Program Mission and Student Learning Outcomes
The Individual Studies Program (IVSP) prepares students for the challenges of the twenty-first century by actively encouraging and supporting creativity, innovation, flexibility of mind, and integrative learning. The Program develops students’ ability to combine different fields in an individually designed major; to apply the concepts of their interdisciplinary major in research projects, internships, service learning, and study abroad; and to synthesize material from different fields to approach problems and produce meaningful results. The Program provides students with the challenge, flexibility, and opportunity to achieve their academic, personal, and professional goals at the university and beyond.
Students come to Individual Studies for many reasons. They may have a set of interests that do not fit easily into the existing majors on campus, or they may be struggling to complete a major that is not suited for them. The Individual Studies Program attracts students with wide-ranging interests and great ability who seek to create a major that spans a number of departments and approaches questions from multiple perspectives--the essence of interdisciplinary studies. The program also attracts students who find Individual Studies at the suggestion of faculty members or advisors who feel they cannot fully serve the students in their own department. This is sometimes due to a student's need for flexibility beyond what a department offers. The goals from the program's perspective are the same: in order to join IVSP, the students create a new major--with the help of their Faculty Mentor and the IVSP staff--that is coherent, spans various departments at the lower and upper-levels, and has a central intellectual purpose that ties the courses together.
The Individual Studies Program was created to serve the needs of students who desire academic programs not already offered by the University. The program allows students to create their own unique interdisciplinary curricula leading to the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree. IVSP requires students to develop specific curriculum plans, secure the commitment and work of a faculty sponsor, and gain approval from a faculty review committee.
Student Learning Outcomes
1. Students will gather information and demonstrate an understanding of defining concepts from three or more areas of study and will combine those concepts to propose a unique major to be independently pursued.
2. Students will apply the concepts of their unique area of study in an internship or an independent study project.
3. Through a senior capstone project, students will show that they have integrated the different areas of study in their interdisciplinary major to examine questions, problems, or issues raised in their interdisciplinary field.