at the university.
- IDP Major: 40 credit hours, including 21 upper division credits. A minor must be chosen from the catalog.
- IDP Extended Major: 60 credit hours, including 30 upper division credits. No minor is necessary.
- IDP Minor: 20 credit hours, including 6 upper division credits. A major must be chosen from the catalog.
Two IDP Paths:
- Student Designed IDP – Students work with an IDP advisor to evaluate their completed courses, examine possible paths to graduation, discuss their interests, and ultimately design their own degree.
- Faculty Designed IDPs – Students select from a list of degree options that are not yet in the catalog but are being developed by faculty for possible inclusion based on need and interest. These faculty designed programs are sometimes called incubators or emerging programs.
Is IDP right for you?
Before meeting with an advisor, please watch this video and review requirements.
The Individualized Degree Program (IDP) is a self-directed process you will undertake with the assistance of your IDP Advisor and a faculty advisor. In order to participate in an IDP, it is required that you contact an IDP advisor. Timely graduation is dependent upon your full engagement, follow-up, communication, and participation throughout the entire IDP process.
All IDP students must complete an IDP proposal including a degree plan and a rationale essay. The final proposal must be approved by the student’s faculty advisor, chair of the department where the IDP has the most credits, appropriate dean, and the Director of the Center for Individualized Learning.
- Senior Experience: A Senior Experience is required for the IDP major and extended major. It will consist of at least 3 credit hours at the 4000 level and may be satisfied in a variety of ways, a course, a seminar, an independent study, or an internship.
- GPA: A GPA of 2.5 at MSU Denver is required for most IDs at the time of approval; see your advisor for details or questions.
- Title: IDP students must work with their department and their IDP advisor t determine an appropriate title for the IDP. Some words may not be allowed and there is a limit to the title length. Your major or minor will appear as “Individualized Studies” on your transcript; the title of the major or extended major will be printed on the diploma.
- Degree Type: The IDP major/extended major may be a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS), depending on the content of the IDP.
- A minimum grade of C- is required for each course included in an IDP.
- College of Business limit: Students may not include 25 percent or more College of Business credits in their overall credit total. This is calculated by dividing the total number of College of Business credits by the total overall number of credits required to meet IDP and University requirements for graduation. For example, a student who needs 120 credits to credit can only count 29 credits from the College of Business towards their IDP degree.
- The State of Colorado Department of Education Teacher Licensure CAN NOT be granted through the Individualized Degree Program. Please contact the MSU Denver School of Education for information on teacher licensure (303-615-1777).
Please review the university policies.
IDP proposals should be submitted within 3 – 6 months of when you start developing your IDP, but at least one year prior to graduation. The earlier you develop your proposal, the better. Refer to the guidelines for other specific requirements for each program: IDP Major, IDP Extended Major, or IDP Minor.
2 semesters before graduation, to ensure you finish your degree on time:
May graduates – Submit final IDP proposal by September 30 (draft due 30 days earlier)
August graduates – Submit final IDP proposal by February 28 (draft due 30 days earlier)
December graduates – Submit final IDP proposal by April 30 (draft due 30 days earlier)
**Your IDP advisor May establish an earlier deadline based on your specific situation**
Possibilities for graduation on time diminish with each passing day after these deadlines. The deadlines above will ensure timely graduation. Students beginning or completing an IDP proposal outside these dates should consult with their IDP advisor and recognize that official graduation may be delayed by one or more semesters.
Please consult carefully with your IDP advisor to be sure that you submit your proposal in a timely fashion.
FINAL STEP: In addition to receipt of your signed IDP proposal in our office, candidates for graduation must apply to graduate online through the Student Hub. See the Registrar’s website or visit their office in JSSB for deadline dates (during the semester prior to when you plan to graduate). If your IDP proposal has not yet been received in our office, with signatures from your faculty advisor, department chair, and dean, you may not apply for graduation.
