The Individual Studies Program (IVSP) is a degree-granting academic program under the direction of the Office of Undergraduate Studies that enables students to create new interdisciplinary curricula leading to the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree. IVSP students enjoy broad academic freedom to pursue their degrees in ways that best suit their own intellectual interests and passions. IVSP students also enjoy individualized guidance from their Faculty Mentor and the dedicated IVSP staff as well as great support from their student colleagues in IVSP.
The purpose of the Individual Studies program is to give students a chance to create a unique academic program focused on a specific area of study, using courses from multiple academic departments. The program is founded on the belief that education is sometimes best approached from outside the boundaries of a single academic major or program.
Under the guidance of their chosen Faculty Mentor and the IVSP Program staff, students create their own unique, interdisciplinary majors. They combine at least three academic areas and take courses that relate to each other and to the central focus of the proposal. Approaching issues from a range of
perspectives and integrating these perspectives allow students to develop a deep and more complete understanding of complex subject matter. Interdisciplinary learning of this type is the backbone of the Individual Studies Program.
IVSP attracts purposeful students with a passion for innovation, internationalism, and entrepreneurism. Recent interdisciplinary majors include International Relations, Global Health, Digital Innovation Management, Global Development, Neuroscience, Leadership for Social Change, Urban Planning and Crime, Medieval Studies, Environmental Sustainability, Sports Media Management, and Education and Social Change in Latin America.
Individual Studies students also benefit by taking their studies outside of the traditional classroom. Students must complete a senior project or written thesis and are greatly encouraged to use internships, independent studies with faculty, and study abroad to supplement their work in the classroom. Recent
internships undertaken by IVSP students include the Embassy of Israel, the Embassy of Spain, the U.S. Embassy in Paris, the U.S. National Research Center for Women and Families, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Energy. While IVSP programs are never vocational in nature, drawing from real-life experience as a supplement to the academic curriculum is encouraged. These projects can serve as a way for students to develop academic connections among the multiple disciplines involved in their programs.
IVSP Students gain admittance to their chosen graduate schools, are awarded fellowships and scholarships, and are empowered to pursue their dreams. Recent outcomes include Richard Asong, International Relations and Diplomacy major, graduated May 2013, immigrant from Cameroon, now in graduate school at the University of Cambridge, and Mohammad Zia, Global Development major, current student, named a Truman Scholar and a Rangel International Affairs Scholar.