University of Maryland Individual Studies Program

The Individual Studies Faculty Review Board

Peter taking PicturesThe Individual Studies Faculty Review Board oversees and provides guidance for the Individual Studies Program and serves as the review board for students' academic proposals. All IVSP programs must be approved by the Faculty Review Board. Tenured and tenure-track faculty members are extremely important to the make-up of the Faculty Review Board and to the oversight and approval of the IVSP curricula. The Faculty Board meets about twice each month during the academic year and is made up of faculty members from several departments on campus. The Board's meetings with individual students last about 20-25 minutes each.

Each student is required to defend his or her unique interdisciplinary proposal to the Faculty Board in order to be a part of IVSP. You will put together an oral presentation about ten minutes long describing your major's proposal. You will have opportunities to rehearse this presentation beforehand: the coordinator will even arrange a dress rehearsal with the IVSP Director and a panel of current students to help you prepare. The questions you will be asked by the Faculty Review Board may range from very broad topics — such as "What is this major the intellectual study of?" — to more specific questions relating to the inclusion of a particular course or the plans for your senior capstone project.

The Faculty Review Board has the option 1) to accept the proposals as they are written, 2) to accept them with contingent changes, or 3) to reject them. If the proposal is rejected, in most cases students have the option to reapply after making changes to the proposal (based on feedback from the Faculty Board). You will not learn of the Board's decision during the meeting itself, but you will be contacted within 48 hours.

The IVSP Faculty Review Board will use the following guidelines when considering student proposals:

1. Proposals should have a clearly defined academic focus. The students should identify a central set of concepts or issues and relevant courses that together create a coherent area of study.

2. IVSP programs should be interdisciplinary in nature, and draw from at least three academic areas. The programs should not closely replicate or approach the goals of any existing academic major or combination of majors and minors at the university.

3. Programs must identify an appropriate faculty mentor, preferably tenured or tenure track, who has significant undergraduate education experience related to the area of study. Students must provide proof of the faculty mentor's support for the program. In considering instructors as mentors, the Faculty Review Board may request information on the continuance of the instructor with the University.

4. Proposals must be consistent with the student's academic record, be possible within the University's structure and offerings, and make good use of the available resources related  to the area of study.


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