For more information or to set an appointment with your Center advisor, please call us at (303) 615-0525.
The IDP is a way for you to create your own major or minor. The IDP allows you to combine courses from departments across the University and to use your relevant transfer credit to create an exciting and new interdisciplinary major or minor that reflects your own specific educational goals and interests.
Yes. Previous graduate surveys have indicated 30% of IDP graduates are either enrolled in graduate school or intend to enroll at a later date. IDP graduates have gone on to graduate school in programs as diverse as law school, counseling, theatre, anthropology, public administration, theology, and business. You are encouraged to research graduate school entry requirements while you develop your degree plan.
The title will be Individualized Studies: (your emphasis title here). You will develop your emphasis title in collaboration with your faculty and Center advisors. The emphasis title will describe your specific program and it cannot duplicate the titles of majors and minors already offered at MSU Denver.
Generally, a proposal for an IDP major or minor can be developed within one semester or less. However, as the degree is individualized, the length of time students need to develop their proposals will also vary widely. An IDP proposal is a thoughtful and reflective process that may involve some research into workplace requirements and trends, graduate schools, or similar undergraduate programs at other colleges & universities.
You will have a team of advisors that will include a faculty advisor and an advisor from the Center for Individualized Learning and may include others including a community consultant and other faculty who have expertise in your areas of interest. The sooner your proposal is developed and approved, the sooner you will know exactly what you need to complete to finish your degree. While your proposal is in process, your faculty advisor and/or your Center advisor can help you consider what courses are most appropriate for you.
No. The number of hours required to graduate are the same as for any other degree at MSU Denver, a minimum of 120 semester credit hours. In some cases, it will take less time to graduate with an IDP because some transfer credit can be more easily incorporated into an IDP than into other proscribed majors at the university.
Scholarships are available by applying through Financial Aid, 303-556-8593, located in the Jordan Student Success Building, Room 130.
Approximately 400 students participate in the IDP option each year. Approximately 150-200 students graduate each year with an individualized major or minor.
Yes. IDP majors and minors are fully legitimate, approved by the faculty, and fully accredited as a part of MSU Denver’s accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission.
Surveys have reported the majority of IDP graduates are working in jobs related to their IDP programs. Employers of IDP graduates reported in a survey that IDP graduates were consistently above average in their job-related knowledge and skills. Some IDP students invite employers and other practicing professionals to participate in their advising committees as community consultants. Community consultants help students design majors or minors to meet specific and projected needs in the workplace and in the community. You will also be encouraged to research the knowledge and skill requirements for your chosen career path as a part of developing your proposal for your IDP major or minor.
Yes. IDP students are encouraged to include internships in their major or minor proposals if they wish, but internships are not required.
Yes, because you change as you learn and the courses at the University will change; adjusting the courses you’ve selected for your major or minor can be done with a “Degree Exception Form.” The form must be signed by the department chair who approved your original proposal and by the director of the Center who will submit it to the Registrar. If it becomes desirable to change your program significantly, you may be asked to submit a letter explaining your rationale for the changes. If you are, in effect, submitting a new proposal that will require a different faculty advisor and possibly a different chair, then you may submit a new proposal.
A Degree Progress report is generated from the MSU Denver database to show you exactly what you’ve completed towards your degree requirements. To obtain a degree progress report for an IDP program, your proposal must have been submitted and approved so it can be built into the academic database at MSU Denver for you.
There is a requirement for “hours left to complete” for each IDP option. We recommend submitting your proposal as soon as you are clear about your goals for your degree and when possible, at least two years before you intend to graduate. Absolute deadlines for proposals are published on this website and are at least one semester before the semester you intend to graduate. The sooner your proposal is complete, the sooner you can have confidence that you know exactly what you need to take for your degree.
An individualized degree option has been available at MSU Denver since the mid 1970’s.
Your IDP is not considered approved until it is received in our office with signatures from your faculty advisor, department chair, and dean. Watch your email for confirmation of approval.
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