University of Maryland Individual Studies Program

Basic Steps in the Application Process

1. Attend an IVSP Information Workshop.
Workshops are an excellent opportunity to get acquainted with the program, to ask individual questions, to find out if IVSP may work for you, and to learn the next steps in putting together an application. The list of days and times for the information workshops for the current semester are announced on the homepage at the beginning of each semester. You may also meet one-on-one with the program coordinator to discuss whether IVSP is right for you and to brainstorm regarding a possible IVSP proposal.

2. Define your new major and create a preliminary course list.
The central step of writing the IVSP Proposal is developing a draft definition for the new area of study. You also create a list of courses that you think support your definition. You should include course name and number, the number of credits, and the description of each course in your list.

3. Meet with the IVSP Coordinator to review your draft definition and course list.
You should meet with the IVSP Coordinator to discuss your Susan K. Rock Climbingdefinition and course list.

4. Develop the Written Proposal with the IVSP Staff and a Faculty Mentor
You will work with the IVSP staff as well as with your faculty mentor to develop your proposal. Multiple drafts are usually required. Depending on your year in school, individual effort, and motivation, this step can take from a month to a couple of semesters to complete. 

Most students start developing the proposal and searching for a Faculty Mentor at the same time.  Having a draft proposal or good idea about the goals and shape of your proposed major can help you find a faculty member willing to sign on as your Faculty Mentor. Your Faculty Mentor may even help you early on with selecting courses and conceptualizing the major.

5. Complete and Submit Your Final Proposal and Letter of Support from your Faculty Mentor.
Several weeks before you are scheduled to present your proposal before the Faculty Review Board, you will need to request a letter of support from your Faculty Mentor. The letter should be two to three paragraphs, preferably on UMD letterhead, and state the faculty member's agreement to be your Mentor, support for your proposal, and recommendation of your academic abilities and potential. This letter should be submitted by e-mail to the IVSP Director no later than a week before your Faculty Board presentation and will be included in your proposal packet to the Faculty Review Board.

6. Present your Proposal to: A) the IVSP Coordinator; B) the IVSP Director and the Student Advisory Board; D) the IVSP Faculty Review Board
You will rehearse a five to ten minute formal, oral presentation of your proposal in preparation for your meeting with the Faculty Review Board. The Coordinator, Director, and current IVSP students will all offer you feedback on your proposal and your presentation. After you meet with the Faculty Board, the Faculty Review Board will accept the proposal as is, accept the proposal with required changes, or reject the proposal.

7. If the Faculty Review Board accepts your proposal, then you become an IVSP major!
If the proposal is approved, then, for that student, the courses approved for the program are analogous to the academic requirements given to students who select from the University's traditional majors. The program is also flexible to meet special student needs as they change, with the approval of the student's faculty mentor and the Office of Undergraduate Studies.

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Individual Studies Program  Campus Location: 2407 Marie Mount Hall
Appointments: 301.314.0023  Email:
IVSP is a degree granting academic program of the Office of Undergraduate Studies